“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
Today my friend revealed to me that they have Body Dysmorphic Disorder -concerning their weight.
Had they not told me, the chances of me picking the Power Ball number would have been greater than realizing that my friend was suffering.
Yet another powerful, and in this case personal, example of the invisibility of mental illness AND how well society has conditioned us to hide it. AND how our social indoctrination is to strive for a non-existent, unattainable perfection, wasting our lives on a sisyphean effort that yields nothing but pain and sorrow.
A wave of empathy washed over me, as years of suffering with untreated Bipolar Disorder have left me with a very soft heart for anyone with a mental illness or addiction.
At the same time, I felt very curious. Despite having been in and around recovery for 26 years, and having spent many years with fellow sufferers, including a Bulemic girlfriend who tried to end her life, BDD was new to me.
After my friend and I talked for a while, I went online and started reading about it. This excerpt from a personal story resonated the most deeply with me. I hope it helps you to understand “what it’s like….”
From What It’s Like To Have body Dysmorphic Disorder: Sean’s Story by Michaela Deane:
“I hate myself. There, I’ve said it. No matter how much anybody admires me or cares for me in any way, I will continue to stare at myself in the mirror with a passionate loathing of my reflection for countless amounts of time.
No matter how great the aspects of your life are, if you suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, it’s almost impossible to relax and enjoy anything. Even when you’re surrounded by the most amazing people and the most comfortable lifestyle, if you hate yourself, life becomes a struggle. You are the most central part of your life, and if you hate the most central part of your life, it becomes insanely difficult to be happy.”