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Body dysmorphia: Compulsion S##t.

Permanent Linkby margharris on Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:14 am

Overcoming compulsions:
You absolutely have to want to stop to be able to stop. If you say you can’t then you never will. The person with BDD is not seeing that their compulsion is part of an illness. Unless you know your thinking is wrong, you will not have the inner reserves to fight against what your brain tells you.
The reality check is that we can all curse God for something wrong with our appearance. I can curse God that I was given freckles but there is no point to that perspective. I have to get on with life in the body I was born with. If I thought I had to fix it, where would I stop. I would merely find something else to think was not the best about my look. I think I would settle on my chin. And so it goes. I am not picture perfect. Woohoo! Do you really give a toss if I am not? You wouldn’t be bothered to look twice at my arms or chin. But when it comes to your own look your brain sends you fear.
What makes me different than a person with BDD is not appearance but the level of worry triggered by the amygdala. My amygdala is not connected to give me an emotional response to the look of my freckles. They are just freckles and nothing more. I don’t link the look of them to any story of disgust. My rational brain stays in control of my responses. I may not like the look of my skin but there is nothing abnormal or hideous or fearful about having freckles. No one cares about my freckles. I don’t have to check them or cover them up. People engage with me through my personality. I am in touch with me as an entity through my own soul. I am a reflection of my soul and not my skin. So I know if I feared my own look, I would not be thinking rationally.
That mindset of reality checking and recognizing your urges are driven by emotion of anxiety and are not rational is the area needing continuous work in BDD. If you wouldn’t teach what you do to your friend, then it is not right for you to do. You need to develop your own new circuitry that says NO regardless of how distressed that makes you feel in the moment. That anxiety feeling will pass when you are doing right.
The pain of your compulsions will first be felt by family members. They have no positive link to any reason for the compulsions existence. To them they are a constant reminder of the pain and torment that you and they live under. Their personal motivation to have them cease will be much much stronger than yours. Hence you are likely to hear the complaints that you need to stop, the anger when you don’t and the family fracture over their continuation. They are merely trying to save you all from more pain.
What can family do to help you stop? Positive and negative consequences such as bribes and arguments are common. Ignoring doesn’t work either. We can only look to organizations like AA for a role model to follow and treat your compulsions like an addiction.
You can create distance between the compulsive act and the person. You might need to take down the mirrors or cover them up. You might need to wear gloves to stop giving into the sensations of touch. You might need to ban yourself on the computer and restrict the sites you surf.
Getting in control of your compulsions takes you to actively do the work to stop the things you do to feel safe and stop the things you avoid doing to feel safe. You will feel safe when you truly know it is just your brain sending you all this information. It just keeps funneling it down a shoot that says this is your BDD needs. But BDD is a lying disorder.
Lets go to the plane disaster. Every bit of rubbish on the beach is from the MH370. That might be an initial thought when you pick up the litter. Your emotions want it to be so. But then your rational brain takes over and you think twice. You gain perspective of all it could be. You think…what are the chances? You override your emotional brain and need some confirmation. You check in with the scientists. That is logic at work. Now the scientists tell you it is rubbish. A rational person would respond with logic and drop the litter in the bin.
A BDDer has a brain still set to emotion and dismisses logic in favour of that emotional brain. They feel the fear that the scientists might be wrong. What if they are wrong? What if they are all liars? Better be safe and keep the litter. It feels better to be safe.
So what are you going to do today to feel safe? What are you going to avoid today to feel safe? Does this make you safe? It is hard to question what your own brain is telling you. But it is a healthy start to know you do have to question it all the time and ask yourself whether what you are doing is right or wrong. We are all doing that all the time. Do you need that ice-cream? Your emotions will tell you one answer and your logic another. Try to make a judgement and do what is right.
Wish you all well. Marg

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