Psychology and Mental Health Forum

Author:  margharris [ Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:09 am ]
Blog Subject:  Body dysmorphia: Your whole story. Fess up.

Fessing up to all that BDD is and how it impacts your life is the story seldom told. It is most common for BDDers to fragment their life story and select only the ugly fear story for retelling. That is the fix story that justifies all that they do. All the obsessing, compulsions and disconnect.
My son has his exaggerated hairloss story. Regardless of how many people have told him he looks fine, he continues the rant. The fact no one cares isn’t completely lost to him. He cares and that is all that is significant to him. Should he care so much is not the perspective he welcomes. But in reality he doesn’t care well for his hair. It is seldom washed, mercilessly cut, and doused in concealers that cling to the scalp.
I include my friend’s story here to show how insidious and ubiquitous these compulsions are:

“My hands were constantly on my hair any chance I wasn't in the wig. My mind was on my hair constantly, so any other activity was strained. I did not even comprehend that I was obsessed with my hair until I stopped cutting it, crazy as that sounds, that's the truth!
When I was initially stopping the cutting, I did notice that any thoughts of touching, styling, conditioning or looking at my hair always lead me to cutting, so it was only then, that I forced myself not to do any of those things, and was only then that I did began to see how everything I thought about, was having to do with my hair, and only then I began to really see the depth of my obsession.”

When you are in the grip of obsession you don’t see yourself as the bird pecking itself. There is no logic to what you do even though you are trying to problem solve all the time. There is such an overload of anxiety that you can’t fathom all this worry is clouding your judgement. You have to do all the checks, camouflage, avoidance and destructive behaviours. It keeps you safe? Does it? You don’t really know anymore. You have long forgotten what it is like to live without fear. Life is this awful risk that isn’t worth living in the frame of reference you have given it. You are trapped into defending your own logic that tries to explain what defies explanation…..Why you live this way?

I asked my son to stop touching. He said he couldn’t even though it is such an obvious trigger. Sort of reminds me of the alcoholic thinking one drink would do as a limit. Just another symptom of fragmented stories. He doesn’t connect that which he deems protective and the whole obsession of painful torture.
Maybe as a meditation he needs to say ten good things about himself each morning. Expanding his focus from that negative list will take effort. Once he has a more holisitic image of himself, he mightn’t need protection. The perfect image might not be as relevant to his view of his own success and how to achieve it.
It would be a good practice to write out your own story. All you do. All the time. All the hurt. Try and condense all your life into one story to see the place this illness has in it. Focus on your connections. As you devoted your time to your illness, all your connections to others and to yourself will have suffered. To break your connection to this illness, you need to reach out to others to share and reconnect. The opposite of this addiction is connection.

Wish you all well. Marg

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