When You LOATHE the Person in the Mirror

We all have bad hair days. We also are aware of our physical flaws, but most of us are able to accept them without obsessing or becoming paralyzed by them. If you know someone who has become depressed and is excessively preoccupied with his or her appearance, consider the following information regarding body dysmorphic disorder.

When individuals suffer from BDD, their triggers, obsessions, and compulsions form a cycle similar to the OCD cycle. For instance, waking up and getting ready for the day was a trigger for Aaron. He had to look in the mirror and notice his perceived imperfection. He’d evaluate his hair with thoughts such as: “My hair looks terrible. My friends will think less of me. I can’t make my hair look decent.”

In order to reduce his shame, anxiety, and disgust, he would respond with repetitive behaviors such as combing, brushing, and spraying his hair. He would wear hats or beanies when he felt exhausted. The relief he found with his rituals, avoidance, and reassurance-seeking behaviors were only temporary.

Individuals who suffer from BDD most likely will experience symptoms of depression such as social isolation, low motivation, poor concentration, sleeping difficulties, and significant changes in appetite. They may experience feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, and hopelessness. They may have poor self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, and may have lost interest in activities they used to enjoy.

BDD sufferers obsess about one or more perceived defects in their physical appearance. Friends and family often don’t understand the sufferers’ torment and can’t see the flaws. One difference between OCD and BDD sufferers is that most individuals being challenged by OCD have insights about their obsessions and realize how irrational their thoughts may be. On the other hand, those struggling with BDD may experience little or no insight about their appearance, beliefs, and behaviors.

No matter who they ask and what treatments they use or undertake (e.g. cosmetic products, cosmetic and surgical procedures, dental, dermatological treatment), those with BDD are never satisfied. Their perceived defect continues to plague them. They feel depressed and may experience anxiety, among other feelings. However, a prevalent feeling with BDD is a feeling of disgust. They hate and loathe their appearance. They also feel ashamed of their perceived blemish.

BDD sufferers experience thinking errors that worsen their state of mind. For example, mind reading is a common thinking error in BDD. Individuals believe that others are going to react negatively to their perceived defect. This is one of the reasons they spend excessive time trying to “fix” the defect or become isolated.

What can you do to help your loved one?

  • Remember that this is not a vanity issue, even though it appears to be. Individuals suffering with BDD feel ashamed. Their friends tell them they are vain and shallow, but they are not able to stop obsessing. Body dysmorphic disorder is as real as depression, OCD, anxiety, and other mental and biological disorders.
  • Keep in mind that when people experience a mental illness, they may appear selfish. Quite often parents complain about their children who suffer from BDD being focused on themselves, and that they don’t engage in family activities. Encourage them to participate and find ways to get them involved and decrease their isolation. Remember to show unconditional love and let them talk about their struggles and experience with BDD. Be patient and supportive. Maintain a positive and close relationship with them. They need you.
  • Don’t forget that individuals with BDD have poor insight regarding their perceived deformity. Don’t try to talk them out of it. No matter what you say, they won’t feel satisfied with your answer. They may repeatedly ask you questions to feel better about themselves. Reassurance-seeking is a compulsion that doesn’t get them anywhere. Acknowledge and validate their need for reassurance, but don’t become part of their BDD rituals.
  • Educate yourself and understand the symptoms. BDD can become a debilitating illness. If possible, share pertinent information with them. Don’t lecture or push them to do things. Help them consider the benefits of medication. Patiently encourage them to take small steps toward change and receive professional help. Prevailing Myths

Though it’s received some media attention, many have difficulty grasping BDD and misconceptions remain. In fact, even health professionals and physicians largely overlook BDD.

Several myths regarding body dysmorphic disorder continue to circulate: 

  • It’s not a real disorder. “Many fail to understand that BDD is a real psychiatric condition,” viewing it “as vanity, narcissism or being overly self-involved, and, as a result, don’t take it seriously.”
  • It’s rare. Though many think BDD is an uncommon condition, “community and clinical settings have suggested BDD affects about 0.7 percent to 3 percent of the population,” Greenberg said. Research in medical settings suggests even higher rates, she said.
  • It occurs only in the extreme. BDD isn’t always a case of cat woman or Michael Jackson — quintessential cases often sensationalized in the media. Instead, a person might obsess over one birthmark or a skin discoloration on one area of the body, said Los Angeles clinical psychologist Sari Shepphird, Ph.D, who regularly works with BDD clients. “It might seem minute to someone who isn’t suffering, but the obsessiveness and torment can be extreme,” she said.
  • It occurs only in women. We tend to associate body image issues with women, but BDD occurs equally in both sexes. 

Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

All of us in some way are dissatisfied with our looks, especially in today’s appearance-crazed society. So what makes BDD all that different? Two things, according to Shepphird: intensity and impairment. 

