A lot of people have misconceptions about what body dysmorphia is and what it isn’t. However, learning more about and working on understanding body dysmorphic disorder can be one of the best ways you help a loved one. Body dysmorphia is so much more than people wishing they were a little taller or slimmer ― people with body dysmorphia deal with obsessive, intrusive worries or thoughts about their appearance.
Body dysmorphic disorder, therefore, is a mental disorder where the affected person is preoccupied with perceived physical flaws. Thoughts of these flaws can be overwhelming and all-encompassing. Someone with body dysmorphia may find it difficult to think about anything else than their flaws. Most of the time, however, others can’t see this flaw or consider it very minor.
Understanding Body Dysmorphia
For example, a person with BDD may constantly ask for reassurances about his/her appearance. This person might ask if his/her nose is really big, or if people are staring at the big nose. It is not surprising therefore that people with BDD have severe lifestyle disruptions as they don’t have enough time to handle daily life and the demands of the disorder.
The hours they spend looking at or attempting to fix the problem are hours that should be spent engaging in activities that bring them joy. Most of the time, they end up ending relationships, losing jobs, and opportunities because they can’t lift their thoughts from their perceived problems.
These tips, I hope will help you if you suffer from body dysmorphic disorder
Have a plan of action for the days of the crisis
If you suddenly do not feel great about yourself, steer clear of mirrors and go into a forward fold immediately. To do this, sit on the floor and lean over your body. Breathe deeply and begin to give thanks for your overall health and the body parts you love. If nothing is coming to mind, you can be thankful for hands that carry things for you daily or your heart for pumping life into your body. While doing this, keep breathing deeply until the feeling passes.
You need to stop comparing yourself to others
My advice is to take conscious breaks off social media, delete those Instagram and TikTok accounts of ‘models’ who make you feel less of a person. Go on a social media detox for a while if you can.
Declutter and throw out the magazines that make you feel insecure because guess what? The girl in the magazine doesn’t even look like the girl in the magazine because waist trainers along with photoshop editing add to the image output! So stop beating yourself up over photoshopped images.
Write in a journal because this can help you better identify negative thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Try to participate in normal activities and regularly get together with friends and family who you see as healthy supports. Take care of yourself – eat healthy, stay physically active and get sufficient sleep.
Live on your terms
In everything you do, you should always remember that YOU and YOUR choices come first. If you’d like to have surgery done or begin to work on parts of your body like your stomach or your posture using a waist trainer, let it be because you have decided to do so and not because you are being pressured. You should understand that you matter first before others.
Without treatment, BDD can lead to a great deal of pain and misery, but the disruptive thought patterns that come with this disorder don’t have to persist. With therapy and a lot of intentionalities, you can learn to look past a perceived flaw and can start to focus on the beauty that’s within and around you. Remember, help is always available, and healing is possible.