Body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD as it is more commonly known, is a type of obsessive compulsive disorder that affects about one in 200 people.
Sufferers believe that something in regards to their appearance is disfigured and hideous, when it isn’t at all. This mistaken belief can drive the sufferer to undergo repeat plastic surgery procedures, self-harm and in extreme cases, attempt suicide.
A student blogger suffering from this condition says that five years ago, her condition was at its peak – leading her to slap and scratch her face when she looked in the mirror. Describing the disease like being trapped in a box of distorted mirrors, the blogger says that since starting university, she feels far better about her appearance.
Her awareness of the disease didn’t come about until year 12 at school, and it took her a further six months to realise she suffered from it. The revelation that it was her mind and not her face that needed ‘fixing’ marked a turning point.
She started counselling and exercised more to help with her anxiety, but it wasn’t until she left school to go to university that her transformation truly began.
When she started university she banned herself from glossy magazines and replaced them with books such as ‘The Beauty Myth’ by Naomi Wolf. She then signed herself up to multiple societies and changed her way of thinking, which was previously consumed with feelings about her looks.
So can BDD be permanently cured? This student blogger is not convinced. On good days she forgets it was ever an issue, but when times get tough, obsessive thoughts and behaviours creep back in. These days however she is more aware of how to tackle these thoughts as they appear.
While university was a catalyst for recovery in this case, the notion of expanding your outlook, creating new ways of thinking and banning triggering material can be applicable to anyone.
If you are suffering from BDD, speaking to a counsellor could help you in your recovery. For more information on what counselling is and how it could help, please see our FAQs.
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