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Body dysmorphia: Dealing with family and misconceptions.

Permanent Linkby margharris on Thu May 14, 2015 5:29 am

Our family doesn't really cope well with BDD. It is hard for siblings to understand a disorder that still hasn't had the air time to make it accessible to them. Perhaps Michael Jackson provided us all with a most heroic example of how this can play out in real life. We should never lose sight of the horrendous suffering and toll on life it takes. No one would want to change places with someone stuck to the bed with fear or staring down the path of revolving door plastic surgery.
It has been suggested that I should be able to cure this problem just with the knowledge I have. But that is a nonsense. I can't even cure someone's cold. I can't cure someone of their alcoholism or anorexia. I can only work on myself. All I can do is provide some signposts and insights that might be of help for the person with the illness navigating through this themselves. I have an intellect I can use to help and that is about all I can do.
I suppose what makes this illness so annoying is that when living on the other side of this illness, one can see how the misperceptions are occurring. Something like hair is impermanent. It is like all impermanent things on the body, the skin, nails, teeth, body hair will all end in the bin. We could save a strand of hair today but like the skilled surgeon who does the transplant. His hair will end in the bin too. It will all end in the bin in the end. Our whole body will be binned. That is the nature of this thing called body. It is forever changing and generally not for the better. We can cry about what nature intended for us or just accept that this is the way. So what can we rely on. The mind and the heart have a lot more going for them. They can direct our path for the good. A good kind heart can provide a smile to many. A fine mind can bring the clarity of thought to any problem.
But within BDD, thinking has been hijacked by emotions of fear. The illness is attributed to the body and a concept called, FLAW. But seldom does the BDDer look on others with the same judgement. The fear of a flaw only serves to trap them in their own negative judgement. The BDDer rarely realizes the problem is really stemming from their own mind and their body is in fact fine. That completely right feeling of being perfect is an illusion that cannot be attained. It is a desire that cannot be quenched.
Tears never finish when you try to apply your logic to something that is simply not logical. So the misperception continues and is misattributed to the body and is felt in terms called, "ugly". This is the BDDers experience of their illness and seems completely resistant to alteration. I can't change that personal experience. All I can see is a different perspective.
If you put your hand in front of your face up close then that is all you see. This enormous big hand. You might even find your hand ugly at this close range. If you move the hand away from your face, you still see the hand but it is in context of the whole and all that is around it. You see relationships. You see where the hand could be used. That is how the BDDer distorts their own focus. It is just too intense to grasp the full picture and what is truly important in the relationships between people. There can be no satisfaction in a devotion to that which, in essence, is impermanent and destined to disintegrate into the fire, wind, water and earth of compounded existence.
Instead we can think of ways to be a better nicer person. That is what we remember about a person, what they did and how they made us feel. What they look like fades from memory. But if we felt the love, we store that memory in our heart.
If we have BDD, we may fear we don't look good enough unless we have checked many times in the mirror but nothing really changes how we look. Fear just creates and justifies the obsessing.It is OK to look like we do. It is not a mistake even if we call it a flaw. Sometimes we need to stay with the fear a bit longer and let it subside. We can then wonder what made us so frightened.
Don't expect a family to understand this. They can't. They aren't see a flaw. They have a different perspective. They see all of you. They feel the pain though.

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