This is the first time I have come across this website. I volunteer at an anxiety helpline and saw a flier up on the wall! It is nice to see a place where people with similar experiences can go to share their story and offer support.
I am 25 years old, and have been experiencing BDD for about ten years. I had experienced OCD (primarily intrusive thoughts or what they call “pure O) since a child. I spent most of my childhood and teenage years having battles in my own mind.
I feel I have the most control over my BDD than I ever have since it came into my life. I see myself as recovered rather than cured. I constantly have to maintain self care and implement strategies when I can feel it starting to rear it’s “ugly” head.
It’s absolutely exhausting and lonely to have BDD. I commend all of you for your persistence, courage, and strength.
What I found the most difficult thing about BDD, is not being understood. Others see your problems as either vain or minuscule in comparison to all the other issues happening in the world. This only adds to the guilt and anger bubbling away inside. My symptoms came when I was a teenager, and teenagers are at that time in their life more aware of their physical appearance. So my behavior and concerns were not seen as alarming. And as I’m sure most of you can relate to, you tend to keep your issues a secret.
I spent hours and hours in the bathroom trying to “correct” all of my defects. This worked for a while, but eventually I started to see defects that could not be fixed. I felt very alone and could not see a future I wanted to be a part of. I began to build a lot of resentment and anger towards myself. I did not see myself as human.
I began experiencing delusions of my body contorting which was very painful. I would spend days in bed and did not leave the house during the day. I would shower in the dark, if I showered at all. I ended up in hospital and from there I started getting the help and understanding I so desperately needed.
It’s been a long road to recovery. It’s certainly not been linear. I have had many lapses. But now instead of beating myself up about it I see it as another opportunity to learn about myself. It’s OK not to be OK! I am more open about my experience. I now work in mental health and feel my experience can serve me. I wouldn’t wish BDD (or any mental health concern for that matter) on anybody. But I don’t feel resentful for having it. I feel it has shaped who I am, and I like who I am!