Modern Family actor Reid Ewing has been praised by countless mental health bloggers, advocates, news outlets, and others after disclosing his struggles with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) in a recent Huffington Post article. Reid’s decision has arguably made him one of the most prominent voices for the disorder. A recent interview with the hosts of the mental health podcast Shrink Tank featured Reid sharing candid thoughts on a variety of topics, from his family’s reaction and response to his BDD diagnosis to advice on what helped him manage and cope with his symptoms. Below are just a few highlights from the interview.
On what it was like trying to manage BDD symptoms: “I kind of thought — maybe it’s because I’m an artistic person — but there’s a video game I played as a kid… and I imagined myself in that context in this good versus evil battle, and that I was literally fighting this monster. Somehow, that brought me relief and clarify. I don’t know why, but maybe it’s because it’s so embedded in my childhood that it brought a surprising amount of clarity. It made it more manageable if I saw it through this perspective, as if I were a character in a game dealing with an actual monster. It’s funny because you wouldn’t think that would help, but I can say firsthand it really did, just making that connection.”
On what drove him to write the Huffington Post article and the response he’s gotten: “I genuinely care what people think about me a lot, as much as anybody, but in this particular instance, I just didn’t. Ninety-eight percent of what people have said are positive things or that they knew someone with it… that’s really what I hear the most is, Oh, I didn’t even know about this” or, “I struggle with this or know someone [who does]…. That’s like mission accomplished for me because that was really the point of it. I was so isolated and so unaware and ignorant to what was going on and what the implications of everything that was happening and I was doing were that I was just going down a miserable path, but it made sense to me in my head.”
When asked for advice on how to recover and overcome BDD: Awareness helps. If people with BDD have representation in the media, and not just in this jokey “oh look, this Kardashian got more plastic surgery” way, but in a serious way, maybe that would help a lot…. Like I said, for both myself and my parents, it was completely new to us…. I would give advice that they do as much research as they can on the topic and get a most well-rounded idea and understanding of what they could possibly be dealing with.”
The full Shrink Tank interview is available here. Reid was interviewed after being named the inaugural recipient of Shrink Tank’s new Champion of Mental Health award, presented to “a celebrity who has made a great impact in reducing the stigma of mental health and who has created awareness for a condition we don’t talk enough about.”