Saturday, December 16, 2017

| BDD | My Experience With Body Dysmorphic Disorder |

Hi I'm Ali and I hate my body, it's not perfect. My arms are really long, my boobs aren't big enough. I hate how my stomach looks, it's not flat and my legs are weird. I wish my butt was bigger, but my biggest issue at the moment is how my waist isn't small enough. I can't quite figure out how to make it smaller than it already is, but it needs to somehow, someway, get smaller. I've been looking into waist trainers, but the good ones are expensive so I guess I'll have to wait a little while longer and invest in one. In the meantime, I'll just watch what I eat while I excessively work out at the gym, ya know pushing myself way too hard and all that. If I don't fix my waist, then I won't have a perfect body and no one will want to talk to me, I won't be good enough. 

Hey ya'll! I'm Ali and I have BDD. 

BDD stands for Body Dysmorphic Disorder and it's classified as a mental disorder in which the sufferer can't stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in their appearance - a flaw that, to others, is either minor or not observable. 

I first developed BDD around 13 years old, so I've had it for about 10 years. It varies in intensity but it's always there, stress seems to have an effect on it. Mine typically manifests in thoughts about my body. It's like I have this image in my head of what a so-called "perfect body" is supposed to look like and mine just isn't there. The body parts I focus on and obsess over change every once in a while, sometimes it's my legs, sometimes it's my butt, sometimes it's how much I weigh or what my arms look like. 

Currently, my obsession is my hip to waist ratio and it not being drastic enough. And trust me, I know how ridiculous that sounds. I've starting working out like crazy, pushing myself too far sometimes, and eating better. It all sounds like good stuff, but when you do it for the wrong reasons, it can be a bad thing. I'm working out because I think that it will somehow give me the unrealistic "perfect body" I desire so much, and the truth is, it never will. 

The problem with BDD is that no matter what I do or how I look for that matter, I'll never be satisfied. As soon as one part of my body looks good enough for me, I'll be obsessing over another one soon enough. It has nothing to do with the way I look and everything to do with the way I think, and until I focus on why I have this and learn the correct ways to cope with it, I'll always feel a certain way about my body, no matter what it looks like. 

I know realistically that I'm fine, that my body is fine, but it's almost as though I have this mental block not allowing me to think that rational thought all the time. In the midst of what I like to call one of my typical "BDD Breakdowns" everything I think is irrational and no one can tell me otherwise.  I can spend hours staring at my body, running late to things or just plain wasting my time. If I'm busy or out, I'll typically just stop in the middle of something to check it.

It's a constant check, check, check. A check to see if I'm right or wrong about my body, as if allowing a few minutes, an hour, six, to pass will make my body look the way it's supposed to in my head. It goes past the point of being vain or insecure, it's a full blown obsession. I'll break down and cry in front of the mirror, knowing full well the entire time that I'm being ridiculous, but still not having the power to stop. 

Reassurance seeking is another thing I do quite a lot of. I'll mention hating my body just to hear people tell me it's fine. Which, in the end, makes no real sense, since no matter what they tell me, the thoughts will still be there. It's a sick cycle and in the midst of a breakdown, I'm the worst person. 

I'll hide my body under over-sized clothing. I'll wear a sweatshirt and pants in the summer to hide how "fat" I look. I'll refuse to take my jacket off inside in the winter because the shirt I'm wearing doesn't make my body look good. I'm also very familiar with the feeling of needing to wear a giant dark shirt to the beach, because my body isn't nice enough for a bikini. I'll cancel plans because I think I look bad, I'll refuse to hang out with people or ditch them all together. 

As if the thoughts themselves aren't bad enough, people tend to think that you don't actually have a mental illness that negatively impacts your life, instead you're just fishing for compliments or you just want attention and this might be the worst part of having something like BDD. BDD is so very real, same goes for insecurity and body image issues in general. The constant battles in front of the mirror, the hours spent obsessing over an almost-delusional thought about an imperfect flaw that doesn't even exist, the need to ask others about the way you look, the social isolation, the hiding yourself, your body, your "flaws", from those around you. It's all so real. The depression and anxiety that manifests because of this is real. 

Social media can either make me feel better or worse. On one end you have the new wave of people who preach "love your body", "all bodies are beautiful". On the other end though, you have people who only preach love for bigger girls and have no problem shaming girls with bodies similar to mine. You have cosmetically enhanced women, preaching that healthy eating and the gym helped them achieve their "all natural" body, when in fact they're hiding the truth from people who aim to look like them. 

Here's the worst thing though, I'll preach self-love all fucking day long because it's something I truly believe in when I'm thinking rationally, it's something that I think is so important, but behind closed doors and in the middle of a breakdown I'm filled with nothing but hate for myself. Social media and the pressure to be positive all the time makes me feel as though, because I don't love myself all the time, that I don't love myself at all. That's not the case because unfortunately I just have a super loud, obnoxious mental illness that prevents me from doing so sometimes. 

I spoke to a few other girls with BDD and their stories were different but also very similar. It's one of those "you need to experience it to truly understand it" kind of things. There are so many people out there suffering with something like BDD, both men and women. It's often mistaken for insecurity or common body image issues, but it can be much worse. 

I wanted to get this all out for myself because I noticed a recent spike in my BDD and writing is therapeutic for me. I decided to publish this though, because I wanted anyone else who may be dealing with BDD or anything similar, to know they're not alone. It can be a total bitch to deal with and sometimes knowing that you're not the only one going through something makes it that much easier to manage. 

As always, my messages are open to anyone who needs someone to talk to!

I love you all!

Instagram: @alii.grigonis
Twitter: @heyitsaliquinn


  1. You look very attractive and you write beautifully on interesting subjects. I am sure there are millions of people who would love talking with you. I feel for your suffering with Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I suspect there are a lot of people who suffer with varying degrees of it. I suffer with my own body image and lack of body confidence myself, maybe not to the extent you do, but enough that I've only done one post in 2017. I think you are young and beautiful, but when I look in the mirror I see myself being old and out of shape and lose confidence.
    Kudos for sharing about your feelings, thoughts and struggles. All my best wishes for your year 2018 and shaking the BDD.


  2. I have no idea if my last comment posted so sorry if I repeat myself!! But I just wanted to say thanks so much for telling your story, I have more insight on BDD. So many struggle with body image (myself included) and our idea of how we want our bodies to look, it can be all-consuming. I know I’d have to experience BDD myself fully to truly understand, but I can imagine it to be a bitch like you said!! I always admired your open-ness and honesty on here. Thanks again for sharing, I’m sure this wasn’t easy. Xx Jen