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Body dysmorphia. The anxiety of urges.

Permanent Linkby margharris on Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:37 am

Our urges are our compulsive behaviours. These behaviours provide comfort or an escape from discomfort. That is how they start. We feel compelled by relentless thoughts to submit to our urges. It feels safer to do them rather than resist.
Now we may not be able to manage our fears. Our thoughts or stories, often come in the form of questions, arriving too fast for us to stop...But we can detach from our behaviours. We can separate our feelings from our behaviours and chose not to do our bad habits. So this is where we can start.
There is though one hesitation before any such commencement...We have to admit we have a problem and that is the difficult part for some of us. Some of us still want to blame and find reasons to deny our own responsibility to ourselves and our families. The responsibility for getting over BDD or OCD is in the hands of the person with the disorder. No one else can do it for you. So if you have been diagnosed, the denial and deception is only a symptom of that teenager not being up to the task. And they aren't. It will take an adult. The genius inside to take control away from the teenager.

So knowing what actions constitute your compulsions is the first list to make.

Here is the list I made with my son. It was only a beginning and needed adding to along the way. Many of you will find the actions he does familiar. Making a list for yourself provides you with that road map for where you want to go.

1. The shower inspection
2. Touching the defect.
3. Hate the mirror but buy a comfort mirror to hide in the bedroom.
4. Clothes. Important or couldn't care and living in underwear.
5. Fear of crowds due to constant comparison
6. Camouflage. Wear hat, wig, make up,also shaving and hair-cutting to conceal or even-out a look
7. Inner critic/outer critic. I'm helpless hopeless and unlovable. People, genetics are to blame.
8. Faith in cosmetic surgery. The miracle fix despite the mountain of evidence.
9. Self medication. Miracle vitamins, beauty aids, toxic drugs, alcohol and other rec drugs.
10.Food and water. Eating or drinking in excess or starving to achieve a look.
11. Express your depression but have no desire to exercise
12. Suicidal thoughts encouraged by online browsing stories.
13. Storytelling to explain the fear. ie. the schoolyard bully, the failed relationship, the doctor's opinion, the families' lies.
14. Passive aggressive tendencies. The teenager cant get out of bed because the problem can't be fixed. Lets scream about that. WHY I NEED SURGERY ???
15. Online browsing for fixes or similar stories to your own.
16. Photographs. Another way of checking.

Now the usual therapy has been called exposure and response prevention. But I have no need to create artificial situations. The task for you is to not do any of the above. When you get the urge, you are simply going to try and resist. That is why I call it urge restriction and reduction. These urges often act like triggers that keep the beliefs in your fears fueled up. They do not act to reduce your anxiety but rather encourage you to believe in your own defective thinking patterns.
Remember there is nothing wrong with you or your performance. There is something wrong with your brain's defense mechanism. It just needs a bit of recalibrating.

So start writing your own list of actions you do and try to build up a resistance. If you have had to overcome alcoholism or smoking, you already know a path to follow. That is a big advantage. Your self esteem will build with each behaviour you conquer.
Like alcohol withdrawal, you might like to enlist the aid of a partner. Praise yourself every time you resist. It all helps build confidence in your own adult capacity. Marg

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