Updated: Sep 2, 2021
If you are someone who is suffering from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), mirrors can be your worst enemy. Not just mirrors, but also any reflecting surface that comes in your way. I am talking about the car windows, shop windows, and glass doors where you can't pass without stopping and critically scanning your body looking at real or perceived flaws. Standing there for long minutes stressing over something on your body that you are unsatisfied with and just wish you could disappear. Mirrors and reflecting surfaces are heavy triggers for those suffering with BDD. It happened many times that I got ready for an outing, I felt more or less okay about my outfit and my appearance but once I saw myself in a billboard glasses' reflection or in a random mirror in a bathroom, I got very upset and I couldn't believe why I left the house in that outfit/makeup/hair etc... I felt such a strong shame that I didn't want to face anybody and just wanted to run home. Not run... teleport.
Do you also feel like you look different in different mirrors? Like looking in the mirror in your bathroom and in the mirror in the office and you see two complete different things? So which one is it? Which one shows the reality? Do you even know how you look like? Because I have no idea how I look. Sometimes I wish somebody made a life size realistic statue of me so, I could walk around it, put it next to things and people to see and experience my actual size. I used to ask my friends when I saw somebody who I thought might be around my size if our build is identical. There were some instances when I was so off (usually in both directions) that they thought I was joking. It is weird to one day feel nice and the next day bawling my eyes out because I feel giant and fat. And the truth is that I am not only feeling, but also seeing myself in different ways. I am literally seeing myself in different shape almost every single day sometimes not believing my eyes... Thoughts are rushing through my head like: "Yesterday you looked fine, how did you get so big in a day?" or "Are you blind? How could you think that you look nice?". So I don't know how I look like, but I do know that most of the time I hate what I see.
People think those who suffer with BDD are shallow and try to shake it off with a "It's not a big deal get over yourself" but in reality it is not about being vein and it is a very big deal. It is a deal that ruins our life. It affects our rest, work, relationships, and even our children's self image too. It is the frustration and the horror of being so unsatisfied with certain parts of our body or its whole that it is hurting and it causes toxic shame. I remember screaming the most horrible words at my reflection in the mirror. Things I would never say to another human being. I am not screaming anymore but the same thoughts are still appearing in my head. I remember during high school I used to run back from the door to change at least 3 times every day before leaving. My mom was always annoyed about it and she kept calling me a vein monkey. She had no idea about how terrified I was to leave the house until I found an outfit that "fits". These days, I still tend to change before going out with my husband constantly asking him about how the clothes look on me. Poor man tries to be nice while avoiding the traps and my weak points. I hate my wardrobe, I honestly don't think that I own anything that I enjoy wearing. I wear them because they are practical but they are not expressing my style or who I am at all. I shop clothes to survive not to thrive. This was always something that was missing from my life at all times. I always watch my mom and my sister trying up clothes filled with excitement. I know that they will buy the piece, they will love it, wear it and enjoy it. I will buy it and most probably it will sit in a corner of my wardrobe waiting for better days. I mostly wear jeans, t-shirts and sport shoes. Not that there is anything wrong with, but I want to wear dresses, blouses, skirts but even if I have the guts to put it on, I will feel uptight all day and wouldn't stop thinking about how stupid I was when I could have just wear my safe jeans and T-shirt.
There is so much potential in everybody and I feel like body dysmorphia is destroying this potential. It is taking away energy, self-confidence, power, love... if we let it.