“I lift my arm out of the water. It’s a log. Put it back under and it blows up even bigger. People see the log and call it a twig. They yell at me because I can’t see what they see. Nobody can explain to me why my eyes work different than theirs. Nobody can make it stop. ”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls
‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ is a phrase most of us know well. It’s an idiom to be taken in the most literal sense – the
measure of beauty is not universally intrinsic, instead it is based on perception. Thus, what one person sees as beautiful, another may not.
Those suffering from an eating disorder may also be suffering from Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) co-morbidly. BDD results from a mentally unhealthy obsession with body image, often resulting in impaired social functioning and emotional instability. Suicidal ideation is higher in those suffering from BDD alongside other mental disorders than in those suffering from a mental disorder alone. Frequent preoccupation with appearance and excessive preening with little to no satisfaction are characteristic of BDD.
Treatment with medication and psychotherapy may help in BDD cases, but as with any mental illness, recovery varies from person to person and requires great patience and consistency with the patient.
If you suffer from BDD, try to avoid the urge to constantly look in the mirror. For every time you catch yourself looking for flaws in the mirror, write one thing you like about yourself or one positive phrase on a post-it note and leave it on the mirror. At the end of the day, when you’re getting ready for bed, focus on those post-it notes. It may not completely solve your problems. It may seem pointless. But it doesn’t hurt to be reminded at the end of the day that you are beautiful and loved.