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Unfortunate 'truth' or B.D.D. ?


xaq141175
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Guest ASchwartz

Hi and Welcome:

There is an age old saying that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." In other words, each individual has a different definition of beauty. Some people believe that being heavy is beautiful and sexy and others believe that thinness defines beauty.

One of the symptoms of BDD is that despite the fact that other people experience the individual as beautiful that individual rejects that information and insists on their ugliness.

With BDD the individual often focuses on one aspect of their face or body that they believe is "ugly." It may be the nose, or lips, or hips or any other part of the face and body.

As a male psychotherapist I have seen clients who, in MY opinion, were very, very beautiful. Yet, they were convinced of their ugliness.

Why do you believe you are ugly and can you tell us more about your self??

Allan

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Hello Allen :)

Thank You for responding.

I've been tenuously diagnosed with AvPD and have also been described as 'emotionally deprived'. But when I heard of BDD is really struck a huge chord!

I've thought long and hard over what is and what isn't beautiful since I first became a recluse about 17 years ago and have been wrangling with this preoccupation of mine. Heh, I could probably write an entire essay on it!

The main focus of my preoccupation is the shape/size of my head and face. I have secondary and tertiary concerns about other parts but the head is the main one. Over the years of being a recluse I have also developed a problem with eating too much so I am now about 95lb over what I should be, which is kind of comforting in a perverse sort of way as I can blame that for being so unattractive. A viscious circle!

I've started to read a book called 'The Broken Mirror' and its ringing very loud bells in me. But I find it hard to feel it applies to me because I keep on thinking "but this is about 'imagined ugliness' ... what about people who really are, by popular definitions, considered to be 'ugly'".

If you have a preoccupation with 'actual' ugliness and are unable to live a normal life because of it, is that still BDD?

Hmm, clinically ugly ? :eek:

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Hi,

Some thoughts on what you're discussing. Body Dysmorphic Disorder is often talked about in relation to Eating Disorders, like Anorexia - where people persist in believing they are too fat even though they are skeletal. I've not seen the term used outside eating disorder discussions, personally, although the way you are using it seems to work.

Perhaps what you are dealing with fits better under the rubric of what is today starting to be called Social Anxiety Disorder, but which is diagnosed as Social Phobia. A key aspect of SAD/SP is a pronounced fear of negative evaluation and a terror of social embarrassment. Often this takes the form of humiliation fantasies which are avoided by avoiding aspects of social life (like dating, or public speaking). When things get really bad, sometimes you have people who are so broadly socially phobic that they have difficult leaving their house. SAD/SP would be differentiated from Agorophobia becuase in Agoraphobia, the fears that would compel people to become reclusive are more the fear of having an embarassing panic attack (generally) and not a specific social humilation fear. Although, I suppose these things can merge together at some point of severity.

So - I wonder if some of your fear of being ugly and specific preoccupations with facial size, etc. are actually manifestations of social fears and preoccupations - e.g., is it that your face is too big in an absolute sense, or could it be that other people would laugh or stare at you (you think) becuase of your facial size and that would be terrible?

Mark

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'ello Mark :)

When I first became a recluse (Apr 1991(15yo)) my thoughts were about my forehead being too small and my cranium looking 'deflated', cheekbones too big. I also started to wash obsessively trying to get rid of dark areas around my nose, to the point where I rubbed off the epidermis ... god that hurt! My weight didn't get out of control until about 10-12 months after this. But I did start to overeat when I was fourteen ... I was being bullied at school when I moved to a new area of the country, I guess the sense of isolation/alienation may have triggered my use of food as comfort. But back then I was cycling so much I guess I burned off all the calories.

I've used the term Social Phobic to described myself in the past (I discovered that one back in 1999, heh, and had a similar reaction to when I heard of BDD). I do absolutely fear negative evaluation and my referential thoughts seem to be triggered by my seeing somebody who may see me (i.e. walking towards me on the street) ... I'm convinced that they think of me as ugly, I don't think they hate me or anything, just that they're reaction is a less intense version of what I get when I see myself via my shadow or reflection, laying eyes apon my own body. For me the embarresment is just being seen by people, I feel so ashamed of my body, I feel naked before them. I often do feel as though people are laughing at me if I hear laughter from somewhere, intellectually I realise that it's improbable that they are, but emotionally? ... sometimes I think my brain is just one giant amygdala!

