"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.