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I don't know what I look like

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I don't know what I look like

Postby XvoltaireX » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:07 pm

This is difficult for me to explain, so i'll do the best I can.

I don't know if there is a psychiatric term for this, but I hate looking at my reflection, looking at a photo of myself, or looking at a video recording of myself, because I can't identify what exactly I am seeing. I can see facial features and remember what I am looking at, but each image of me looks like a completely different person who is not me. Someone could show me a photo of myself, without telling me that it was a picture of me, and I would never know that was actually me in the photo. The man I see in the mirror looks completely different from the man I see in the photo, and the man I see in the video looks completely different from both the man in the photo and the man in the mirror. I am unable to even describe to you what I look like, other than the fact that I am half Cherokee and half Trinidad, nor will I take any photos of myself.

I know this isn't normal, but I don't know what's wrong with me, or why I can't perceive myself. Before anyone mentions anything of the sort, no, this has nothing at all to do with insecurity about my image. I can't even identify anything to be insecure about in the first place. This has become more of a problem because I discovered a film student at my college campus had recorded me on camera while I was jogging, without my consent, for his B-roll footage. When I saw what was apparently me in the footage, I felt an anxiety attack coming on, because not knowing who that is or what I actually look like terrifies me, to be honest. The moment I think I have a clear or general idea of what I look like, I end up seeing an image of myself that looks entirely different in every way.

I was professionally diagnosed with ADD and Social Communication Disorder, and I couldn't find any symptoms from those disorders that relate to this issue. I have been having this issue since I was 5. It didn't bother me until I turned 12. When I was 18 I asked my psychiatrist about it, but he just glossed over it and changed the subject. I am 20 now, I hate living like this, and I don't know what is wrong with me or what to do.
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Re: I don't know what I look like

Postby moleculeoflife » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:33 pm

Hi
Maybe this has anything to do with depersonalization disorder? Maybe I am wrong.
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Re: I don't know what I look like

Postby salted lipstick » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:08 pm

The symptom you describe is the basis of a question in the Dissociative Experiences Scale Test:

"Some people have the experience of looking in a mirror and not recognizing themselves."
XvoltaireX wrote: Someone could show me a photo of myself, without telling me that it was a picture of me, and I would never know that was actually me in the photo.


You might like to investigate further if you have any other dissociative symptoms.

The DES test is here: dissociative-identity/topic65082.html
It's on the DID forum but if you are experiencing dissociation it could be some other form like Depersonalisation.

You would need to see a mental health professional if you wanted to get a proper diagnosis of what is going on for you with this symptom, obviously no one here can diagnose you.

XvoltaireX wrote:When I was 18 I asked my psychiatrist about it, but he just glossed over it and changed the subject. I am 20 now, I hate living like this, and I don't know what is wrong with me or what to do.
It's not helpful if they gloss over symptoms that are bothering you. Seeking help from someone else (another therapist) can be useful if you are finding that one therapist is not helpful about the issues which you wish to resolve.
In a way, I am not defined by my dissociation. In a way, I am.

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Re: I don't know what I look like

Postby thegroisht » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:02 pm

I also become anxious when I look in the mirror or see a photograph of myself, also when I hear my voice being played back in a recording. I just try to avoid looking in reflective surfaces and photographs as much as possible. If I have to look in a mirror for a practical reason, like shaving, I just concentrate on that and don't try to see "myself" in the mirror. I don't think it's possible to truly see yourself in the mirror, I just think it seems abnormal to not be able to do that because people have grown used to their appearance being who they are. They associate themselves with the exterior things they use to symbolise their inner selves.
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