Ways I Cope With Body Dysmorphic Disorder

So you may remember this post I wrote ages ago about my BDD (Body dysmorphic disorder), as it's been so long I thought I would write something that maybe helps others with BDD in ways to cope on a day to day basis. I'm not perfect I still have really bad days, were I feel like being psychical sick because I just don't look right and I just feel like a disgusting mess. It happens and you have to except that it's never going to magical go. 

So rather than waste time, waiting for a miracle that someone will invent a laser that shoots you in the brain and your BDD is cured. Let's talk about things you can do to help yourself, and make life easier on you and those around you- Because I hope they want to help you too. No body is perfect, and guess what you don't have to be. BDD wants you to believe that you have no power, it wants you to believe your not good enough. It's lying to you every second of every day, and when you start to make small changes you can fight BDD. This is not about medication by the way, I think that's too personal and it's an individuals choice. All I would say is if your doctor is offering meds, to read up about them and were possible talk to others who are taking the same meds. Knowledge is power, and it's important to know exactly what your being offered. These are things I guess to give you a routine, dealing with it daily. 

Spend as little time looking in the mirror as possible 

I'm 33 and if I could speak to my younger self I'd tell her this. The mirror is not your friend, because sadly your brain is wired differently and whatever your seeing is a lie because your brain has twisted it. You are pretty, and your body is normal. I know you don't believe what others are telling you, but why would they lie. You need to look beyond the mirror, because life is passing you by. 

So how do we tackle using the mirror, without being sucked into a five hour mind battle of obsessive listing everything that we believe is wrong with our faces and bodies.  Do things in short bursts, sounds silly but it works. Brush your teeth, than leave and do something else like get dressed. Give yourself a time limit of 20 minutes to check once over your outfit, you have to be tough if you find this too hard start with 40 minutes and reduce it by 5 minutes every day until you can get it down to 20 minutes. 

So if you wear makeup it can be tricky, but again do one thing like base/foundation than go sort out your bag or something. Example: Come back and do brows and contour if you like that. Another short break, and than finish with brows and eyes. It doesn't have to be a massive break, but it will keep you focused and stop you from over thinking it too much. 

It's perfectly natural to look in the mirror, but when your not keeping yourself in check you will end up wasting your life missing out because of what you think you see. It may take time, but if you can get into a good routine it will literally change your life for the most part. Start thinking more about what your going to do with your day, because it took you under an hour to get ready you have extra time to enjoy. Trust me it will make a huge difference to your life and self esteem, so don't let the bad days throw you off from having  great ones. Go out, live in that moment and make amazing memories. 

Plan outfits as much as you can 

Rather than breaking down in a flood of tears (trust me we have all been there) and deciding not to go an hour before having to go out for trying to find something to wear. Plan your outfit in advance even a week if it makes you feel better, this will keep your anxiety levels to a minimal. Plus you can't spend hours in the mirror, putting yourself down. The more time you have picking, the more likely you are to build yourself up into a state of no return. It's okay, it happens to us all and it's not our fault, but we can overcome those bad thoughts by not letting them take charge. So what if it's not completely perfect, will someone like you any less because of your outfit. Of course not, and if they do than they are not worth your time. Wear an outfit you love, remember if your feeling more comfortable your more likely to forget and enjoy yourself. Don't wear things you have to fuss with, it will take focus away from your time out. No one wants to hear - Does this look okay 40 times, I know it's hard but try to imagine BDD as a nasty person you know. You want to give them as little of your time as possible. You do look great, and more importantly people what to be around you because of who you are. Because your personality comes before anything you wear, never forget that.  

Treat Yourself

Living with BDD is exhausting, and can leave you feeling like what's the point in life. It's really important to treat yourself, now I don't know what personal makes you feel good. For me it's seeing a friend and having a coffee and cake, maybe adding those wish list bits into my basket and giving away clothing that make me just feel bad within myself. Maybe for you it's buying yourself a new outfit, having a pamper evening, taking a workshop. Whatever it is you deserve it, BDD will make you feel that you don't deserve anything nice. But you do, and it's important to have things to look forward to. Be kind to yourself, and you deserve to have a lovely life so start putting yourself first for a change. Treat yourself like a queen.

Take time out

After a while you will begin to see a pattern within your BDD, times where everything feels impossible. It's okay to feel drained from it, and it's important if you can to take some time out. I have worked out habits I tend to display right before a massive BDD downer, I get to a point were I feel numb and I don't want to be around anyone. I'm highly conscious of everything I do, say and I replay bad times in my head. I use to try and push through these times, but in the end it made me ill. Instead I usually cut down on what I'm doing, as much as possible and don't make any plans to go out as this only causes my depression to reach rock bottom as break promises. I avoid reading magazines and social media and tend to focus more on things that need my full attention like sewing, knitting, reading a book this way I can't compare myself to anyone. You don't have to do these things, if you just feel like curling up in a ball and sleeping sometimes it may be what you need just to be able to face the world again. If you can try to be honest and open with friends and family, let them know that you just need a little space but if things are really bad than seek support. 

Talk to someone 

If your in a really bad place, and you feel like it's all too much. Than I don't care how or who, but get on your phone or met with someone you trust and know it's okay to let them help you. It's okay to admit when your not coping. If you are being self destructive and your trying to stop, talk to people. It may take time, you may stop and relapse. It happens, but YOU ARE NOT ALONE please know that. If your struggling with help regards your doctor or you feel you can't talk to people in your life than please see BDD support. I wish I had spoken to someone sooner, and I have no shame in talking about being self destructive at the time it felt like a way of dealing with it all. I have reached a place where I would never do it to myself again. You will get there too, but talking is the first step to really dealing with it. My scars remind me daily to speak when I'm upset, that my voice is worth hearing. Your voice is worth hearing too. 

I hope this post has a positive impact, honestly you need to let your beautiful soul shine. I hope this helps with your BDD more, rather than feeling consumed by it and that the more we talk about it the more awareness there is. I'm not perfect these may not work for everyone. If you have or know anyone with  BDD I would love to hear how you or they cope with it. Anything you would recommend doing to improve mental well being? Honestly I'm always looking for new things to try out, and help me keep positive. 

1 comment

  1. Great post! And I imagine possibly a difficult one to write. I don't struggle with this personally but I have a friend who I think does, she genuinely believes that she's overweight even though she's slim and is constantly paranoid that she's getting bigger etc.

    I love how you give practical advice for coping on a daily basis rather than suggesting "cures" or "fixes" that are unrealistic.

    V <3


Thank you for your comments, I really do love hearing from you x