  • Intensity. On average, individuals with BDD spend three to eight hours a day thinking about their deformity (Phillips, 2006), which typically involves the face and head, including acne, ear size, nose, teeth, hair and overall appearance, though it can be directed toward any body part. BDD sufferers wholeheartedly believe that others can’t help but stare at their hideous defects and judge them.
  • Impairment. Because of their intense thoughts and severe anxiety, BDD patients avoid social activities, school and work. This impairment leads to a poor quality of life — poorer than the general population, individuals with depression and those with recent heart disease, Greenberg said. They’re also at greater risk for psychiatric hospitalization and suicide, she said. 

Easing Anxiety

Individuals with body dysmorphic disorder use various ways to alleviate their appearance-based anxiety. They may:

  • Request reassurance. “Does this seem big to you? Doesn’t it bother you?” By asking such questions, they regularly seek reassurance from others or discuss their area of concern, Shepphird said.
  • Use camouflage. They’ll often try to cover up their concerns with cosmetics, clothing, dark glasses, hats and other items.
  • Undergo cosmetic surgery. Instead of seeking mental health services, many BDD patients reach out to dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons, because sufferers believe fixing their flaws will fix their lives. According to one study, 77 percent sought cosmetic surgery and about 50 percent sought dermatological treatments, Shepphird said.
  • In desperation, some patients will play doctor. In his study, Veale (2000) described several DIY cases: one man used sandpaper to lighten his skin and eliminate scars; another used a staple gun on his face to tighten loose skin; a woman, who wanted liposuction, cut her thighs with a knife and tried to squeeze the fat out. 

  • Repairing the deformity rarely relieves anxiety, however. In fact, anywhere from 76 to 83 percent don’t see changes in symptoms, Shepphird said. Others feel worse and regret the procedure. “More often individuals may subsequently blame themselves for having had a procedure they feel made them ‘look worse than before,’” Greenberg said. Some patients might obsess over a new area. In severe cases, BDD patients “have committed suicide and threatened harm against or acted violently toward the treating physician,” Greenberg said.

  • Compulsively exercise. Many BDD sufferers exercise excessively — common in muscle dysmorphia, a subtype of BDD, that affects mostly males. Because of an intense obsession with muscle shape and size, these individuals spend hours exercising, weightlifting, dieting and using steroids or supplements.
  • Engage in other behaviors. BDD sufferers might also compare their concerns with the same area on others; check their reflection in mirrors or windows; tan excessively; pick at skin, which can lead to scarring and, in severe cases, life-threatening wounds. 
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I’m Not Afraid of Going To Hell. I Already Live There

I have somewhat of a conundrum. I realize that by blogging my personal opinions, day to day life problems and sharing so much of myself that I’m potentially inviting debate and/or criticism.

Debate me all day long, just come at me with your own opinion the right way and I’ll respectfully listen and eventually we might just agree to disagree. Politely.

I have neither the temperament nor the restraint to be “told about myself” in what I deem as an aggressive manner. As a matter of fact it is one of my MAIN BPD triggers.

I know many of you that follow me know that I’m quirky, self deprecating and can find some sort of obscene humor in just about any given situation. Many of you know the funny, tough, cursing, genuine, giant hearted traits that make me…well me. You laugh with me and give me words of support and encouragement when I need them the most.

I know EXACTLY who I am….I don’t need to be “told” who I am or how I should feel. I battle the rage, insecurity and worthlessness of Borderline Personality Disorder every second of every day. The BPD also brings a much darker, much more cruel aspect of my personality front and center when I’m going through a rough patch, or when I feel overwhelmed by life as I currently do.

To those of you who love me and/or read my blog because I’m sincere, raw and absolutely real, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Your comments, advice and encouragement keep me grinding. Even on the days I can barely drag myself into an upright position. Y’all are my family. Perhaps not by blood, but more importantly by choice.

For those who read a blog post or two and think they KNOW me and have the the audacity to tell me why and how I should change, to you I say the biggest and most heartfelt FUCK YOU and the horse you rode in on.

One doesn’t KNOW me by reading a couple of posts or even by comments on other bloggers posts whom I follow. My advice to you fucking fuckfaces that do not like what I have to say or how I say it and just can not help but direct a snide shitty comment my way, is quite simple. Keep scrolling and keep your dicksucker shut. When you get done scrolling, judging and commenting about me or my life, might I suggest taking your keyboard and shoving it straight up your ass. Sideways (just in case you decide to be a cowardly keyboard warrior to someone else) at least it will be in the correct position to type.

If one continues to want to verbally spar with me in an assholey way, I’m sorry. I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an UNARMED person. That just leaves me with one option. Violence. Something I’m VERY familiar with.

