BDD

fiona1 *The following represents a very real battle.  I want to be open and authentic on my blog, and it doesn’t get much more real for me than this.  My sharing is not an attempt to get compliments or prompt feedback.  Rather, it is my hope that maybe someone else will be encouraged, strengthened, or inspired by reading about my struggle…

I was diagnosed last fall with BDD: Body Dysmorphic Disorder. 

It’s defined on Webmd.com as “a preoccupation with an imagined physical defect that others often cannot see. As a result, people with this disorder see themselves as ‘ugly’ and … turn to extreme measures to try to improve their appearance.”

I first heard of this disease while watching Oprah several years ago.  A beautiful blonde was featured on the show and (to date) had undergone 26 plastic surgeries.  People deemed her the human Barbie. 

I have a very mild case compared to her.  But it’s why I pay a nail technician to do my nails. When I don’t, I constantly pick at them.  It’s why I have spent I-don’t-want-to-know-how-much money on beauty products.  I never leave the house without makeup.  It’s why my two-piece bathing suit (a tankini with skort) covers more than most one-pieces.  I don’t like looking at my body, so why would I want anyone else to see it?

This isn’t a new battle for me.  I’ve never thought I was pretty, and I’ve been concerned about my weight for as long as I can remember.  I vividly recall freaking out at the doctor (in probably 5th grade) after finding out that I weighed 74 pounds, up from 68 my previous visit.    

I always assumed that disliking my body was normal for females – I just chalked it up to low self-esteem or body image issues.  But apparently my preoccupation is more severe. 

Quite simply, I’m obsessed with my body.  And I hate it (my obsession and my body).  I wish more than anything in the world that I didn’t care so much about my appearance. 

I would love to look in the mirror and see a realistic depiction staring back at me.  Instead, I see something that resembles Shrek’s wife.  I see fat, wrinkles, bags under my eyes, pasty white skin, freckles, bulges in places I’d rather not have them, a lack of bulges in places I’d like to have some. 

Well, just change your thinking , you might suggest.  It’s not a conscious decision.  It’s an irrational anxiety that is not easily treatable. 

After diagnosing me with BDD, my counselor challenged me to repeat, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) when I looked in the mirror.  I did for a few days, then it dawned on me… what does “fearfully” mean? 

I turned to the dictionary for help, but it offered little insight.  Next, I looked up the same passage in different versions of the Bible.  It didn’t really help either. 

Out of desperation, I emailed our Teaching Pastor at church.  Here’s his reply, “The word in Hebrew is yah-ray and it can mean ‘fear’ in some contexts and ‘to show honor or respect’ in others. In this verse the literal translation is this: ‘I praise you because I am a fearful and wonderful thing’… as in, the way my body is put together is so amazing that it overwhelms me! It is a poetic way of saying that the human body is a special and complicated piece of work by God.”

I know my body is made by Him, so it should be deemed beautiful.  But the truth is, it’s a daily struggle for me to recognize it.  So I work out regularly (perhaps obsessively), keep Mary Kay in business, and pray that God will someday help me see myself through His eyes.

“The King is enthralled by your beauty.” -Psalm 45:11

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~ by Serena on April 22, 2009.

4 Responses to “BDD”

  1. Hmmm. If we were all honest, I suppose there wouldn’t be a person alive who didn’t suffer from feelings of insatisfaction and uncompleteness. Props to you for being open, honest, and brave enough to speak, Na. Courage has never been a trait you have lacked and I admire you for it. Keep being the strength and fortitude that others (including me) have and can continue to lean on. Maybe if we all came clean with our weaknesses and the holes in our life, we would be like a jig-saw puzzle, all the individuals fitting together and filling in the blank spots on eachother. As always, you rock and see ya around.

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