, 18 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
I want to say a few things about my experience with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a mental illness on the obsessive compulsive spectrum, for #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth. I briefly discuss suicide ideation, just so you are aware.
In 5th grade, when we got our class photos, I saw mine and hated it. HATED it. I became hyper aware of my appearance, particularly my face and weight, and spent many hours obsessing in the mirror and asking my parents for diet pills. I told no one how hideous I believed I looked.
I would spend hours in the bathroom crying over my appearance, writing in my diary the things I would change. This seemed "normal" to me, as I was told "everyone has insecurities", but this is when I believed my BDD really developed. I kept it bottled out of shame.
A few years later I found myself in an abusive relationship with someone who constantly ridiculed my appearance. He lost his temper one day and hit me in the face, injuring my nose. My ENT recently took an x-ray and you can still see the trauma where my septum deviated-
into the tissue by my cheek; there's a chunk of tissue missing from that spot. On top of him calling me fat, and now believing that my face looked gross, hideous, and abnormal due to the nose injury, this is what provoked a 12 year stint with bulimia.
In my teens I still had no idea what BDD was, I just felt that if I was beautiful, then I wouldn't have depression. And in my head, weight loss was the answer. If I lost weight, SURELY my face would be beautiful too. My battle with bulimia was intense and lasted longer than-
I told myself it would. During this time I had multiple overdoses, as suicide ideation is very common with those with BDD, and became very unstable. My worst years were between 2008-2012, where I became so malnourished that I was hallucinating and delusional.
I became a toxic person, seeking out bad relationships, negative attention, and frankly I'm ashamed of my behavior and resistance to ask for help. Suicide was on my mind almost 24/7; I felt too ugly to live, a lost cause, a bad person, and I was exhausted from declining health.
One day, while obsessing over my face and searching for acne solutions (a flaw I didn't have, but BDD convinced me that I had it), I found a thread about BDD. I was hesitant to believe what I was reading and it took me awhile to connect it back to myself, but it was the moment-
-I realized I had this illness that had gone diagnosed for the majority of my life. Having the diagnoses is what got me on the path to healing; just knowing that I wasn't "crazy" and there was a reason I felt this way all the time.
This is an illness that isn't talked about in great detail; some of that is because people who suffer often feel ashamed of themselves and won't open up to other people. I didn't even think I had anything other than depression; it's not recognized by enough people.
I still suffer, but I at least know what I am dealing with and put all of my effort into living with it. It can be draining, but after a lot of treatment and management I do feel hopeful that I can have a life with this illness. It's never going to be perfect, but I want to live.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, I encourage you to talk to someone about it. You don't have to suffer with this alone; there are ways to manage, treatment options, and you are NOT "crazy." This is a real illness.

Thank you for reading.
I'll say a few more things since it's sparked some discussion. It was one thread on a forum that made me realize something was up, so I'll share some of my behaviors and symptoms with you.
I use words like "hideous", "gross", "disgusting" and "abnormal" to describe my appearance. I fantasize about looking completely different by getting plastic surgeries. I pick and scrutinize my face. I can't face mirrors/reflective surfaces/cameras on bad days. Suicide ideation.
Not believing loved ones when they compliment my appearance. In the past I would believe they are flat out lying, and try to convince them that I am in fact, hideous.
I take selfies, but I don't see them the way everyone else does. Now that I am medicated/gone through treatment these symptoms are not as severe, but I still don't see a picture the way my loved ones do. But it's important for me to post them, and feel a sense of "normalcy."
I am doing far, far better these days, but I still suffer with all of the above to some capacity.
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