You see if I’m backed into a corner to the point of having to respond with violence, rest assured I’ll bury my foot so far up your ass, you’ll need a root canal to have it removed.

To the rest of my beloved blogging family, happy Monday, Y’all♥️

The Art of Swearing

I remember being a young girl. Probably eleven or twelve years old when I urgently had to use the facilities at K-Mart as soon as mom had herded my brother, sister and I through the front doors. Back then there was no unisex bathroom where my mom, my sister, little brother and I could pile up into as I did my business because everyone knew what gender their fluid was back in those days. Being the eldest, mom decided to send me in alone as she and my sibs waited for me outside. As I hovered over the seat (no touching for me as I was a germophobe for as far back as I can remember) I noticed a word I had yet to read before. FUCK. It said other stuff too, it actually said for a GOOD FUCK call Lisa and there was a phone number. I hurriedly finished my business, got a fresh dry paper towel after washing my hands and copied what was written on the bathroom stall wall verbatim with my trusty red, blue and black clicker ink pen. I was on to something. This girl Lisa had a bunch of GOOD fucks, and since they were good and I didn’t think I owned any FUCKS AND we were at K-Mart, I decided to loudly proclaim my desire to have a GOOD FUCK from what I assumed was the toy department. All of the good stuff was in the toy department. Right?!? So I was convinced that was exactly where I could find the GOOD FUCKS at.

As I was not so quietly begging my mom for a whole bunch of GOOD FUCKS, she went white as freshly fallen snow, snatched her purse and my toddler sister out of the buggy and said “Let’s go. NOW!”

Neither my little brother nor eye could understand what the hell was going on as we sat in the back seat of mom’s station wagon staring at each other with wide eyes.

Once we got home mom sent my siblings into the backyard to play and tried to calmly explain to me that not only was that an ugly word…..it was the ugliest of words in the English language. Defensively I said “but those FUCKS were GOOD!!” So I got my mouth washed out with soap and grounded from going out to play with my neighborhood friends. In my tweenage rebellious mind I knew I had hit fucking paydirt. As soon as dad got home I got another lecture and a minor ass whipping (by minor I mean no belt was involved). By the time my punishment was up I was positively brimming with questions for my friends, two of which happened to be a couple of years older and boys. They told me ALL about those fucks and why I got my ass beat over giving one. From that day forward I have consciously incorporated that and a plethora of other equally shocking words into my vocabulary.

So that is the way my profanity story began, the rest is history, and I’m still wondering what poor ole Lisa did with all of those GOOD FUCKS she gave😂

Balance: The Yin and Yang of My Life

Yin and yang is a concept of dualism in ancient Chinese philosophy, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

I’ve suffered in my life. Oh, how I’ve suffered. There was a time that I allowed myself to be buried so deeply in my own tragedy that all I knew was suffering.

One morning I woke up and said, “FUCK that”!! That was the day I took control of my own destiny. Yes, as adults, life tends to hand us a plethora of shit sandwiches. Instead of turning up our noses at said sandwiches, one needs to learn how to tie on an adult sized bib and dive right in to that bitch. Life gives us circumstances. Some are rich, some are poor. Some are happy, some are sad. Some are easy, some are hard. The only certainty is that life is only going to GIVE you back what you give to it.

I started being abused when I was four years old. Four. The lens of innocence that I viewed the world through was shattered into a million tiny splinters of the sharpest crystal.

Through poor self esteem and bad decisions due to the poor self esteem, I continually made poor choices throughout my adult life. I have been victimized in every way there is to victimize a person. My life was my misery and I wallowed in it.

Learning that you have a mental disorder is not on many people’s top ten list of best things that have ever happened to them, but alas I’m DIFFERENT. Being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder changed my life. For the better. All of the odd and different things about me finally had a name. A royal title if you will. I mean I’m quirky as fuck anyway, but add a double scoop with sprinkles of BPD on top of that and you’ve got one misfit, looney tunes mother fucker😊

I used to let my suffering and craziness define me. It took me coming to the cusp of completing losing myself to the darkness for me to finally shatter again, but this time shatter to a rebirth where I could see the bright, beautiful prisms of light that bounced off all of those broken splinters of my own heart. I OWN my suffering and craziness now. I run this koo-koo ass shitshow that is sometimes my life.

Although I have suffered, my blessings are great and many. I have learned never to judge. We never know what kind of internal war our fellow man is waging just below the surface. These days kindness and empathy just seem like words from days long past. It doesn’t have to be that way. I’m living proof of the balance in the great equation that we call life.

Although my heart has been broken time and time again, the greatest of loves was practically dropped in my lap. I personally think it’s because I GIVE so much love. It’s good for ones heart to spread love in these times of chaos and hate. It did come back around to balance all of my previous suffering and pain.

