Trigger warning: Before reading this post, please be aware that it includes a graphic description of self-harm.
For 11 years I have struggled with severe body dysmorphic disorder, I struggle with the emotional pain of never feeling like I’m good enough or pretty enough well especially pretty enough. I look in the mirror on s constant basis, I preoccupy myself with my looks on a daily basis which causes severe anxiety and depression and intetferes with my everyday life. You may ask how did it all begin? What made you this way? Well here’s my story.
I was always a fun, loving kid I always wanted to be with my friends or with my family I always got good grades everything was great in my life until I hit about the age of 13 I started acting out of control I couldn’t concentrate I always had to be the centre of attention which I had never been like before. I started getting bad grades but I still at least had some friends.. but when I hit grade 8 things started to get worse. Yes I still had my 3 best friends ( not going to name names) but at the same time on a daily basis I was getting harassed and being told I was “hideous” and that I had a lisp not to mention the 100 more cruel things that no 14 year old should have to hear about themselves, seeing as 14 year old are very impressionable. But still at this time I just kind of let it go. Until I got to highschool.
When I started grade 9 I felt great I was 15 starting a new school. I would get to know new ppl make new friends… but that wasn’t the case. Me and the only 3 friends I had had a falling out. We had had many before but this was different. High school changed them. They didn’t want to be friends with me anymore. For the rest of the school year the only 3 people I had had started making my life s living hell. At school they turned everyone against me. On the bus too and from school when I usually sat with my friends I now sat at the front of the bus by myself with them throwing gum in my hair calling me “ugly” and that I would never have friends again because no one wants to be friends with a freak.. too them throwing pennies at my head and telling me that’s all I’m worth. I came home crying every night to my mom about how I couldn’t handle all the abuse from my former friends and well the rest of my class as well. This is when I spiralled and couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror anymore. All I could see were all of the flaws people were pointing out. I felt worthless like a piece of garbage. And nothing anyone said could change the way I felt. I started looking in the mirror on a constant basis hours on end obsessing about my skin and my hair and whatever else I could find wrong with me. I remember many days where at school in class o would just get up and leave because I thought ppl were looking at my and criticizing me. I couldn’t handle it.. I became very withdrawn from things I once loved to do.. I became very quiet not wanting to be noticed. I even got to the point where I tried to cut the skin off my arm because I thought I could see dirt all over me. At that point my mom k ew something was wrong as that wasn’t a normal thing for someone to do. She finally made me an appointment with a therapist to see what may be happening to me. Within a week the therapist knew exactly what was wrong with me. That was when I was diagnosed with BDD. I was confused and scared. I had no idea what that was or what it meant. But my therapist assured me that we were going to work through it and get me better. It was also nice to put a name to the way I was feeling. She then prescribed me medication to help with my symptoms. The hard part was waiting for it to kick in.. while I was waiting for my Ned’s to kick in I just got worse and worse to the point where I was trying anything just to feel better. I was abusing alcohol and was taking any kind of pill I could find to mess me up so I didn’t have to feel anymore. On one occasion I took so many pills I couldn’t walk nor talk right and my parents had to rush me to the hospital. Thankfully I didn’t have to get my stomach pumped I only had to drink liquid charcoal which was absolutely disgusting. It had finally been a month and the pills were supposed to be kicking in. Nothing yet. I still felt incredibly sad and disgusted with my appearance that I would lash out so badly at my parents that a couple times I punched my mom in the nose resulting in her having black eyes and my parents then calling the cops on me… my parents had no idea what to do or how to make me better. So we had my medication switched over to something else to see if that may work. In the course of me waiting to see if this medication would take effect I once again took way to many pills and could not speak or walk. My sister was the only one home and seeing as she couldn’t drive she had to call the ambulance to take me to the hospital. And again I had to drink liquid chRcoal.I’ll never forget the amount of tears my sister cried. That alone killed me. As my sister never cried. Looking back on this I really wasn’t trying to commit suicide but Ithinking about it I was actually okay with the thought of dieing. I would finally be at peace.
By grade 10 I was starting to feel better. My pills had finally started to work people had started to stop the bullying I had finally gotten a boyfriend. But me having that certain boyfriend came with a lot of backlash from other people. This guy had an ex girlfriend who didn’t want me any where near him. So again we are back to the mental abuse. I was getting told I was anorexic the next day I would get told I’m too fat the next day I was too ugly to have a boyfriend and it eventually got to the point of death threats every time I walked through the halls from multiple people. It was a nightmare. When I told my mom about what was happening she immediately went to the principal to voice her concerns. But the principal said it was just kids being kids there was nothing she could do. My mother was furious. Her child was getting death threats and making her daughter severely depressed once again and no one would help. She felt horrible. But after about a year of that me and this boyfriend broke up and eventually it all subsided. No more death threats no more bullying. Unfortunately the damage had already been done I was back to being that girl who couldn’t get out of the mirror who was putting herself down constantly not leaving the house constantly skipping school because she didn’t want people to see her “look” this way. So again we switched me medication.
I started to feel a little better. I still didn’t feel great about myself but I managed to just push through it. I was still getting horrible grades By the time I was in grade 12 i was 12 credits behind. It would take me forever to get through high school so the school councillor decided it would benefit me to go a college where they have a program where people can finish high school with being so far behind in credits. I thought this is perfect I finally get out of this school where people have been so mean to me. Maybe this school would be a better fit. And it was. Everyone there excepted me because we were all going through the same problems with school. I ended up getting all 12 credits in one year of being there. I was determined to get through high school and not be a drop out. With average grades I may add!
After I had finished school I ended up getting a job had a new boyfriend, had a confidence that I had never had before. I felt great. I was able to go out with friends and have a good time. But all good things come to an end. After 3 years I quit that job because of management my boyfriend had broken up with me , which I did not see coming. I spiraled back into the girl that I used to be. I thought I had beat my disorder. Little did I know, you never really beat it, you just learn to cope with it.
To this day I still struggle with my BDD every day. Constantly asking for reassurance of if I’m pretty or if I’m fat. I still ask myself why did this have to happen to me. I’m now 26, I’m not married, I have no children, what if I give my disorder to my child. I would feel too guilty for that. But I still push through instead of giving up. I will struggle with this for the rest of my life but knowing I have my family and many people who support me it makes it a little bit better easier.