Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance.
I’m increasingly beginning to think that I have body dysmorphia. In recent years I lost over a quarter of my body weight, have people commenting how well I look all the time and, yet, when I look in a mirror am repulsed. I’m still fat. I look hideous.
And, thinking back, this isn’t new.
As far as my brain is concerned I’ve always been overweight. Yet, I remember a photo, taken of me as a teenager, with my bike. I was tall and slim with my hair, wet, slicked back. I wasn’t overweight then, nor when I was at college and often went through the day eating nothing more than a Mars Bar. Then, later 1990s and early 2000s, I wasn’t. I’m not sure about between then.
I feel I’ve lived my entire life feeling fat, even when I wasn’t. And that affects my self esteem and confidence.
you may be more likely to develop BDD if you were teased, bullied or abused when you were a child
And this is probably the reason why. I was fat as a child – something I was allowed to be, with an almost unlimited supply of chocolate, crisps and sugary drinks (as a baby I was actually weened on barely-diluted Ribena). That later lead to teasing and bullying.
But, right now, I’m a good place, considering I’m 50. Most of the men around me at this age have massive bear bellies, at the very least. But someone needs to tell my brain that the next time I look in a mirror.
Maybe it won’t get better, but the fact that I now recognise this is the first stage to controlling it. Time will tell.