Saturday, April 08, 2006


"I think I have Body Dysmorphic Disorder," I said last night in bed. It followed a conversation in which I told Billy he was to not allow me to eat for the next three weeks, in preparation for our trip out of the country.

I learned the term in my psychology classes during my brief stint in college. I was intrigued by the way people who suffer from the disorder are so oblivious to the way they really look. "If you gave someone who has Body Dysmorphic Disorder a marker," said my Social Psych professor, "and had them stand in front of a mirror and trace their outline, they would outline their reflection inches larger than their reflection actually appears. They may even be too thin to be healthy, but they actually see their body as bigger than it is. They don't just think they're fat, they actually believe it enough to see it."

Sometimes I wonder if I'd do the same thing. If I outline my nude reflection in a mirror, would I add some inches to my hips, perhaps draw my waist a little wider than it actually is? But I'd never dare try it. Best not to know.

"Why do you think that?" Billy said, clearly annoyed that I have turned into yet another girl who has chosen to plod down the "I'm fat" road.

"Because if I had really gained as much weight as I think I have, none of my clothes would fit. And all of my pants are loose, not tight."

I'm terrified of losing control of my wits, on any level. It's one of my biggest fears in life. Because, to me, losing control of logic and reason equates to crazy. After I saw the movie The Sixth Sense, I was terrified of dead people. The night that I saw it, I drove home alone from the movie theater with my windows down and the lights on inside my car. Apparently, I thought ghosts were afraid of both cold air and interior lights in SUVs. When my fear got a little out of hand (when I rushed to my bedroom to try and fall sleep while my parents were still awake downstairs because, somehow, it made me less fearful), I decided it was time to put a stop to it. When I would get home at night and face the long, dark walk from my car to the front door of my house, I would fight my urge to run inside, instead walking slowly and deliberately, reminding myself with each step I took that nothing was going to happen to me. I reminded myself how far from logical my fear was, how ridiculous I was being. And before I knew it, I no longer had to sleep with the hall light on and the radio playing.

I always talk myself out of the craziness I feel creeping up on me. My mind, although emotional and sometimes creative, is rooted in logic. And, usually, I can convince myself out of any impending psychosis...

But I still declined a midnight snack.

I just wish I could see the woman he sees when he looks at me. He tells me I'm sexy and beautiful and perfect, and there are some days when I agree, but others that I just don't believe it. Not that he's lying, it's just that I don't feel gorgeous. In my mind, I could be just a little thinner, a bit more toned, a tad more shapely. I'm so critical of every curve, of my softness, that I begin to see them as flaws instead of attributes. And while I'm busy picking me apart, Billy's telling me how beautiful I am.

I should start listening to him instead of me.


Chip said...

I'm just a guy that came across your blog, and I thought I'd comment on this post.

I think that if you do have "BDD", you would probably have a lot of company. I'll bet my wife has it. She always thinks she is fat, and plays this game where she sees a ... um ... "bountiful" woman, and asks "do I look like that?"

I love this game, by the way. The comparison is always ridiculous and anyone other than her would know that. But, she actually views herself that way. I just don't get it.

I obviously only know your picture, and I read your "100 things about you" list (which makes you seem like a very interesting person, by the way). But, my advice would be that if your boyfriend is telling you that you are beautiful, then try to believe him and embrace it.

His opinion of how you look is almost certainly closer to how others percieve than your opinion is.

Just my 2 cents. I'll probably continue to check in.

Oh, I am completely with you on the punctuation and capitalization problem that people have...

Kat said...

I just saw your comment on Stephanie Klein's blog and I wanted to say thank you, because that is exactly what I am going through right now in the aftermath of a relationship with a very selfish man. So selfish, in fact, that he did not bother to break up with me but instead simply dropped off the face of the earth. After 2.5 years. RAD. Anyway, it sounds like you found someone who really gets you and appreciates what you're able to give, something the last guy clearly didn't do. And I love your writing style.

Popeye said...

See, THIS is what I miss by not keeping up with blogland. I'm sure you're lovely on a million different levels.