Post Edited (marchello) : 2/25/2007 9:59:58 AM (GMT-7)
Have you seen a doctor about this, or is this the first time you've told anyone about your feelings? I don't have dysmorphic disorder, but I am a "recovered" anorexic, was anorexic for three and half years in my early teens, and was diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar a year ago. Self-hatred was HUGE for me, and still is. I go in spurts now, but the worst by far was when I was anorexic, and weighed myself obsessively, stared at myself in EVERY reflective surface, and would sometimes cry hysterically in dressing rooms. My moods and behaviors were COMPLETELY controlled by my weight, the way I looked, the way my clothes fit, what I had eaten that day, and so on. I've never felt comfortable in my own skin, and have spent/wasted many hours of my life distraught over it. You mention being obsessive with weighing yourself, and looking in the mirror, what do you think when you see yourself? Is it that you think you are fat, you think you are ugly, or you just feel worthless, or all of the above? I certainly wouldn't know exactly what it is you have, but you are CERTAINLY not alone. That is a horrible feeling though, especially when you feel like there's more important things you should be obsessing about, but I know it's not an easy thing to control, because the more you feel guilty about spending so much time thinking about it, the worse you feel. I'm sorry you feel this way. The good news is that it CAN get better. I could have wasted away from my anorexia, but today, I am in good physical health, and despite having many other issues, I have gotten and am getting the help I need, and I have to say that body issues are now some of the least of my concerns. I don't feel perfect, but I also didn't know it was possible to ever feel this good about myself. (Good for me may be different than it is for some people, but I'm ok with that). I think it's so important not only to share it with your dr, but to also trust your instincts and make sure your dr understands it. There are some doctors out there who are excellent for helping with this sort of thing, and others who don't seem to have much understanding for it. Thankfully, you don't need to settle for one who doesn't know what it's like, because there are many who have dealt with it before. I think it's also so important to find someone you trust, a friend, or family member, who won't judge you, whom you can confide in and lean on for support. That is so crucial to getting better. I remember sometimes feeling like I didn't want to burden other people, and feeling like I wasn't worth talking about to other people, it was a really low place. But trusting someone to care for you and help you through this is just so important. Anyway, I hope this has been helpful to you. I'm sorry I'm so long-winded, I just sensed the urgency and sadness in your post and wanted you to know you weren't alone and that you can recover from this. It takes time, but you are worth it. And I bet other people don't see you anywhere near in the light that you see yourself. Please do take care, let us know how things go. I feel weird posting so much when I'm new to this board, but I sure do know how this feels. Take care,
I'm glad you're posting, even if you haven't gone to see someone yet. It takes a lot of courage and strength, and I know it can be discouraging if you don't find somebody good right away. As for your question about if you have dysmorphia, you mentioned that you do have anorexia, and having had it myself, I know that dysmorphia is one of the central features of it, where you look in the mirror and see something that, quite frankly no one else sees. Usually, you see all of your flaws magnified and thrown in your face, you think you're fat, you think you're ugly, you pick apart little things about yourself, but on such a huge scale that the end product is you seeing something that is sooo far from what other people see when they look at you. For me, it was thinking I was enormous when in fact I was skeletal. So I think dysmorphia is a big, glaring part of anorexia. I too had to have the scales taken away. For the first week, I cried and cried, it was like withdrawal. For my therapy, I had a dr who specialized in treatment of eating disorders, a psychiatrist, AND a dietitian who specialized in eating disorders. I had gone to other doctors and therapists who had no CLUE what it was like, and who in fact made it worse. One told me I wasn't really THAT skinny (I was 88 pounds), and why was I afraid to be fat anyway? If someone acts that way to you, they are not a good therapist, period, because they don't understand what you are going through. You say you hate talking about yourself. I know what that feels like too, because it took me YEARS to seek help for my bipolar, and only last year I began to see a therapist. Even now, I feel so much shame when I talk about myself, and cringe at the thought of being judged, and so I get a HORRIBLE red body rash that sometimes covers my neck and my face while I'm talking. I used to get it too while I was at work, while out and talking to people, it was a result of PANICKING that they were judging me. Believe it or not, I no longer worry so much about them judging my body, that used to be the case, later on, it switched to worrying about them judging my intelligence, and the way my face looks. Paranoid thoughts about what people must be thinking about me, even when it came to my good friends. I even once got the rash when talking to my parents because I was talking about my depression. I guess I just felt such self-hatred and shame that I was felt that any time I talked to someone about my feelings of depression or fear, or let myself be vulnerable that they too would begin to think, "Wow, no wonder she hates herself. I hate her too!" It's so weird to explain, but sounds like you have it too. One thing that helped TREMENDOUSLY was medication, but it took me years to resort to that. It does take a lot of courage to talk to someone about yourself when you hate yourself. You feel like no one will understand, no one wants to hear it, no one cares, you're probably just making a big deal out of it anyway, and that other people have worse problems. But the fact of the matter is, I can tell that you recognize your feelings, and a lot of people do not! I think the first step to getting better, and the HARDEST is facing your problems, and admitting them. Especially aloud. It's like, even if you're paying a therapist to so-called "judge" you and help you, that's like the final call of you putting yourself out there in front of somebody, and calling attention to what you despise about yourself, and what you feel ashamed about. But I can tell you, that after sitting in session after session of talking about my pain, with big, giant burning rashes on myself from the social anxiety, crazy as it sounds, it's been worth it. Ive found therapists that are so understanding, and have finally been able to move past a lot of that. You can too. I have faith that you'll get the courage to find someone, and like I said, it's important to have a friend or someone there with you, who could take you to appointments, who could talk to you, perhaps your fiance? Or do you feel like your fiance is overwhelmed? Having a friend to help you through the process of facing doctors and the outside world will take the sharp edge off of it and be a huge help to preventing you from giving up. In terms of the eating disorder, a DIETITIAN was actually far more helpful to me than the psychiatrist I was seeing. She was the first person I felt didn't sit and stare and judge me. She was warm, and friendly, and understood me. If you try to find one in your area that specializes in nutrition, they can often give you practical advice along with understanding so you don't fall flat when you're at home, once again facing the horrible feelings. When I began eating normally again, a lot of the dysmorphia went away. That takes a while, but if you gain weight at some point, you'll find the dysmorphia becomes a little better. And you get some relief from those habits of staring into the mirror. At the time you feel like it makes you feel better, but it is really just a big burden that chains you down. Eating disorders seem like your friend, that's why they're impossible to fight alone. Anyway, I hope I don't sound preachy, because I'm far from judgmental. I'm just so happy you're posting with this and want so much for you to pursue treatment because you are a very valuable person. Even if you don't pursue treatment right away, it's great that you are posting, because other people really DO care. I am finishing my master's to become a dietitian hoping to specialize in the treatment of eating disorders as we speak. I don't know if I'll be any good, but I care deeply, and I know there are a lot of people and organizations out there that do. It's also really helpful to find a group of people who have had and recovered from these things. It helps curb the feelings of isolation. I wish you ALL the best, and keep posting. Again, sorry for being so long-winded. I hope I'm not scaring you off with my verbosity, I just know how this feels, its like I see myself in your posts and I just want to reach out to you because I know how it feels, and I also know that there IS hope, something I did not feel at all when I was deeply in it. Keep posting and have a great night.