I had a small little nest egg that I took an uncharacteristic chance on by investing into a few risky high yield stocks, because I’ve always had a generous, charitable nature and have ALWAYS gone out of my way to help those less fortunate than myself (even during my darkest days) my gamble paid off for me and grew my nest egg exponentially.

The common denominator is balance. I, as a practicing Buddhist try to incorporate balance in every aspect of my life. From how I live my life to how I arrange my furniture. If you feel like you are in a rut. Do something. Anything. Get those wheels spinning again, because I know for a fact that “It can’t rain all the time.” (The Crow, 1994).

I ♥️ My 500 Followers

I started my blog eighteen months ago to try to deal with my Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis. I was at the time only hoping to connect with others with my condition so I could possibly get insight and advice on how to cope with the dramatic highs and lows of BPD. Little did I know what a life altering journey my blog would take me on.

I have made so many dear lifelong friends from all over the globe. I have found unconditional love and support from the unlikeliest of places. I have laughed, cried, ranted and raved with all of you and I wouldn’t change one single second of it!

You all have become my giant loving supportive family and I am so very grateful to have each and every one of you in my WP family. Thank you for 500 Follows. Here’s to many more years of our profanity laden (me), happy, sad, exciting, crazy journey♥️♥️

🙏🏼Namaste Y’all🙏🏼

Sweet Dreams

Insomnia. It’s such an awful bitch. Nights are the absolute worst. Dark and endless. I’ve always hated nights. Bad things happen in the dark. I am saying so from personal experience. I crave sleep like someone who is lost in the desert craves water. They eventually hallucinate and see beautiful mirages consisting of glistening pools of water. I hallucinate deep, dreamless sleep. It’s bad enough that during the daylight hours my mind is in constant turmoil. The night only increases the battle within to a fever pitch. Occasionally I doze fitfully only to have vivid, violent nightmares of other dark nights long past. The abominations perpetrated upon my person flicker rapidly across the back of my eyelids like a horror movie on fast forward. Although I am at the cusp of the shadow lands, I can feel my body writhe and my breathe quicken as the shadow serpent starts coiling itself around my body as I look into its cold dead eyes and watch its forked tongue touching my skin like an evil whisper I suddenly realize I can hear it. Over and over again it names every sin I’ve ever committed. I shudder as I feel the BPD Monster come out to join the macabre party and wrestle with the Serpent of sins past.

As the serpent continually repeats each sin it’s voice gets louder. Not to be outdone, the BPD Monster starts a litany of all of the sins committed against me. It has to scream to be heard over the Serpent who in turn gets louder to be heard over the Monster until it becomes a shrieking cacophony that eventually turns into a silent scream that my dozing body can’t lend a voice to. I’m frozen in terror. I gasp as I feel the Monster start to rage and the Serpent tighten its coils. Mercifully the gasp startles me awake. I bolt upright in my bed drenched in sweat and my heart galloping in my chest. “Another fucking nightmare”, I whisper to myself for reassurance. Truth be told I did it to make sure I was really awake. Really alive.

Waging this internal battle day and night is exhausting. Most days it manifests itself into excruciating physical pain. What a loathsome life to NEVER have a moments peace. One can not say that I have not tried to do something about this internal conflict. I religiously go to therapy and take my psychiatric medications, I paint, write, continuously clean and organize. I’ve tried acupuncture. I do guided meditations several times a day. Absolutely nothing has worked to block the horrific memories. At this point I don’t think anything short of a lobotomy, a psychiatric ward or death will stop them. They have become as much a part of me as my own body and the organs that keep me in the land of the living. If I thought amputating a limb would work I would saw that fucking limb off with a dull handsaw myself. Alas this is only wishful thinking. My eyes are red and gritty. My jaw has been clenched all night which has given me colossal headache. I toss back four Tylenol’s like they are Tic Tac candies. I listlessly flip through the channels and realize that not even the news is on anymore. Only endless infomercials hawking their shitty wares. Everyone is so happy and energetic. I realize that I envy these anonymous people. In my mind they all sleep just fine. No nightmares for these exultant people. I don’t wish to trade places with them though. Not even for a second. I wouldn’t wish my walking wounded crazy mind on my worst enemy much less some gleeful strangers. So as usual, I will fight the good fight for another short day and another long night. I tell myself, “I am Sparta”, like an encouraging mantra.

At last the sun is slowly ascending the sky. I am finally able to unclench my jaw and reach for the eye drops that have taken up permanent residence on my night stand. Tonight was by far not my first rodeo. As I stand I hear every joint in my body screech in protest as they crackle and pop. I have a moment of vertigo that insists that I sit back down. I know exactly how this day is going to go by the way it has started.

Moral of this story?

The early bird does not get “the worm”. The early bird does not get shit except a lot less sleep than everyone else.

Sweet Dreams.