I often try to think about what all this emotional baggage is about but I'm just not equipped to make sense of it ... why does it have to be so complicated. :confused:

Uh Oh ... I need to stop, when I think too much along the lines of 'I' and 'Me' my anxiety raises. Anyone else got/had any thoughts along these lines ?

Thanks Mark:)

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Hi xaq

I don't know much about B.D.D but I do deal with social phobia and the feeling of being judged, I know how it feels to think people are laughing at you or they know somthing I don't about me. I absolutly hate being looked at in public for the fear that they think of something wrong with me in some way. I am very shy outside my home.

I guess some of this would be a image issue, I really can't tell how to work on that yet and I'm sure that self esteem needs some work too. I think that if I was to work on these issues mabe I would not get so torn up on what others think. I wonder why we care so much? I mean on the grand size of everything really does it matter? most likely not. Even if the realitly is that a person is not attractive per say (I like what Allen said.."Beauty is in the eye of the beholder") I guess I would like to say "Everyone is attractive in some way..weather it is personality, beauty, creativity, goals, work, family, soul, there is so many features of a person mabe we should start our own list and work on the self esteem...:)

take care :)

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Hey forgeting :)

thanks for writing ...

I hate being looked at too, I swear I see a grimace on peoples faces when they do, but I think it's my imagination. I also hate it when people don't look at me either, I feel they're avoiding me. Sometimes I think I've gone completely off the rockers! I have to keep telling myself that I ain't that significant, that I'm just one of many people they've seen that day, maybe they've not even conciously noticed me.

Personally I think the reason I get so preoccupied with fears of this nature is that I have very little actual human contact, so every little nuance of body language that I perceive in public becomes disproportionatly significant. The fewer 'transactions' I have the more significant each one becomes.

I also think that everyone is attractive in some way, even that I could be to someone, but that it's highly improbable. Looking in the mirror completly throws that idea out of the window and I undergo an emotional hijacking. A few people over the years have told me I look a little like Elvis, but I can't see it. Perception really is a stickler!

Right, I'm off to tease the dog, seeya :)

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Hey forgeting :)

thanks for writing ...

I hate being looked at too, I swear I see a grimace on peoples faces when they do, but I think it's my imagination. I also hate it when people don't look at me either, I feel they're avoiding me. Sometimes I think I've gone completely off the rockers! I have to keep telling myself that I ain't that significant, that I'm just one of many people they've seen that day, maybe they've not even conciously noticed me.

I can relate to that. I remember there was a time when I looked at my professor and it really seemed like he was furious with me; yet, when I spoke with him about assignments, it turned out that my fears were unfounded.

Also, I sometimes find myself looking away when I catch someone's eyes. I imagine it must seem that I am trying to avoid them, but really I wasn't prepared to make eye contact in the first place. So, instead of looking away, I tell myself I'm going to put my best foot forward and I try to look people straight in the eyes and smile. That way, I think less of what others may be thinking of me and I keep myself ready to begin conversations.

I think it's important to try not to draw too many conclusions by how others appear to you. Humans aren't telepathic after all.

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I do this myself (look away)... there is something very intimate about eye contact. I find it pretty intense, even with people I know, even my mother.

I think I'd prefer to be rampantly paranoic than telepathic ... at least when your paranoid you can dismiss it as your imagination :)

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Hi-

I was a member of team in graduate school that treated a young boy with Body Dysmorphic Disorder. He was preoccupied with the size of his lips and thinking that they were so big that they were grotesque.

We did a lot of work on thoughts (he thought that everyone was staring at his lips) as well as a lot of work on behavior (he also avoided social situations), such as getting him to go to places that he feared, and asking people what they thought about his lips. We also taught him lots of different ways to relax when he started to get stressed out about his lips (deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and visualization of a calm scene). It was a very Cognitive Behavioral Approach, as you can see. He was able to get to the point where he could go out and do things, and worried significantly less about his lips. So, the thoughts didn't go away completely, but he was less bothered by them.

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