Chris Trondsen reflects on the negative impact Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) had on his high school and college years.
Have you ever looked in a mirror and become fixated on a pimple or a scar or other flaw on your skin? Or been suddenly consumed by the idea that your nose looks weird? Now, imagine that this is all you saw every time you looked in the mirror. Imagine feeling convinced that these flaws were the only things other people saw when they looked at you. With all of this leading to feelings of shame, self-hatred, and overly-critical thoughts about your appearance. And when these thoughts and feelings become time consuming and begin to take over your daily life — this is body dysmorphic disorder.
There are many different ways in which BDD may get in the way of your life. In school, sometimes it might be difficult to pay attention because you are so concerned with your appearance. Also, it can be difficult to get to class on time if your dressing and self care routines are taking a long time in the morning. It can be hard to keep up your grades when all you can think about is whether or not your friend can see the pimples on your chin. In more extreme cases, individuals with BDD are unable to attend school at all. For more information about how BDD can interfere with school click here.
BDD might also interfere with your relationships and spending time with friends. Many teens and young adults with BDD have trouble going out with friends because they are convinced that they’ll have a terrible time, and no one would want to talk with them. You may also find yourself arguing with your parents and friends about how you look. Even if they reassure you that you look fine or even “beautiful,” it can be hard to believe that they aren’t just saying these things to make you feel better. For more information about how BDD can interfere with your relationships click here.
Another area that BDD can get in the way is with work. For example, you may be avoiding work and your job duties altogether because you are so worried about what your boss and coworkers think of your appearance. Time consuming rituals associated with BDD can interfere with your daily life at work, causing you to be late for your job, ignore promotion opportunities, and feel isolated from your coworkers. For more about how BDD can interfere with your work and career, click here.