My name is Mary, and together with my husband Graham, Paul and one other supporter we have decided to start this Melbourne based website with the aim of helping those currently experiencing the Body Dysmsorphic Disorder.
We aim to have regular meet-ups in relaxed surroundings over coffee/tea and bickies. Living with BDD ain’t easy: it’s your basic nightmare daily.
I’m 50 now, yes 50, how the heck did I get this old… anyway, I’ve had the disorder since I was a teenager. Looking back over my life now, I actually think I can trace the start of it to a school excursion in Grade 6. Yes, we went to some scenic location, probably five kilometres away from the school really, but I remember getting off the bus and talking with some girls I didn’t usually mix with, and ended up following them along a scenic path …. anyway, the thing I remember is overhearing one of them say “let’s get away from Mary”. The next thing I remember is getting on the bus and my friends calling me whitey, as I had turned as white as a ghost and didn’t say a word for the rest of the journey.
Thinking back now I’ve realised, well hang on, from that moment on I never approached anyone again, never went to join in things, always waited for people to come to me, and I do believe I’ve associated them wanting to get away from me with not looking good enough to be around people. Thinking clearly now, they had packets of cigarettes on them and wanted to go and smoke their ciggys in a secret location without me hanging around as I wasn’t a part of their group really. Anyway, from then on, it was all downhill for me.
In high school I became completely obsessed with redness in my face; I’d smother it with that ridiculous foundation that came in a bottle, similar to paint really, and would spend hours trying to cover all the imperfections before leaving the house and would make sure no-one got near me to see all the physical defects. Was so excited when I discovered laser treatments; became obsessed and had heaps of them; sometimes I looked like a sizzled lobster after, often taking weeks to heal. I’ve had social phobia big-time, if I had to hold a glass in front of anyone it would be shaking beyond belief and visible for all to see making me look like some kind of nervous wreck. Ooooh, and I also faked needing glasses; went for eye test and pretended everything was blurry, got glasses and spent the next 25 years looking through fuzz just so I could hide my face a bit. As soon as I would get home I’d fling ‘em off and relax.
Anyway, on finishing school I went to business college and landed my first job. I was so concerned I didn’t look good enough to work there in office, I asked my mum to ring to say I wouldn’t be coming back anymore; actually saw myself in mirror in ladies toilets and was so distressed didn’t go back. More jobs followed, same thing, i was so distressed about my appearance, I’d go out to lunch and never come back to work. I thought I didn’t look good enough to work in an office, but perhaps I’d be good enough to be a maid, I thought, I could be a maid.
I got job as a room attendant, but after I while I didn’t feel I looked good enough for that job and had to get out of there. Spent a couple of years at home barely leaving the house. Next I got a job sitting in, well, solitary confinement really (with headphones on). I stuck with it for, h’mm, 20 years; and here I am now.
I Pretended I had eye problems and they let me have a soft fluorescent light in my office; pastel pink. Bright fluorescent lights made my skin crawl and made me feel like a hideous monster; pink lighting I was sure made me look better to others too. In my time there I was never able to go into the lunchroom and have fun with everyone, as much as I wanted to. When I lived near work I would walk the two hours home rather than be seen on tram as it was unbearable.
I wouldn’t go in shops thinking no-one would want to serve someone who looked like me. Anyway, the upshot of which I’ve pretty much lived my entire life completely isolated and alone. If I ever saw anyone I knew, I would bolt or look the other way as the fear of them seeing my face up close was utterly unbearable. But then the stress of knowing they probably saw me seemingly ignore them was utterly unbearable too.
This is how I’ve lived my entire life, like a total basket case.
It’s taken me years to get to where I am now and I’m proud to say that I’m at the point where I’ve pretty much told my BDD to bugger off. How have I finally got to this point? Having a best friend who understands me and others who encourage me has helped enormously; it’s been amazing.
Also, the discovery of self- hypnosis for happiness and self-esteem etc, has had a huge impact on me and I highly recommend it to anyone with these issues. I’ve downloaded them as MP3s and play them as I drift off to sleep or whenever I have some time to spare. Sensational improvements. Major, really.
Anyway, if I can, I want to help others feel better, & I don’t want anyone to live the lonely life that I have, it’s as simple as that. Life goes by pretty quickly.