My Obsessive Body: From Lethal to Lovely
I’m been obsessed with my body. How much I eat, how I look in clothing, how I look without clothing, my growing number of stretch marks. Most may find these thoughts ordinary or typical, but my obsession is not. At twenty three, I’m beginning to process the war I’ve waged against myself. I’ve also finally found a name for my obsession – Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).
While many people have both positive and negative opinions about a variety of their body parts, my thoughts cause extreme physical and emotional pain. I spend eighty percent of my day thinking about the creases in my stomach, or the blemish on the underside of my chin. I pick at my face, my arms, and thighs; I brush my teeth until they bleed. My dysmorphic thoughts are so prominent that they’ve almost obliterated my productive capabilities and ability to concentrate. During intimacy, I disassociate from my body completely. And that’s just the start of things.
My BDD interacts with the PTSD I was diagnosed with after an ex-boyfriend raped me my junior year of college. That was almost three years ago. I have struggled on and off with depression and panic disorder since my early teens. BDD, PTSD, depression, panic disorder – they have been talking to each other for a while. But now, I have the vocabulary to start talking back – and I’m practically yelling. The nature of my obsession is evolving too – from something lethal to something lovely.
I didn’t know I was taking this dive, though. I didn’t know my obsession was changing, not until recently. Just over a year ago I graduated college. The first summer after graduation changes a person, and I was no exception. I developed new habits. I spent less time around friends, choosing to stay in my room with the lights off. I spent hours in the dark, ruminating on past relationships both intimate and not. I cried myself to sleep. I ate very little, or too much. I gained thirty pounds. I was terrified.