Saturday, 25 September 2010

So what's BDD then?..

If, and it is very rare, I admit to my BDD face to face, the first question I get asked is, 'what's that then?'

After a brief explanation, the  person who asked will say something like, 'Oh everyone worries about their appearance, I do everyday'. Which then means one goes on the defensive, and has to go off 'into one', trying to validate it. Which is why I tend not to ever mention it.

The easiest way to explain BDD is to say it runs your life for you; it pretty much makes every decision for you during your every waking hour. Where you go, how long you go for, if you go at all....this will be preceded by 100s of times checking mirrors; and then when you do get out, one simple reflection of yourself that does not look quite right can send you into panic overdrive, and back home you will go.

My Psychologist thinks it is very similar to OCD, because the OCD is in mirror checking, but that it is more deep seated than a habit  you need to kick. The belief is that some sort of trauma set this off way back in your childhood. I can remember as far back as 9 or 10, being afraid of my naked self. When I got to 15 this became a terror.

Look, with or without BDD, I am not a pretty boy...that I can live with..I am 5ft 8 and very slim. Now at 46, my GP will say, wow, you are in good shape; my weight is fine, at the moment, and as a GP he will compare me to other 46 year olds...most who meet me think I am 38 tops, so it is not all bad. But that is all the simplistic stuff....the odd thing is I have not had a problem being bald, or a slaphead as I like to say. When it started to go I shaved it all off....nothing worse then a man who clings on. Its like a needy lover!!!

So you have to get past the obvious; not being a pretty boy etc, because the roots to BDD are way deeper than all that; the defect is imaginary but I believe in it more then I have ever believed in anything. So the CBT takes time to work. I am setting myself tasks and trying my best to see them through. I am trying to do stuff that I like to do...self compassion is an essential part of recovering from a mental illness; it is a weird concept, doing stuff for me, being nice to me, that I was recently taught in group therapy....its all a slow up hill road but I am doing my best and getting on with it...

London September 2010

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