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Body dysmorphia: Real life is what happens to us NOW.

Permanent Linkby margharris on Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:29 am

I had to go with hubby to have stitches removed from melanoma surgery. He does well as a stroke survivor to just toddle to the car and then it is a wheelchair for anything more. During the procedure, I happened to be facing him and looked down to see a very red lower leg. Yikes! new splints two weeks ago. During all the kerfuffle at home, I had let him put his own splint on or leave day splints on overnight. Price paid. All the splints off and the mobile wheelchair had its baptism.
I can't describe the mayhem. Hubby was steering dodgem style, over steering, over revving. I was over it before it began. Where was turtle speed? To make matter worse, hubby needs a cane to walk. The cane lay on his lap jutting forward like a lance fit for a horse joust. The mobile chair can spin on the spot but with the cane protruding you have got to leave the room if he enters. For the first couple of hours, I was running ahead of the chair trying to clear tables and chairs away. He was on a mission to continue life without any alteration to his schedule.
Go get dog food frozen in fridge. Oh! too high to reach.
Move dogfood to lower shelf. Maybe remember to get dogfood out in the morning myself.
Feed fish. Oh! cant reach the light. Call out.
Need to use computer. Run ahead to remove clothes drying rack.

So my son and his BDD took a backseat. He was better for it. My son was very anxious all weekend with his thoughts. No approach is sticking with him. He still wants to open debate with the thoughts. But they are not protective and not safe. I have now nicknamed them his 'call centre' thoughts. Sanjeev calling from Mumbai telling you something you must buy. I am not trying to be disrespectful but link into the idea of dismissing that he already has in his brain. I was trying to classify these intrusive thoughts into some already managed thought circuit for dismissing and not opening the dialogue for debate. It is the thought attack we are trying to stop. The content of the thoughts changes but is still irrelevant.
He calls out, "Mum " in alarm. I am now calling back from the other room. "Just Sanjeev calling. Don't pick up" Because I use this approach myself for dismissing something intrusive like call centre unwanted calls, it has more power as it is established.
It is a long way from taming this because really the important step ahead is to refocus his life. He needs a wellness plan that is more important than doing BDD.

Got a lovely post from my supporter Donna, will add some of her words below. She describes her thoughts and her mindset. It works like a filter to just give her negative thoughts. It can happen all the time.

“My entire life, and still tweaking this, I have been my worst enemy, in that I always thought people thought poorly of me, no matter what the circumstance. If someone glanced at me, my mind ran full speed at trying to figure out what they might be thinking about me.”……….. ..
“It just amazes me how much I think we all are really so much alike in this world. I think everybody sufferers this way in one form or another, at some point, or unfortunately always.”
“So yes, it's what are they thinking, and the "what ifs" we are coming up with, are of course all negative. So we are within negative energy, bringing ourselves down. etc. But for those that are extremely insecure, this manifests into sort of paranoia. So that is why when it's large groups, we are analysing not one persons perceived thoughts and opinions, judgment, but a group of many. Wanting to escape their view and when we do, when we aren't glanced at, that is a whole other scramble of negative thoughts as well. We must not be worth looking at.etc. Anything that happens, the energy of our thoughts is negative. Walking into a crowded room, or store, what have you, feels the same to person with disorder as it would as if we walked into a room and everyone in that room began yelling out terrible names at us. Yes, it is that strong! That feeling of when your neighbor shouts out horrible things to you from his car. (Ugh, shame on him!!!) Well, we create that for ourselves every day. It feels nearly as bad as if that happened. BUT. Problem is, it's us doing that, creating that, in our own minds. So, who is there to be angry at, but our inner selves. “

“It's the emotion of what we would feel if "they" thought this or that about us that we fear. If I am thinking this person is seeing this big zit, and thinking oh my, how gross. Or if I had to reprimand my child in the store for example, and I got the eyes, the process would then begin on them thinking I was abusive, or mean, or that my child was a brat, that I was a monster mother. etc. Basically, in a nut shell, being ultra- sensitive to anything and everything around me always leading to something bad about me in the end, or throughout the whole process.”

“With each fleeting thought or what if. I felt the jab of emotion marg, that's the key. Just thinking what if, even if it just passed very quickly onto another what if that.. I felt the jab of that emotion. The feeling I would actually feel as if the person chewed me out and said all those things to me. It wasn't "just" one thing. No, not at all! It was 10's, maybe hundreds. Kid you not.”

“So an outing…..so draining. Each outing felt as if I had just come in from a roast of some kind. A total bashing. It wasn't just my busy mind, it was the jabs that broke me down. Each jab of that emotion I felt. I feared feeling that emotion, and because I feared that emotion, I actually felt it.”

Psychologically, we might call this experience a form of negative mind filtering causing distortion and heightened self awareness and self consciousness. From a biological position, the amygdala is over reactive and connecting alarm to every encounter. The amygdala reads every situation through the lens of potential threat. The’ what ifs’ give context for the fear felt. It is a sinister pattern to halt but Donna has done it. Yeah! Go girl.

Thanks for sharing you valuable insight with us. The thoughts are only one aspect. It is the emotion that needs to recognized. Marg

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