agoraphobia and body dysmorphia

Flameheart

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#1
is anyone else's agoraphobia linked to body dysmorphia?

ever since i was probably around 11 or 12, if I look in the mirror and don't like what I see, it will make me too anxious to leave the house, if I have no choice to go out I will be obsessing over every aspect of what I look like and thinking everyone is judging me

I find myself not enjoying things to the fullest because of this and I also get panic attacks in crowded places

it's gotten to the point where I'm not sure if I really am ugly or if it's psychological

no one has straight up told me I'm ugly, but also no one has told me I'm beautiful

I seem to only get complimented if I tell someone I think I'm ugly and they'll say I'm either "cute" or "pretty" but does it even count if they are just saying those things out of pity?

I don't know what to do or where to start with how to recover from this
 
calypso

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#2
I don't think most people go around mentioning how another person looks so I wouldn't read too much into that. I used to look in the mirror and not recognise who looked back at me. I am 63 this year and its upsetting at times to think of how I look now.

I don't have these problems you describe as I know that most people are too wrapped up in their own worlds to even notice me. It must be hell for you at times. My sympathies.
 
Topcat

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#3
I used to get very stressed about going out and would change my clothes a bunch of times getting upset and angry, wish I had a bag on my head, constantly be touching my hair or my face when out.
I don't know what helps for sure. Age I think has helped me, got into my 30's and I just didn't give as much of a shit. I celebrated not detesting my nose on a daily basis by getting a nose piercing last year. I wanted one years ago but was afraid of bringing attention to a part of me I hated.

I just learnt to accept that (to me) I was ugly and train myself to think fuck it, so what. People could tell me I'm not ugly, and my nose wasn't big and ugly, but I wouldn't believe them. I found compliments very uncomfortable to accept and would automatically insult myself really. So have also had to train myself to just smile and say thank you, it doesn't matter if I don't believe it - somebody else does.

I still have triggers which set me off. Yesterday I felt disgusting, I think because I had been clothes shopping the day before so had looked in the mirror a lot, then cut my own hair, so some insecurity about that (it doesn't look great, so having to say to myself it'll grow, and it's not like I have to look at it, and do I really care?) And if husband face times me I've learnt to tilt the camera away so I don't have to see myself because that is also a trigger. But it's gotten a lot better with time and age. They say CBT is good for BDD, I suppose because you have to question your thoughts and try to change them to something less anxiety based. You could maybe seek self referral to therapy?

I hope you find something that can help, it really is a crappy thing to deal with, and I don't think I was affected that badly compared to some (also am not diagnosed, but realised I ticked lots of the boxes).
Take care x
 
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#4
yes I get the constantly fixing yourself thing too, I mainly do it with my hair, if it isn't exactly where I want it to be I get paranoid, windy days are my nightmare

there are times I think I look pretty, then I make the decision to look at myself in a different lighting or when I'm already out and it brings my mood back down and anxiety back up

there isn't really anything in particular about my face or body that I hate, my features I suppose are 'normal', yet i still believe I'm ugly, so I don't know why I'm like this, if I go to a therapist I'll probably be wasting their time with my first world issues

I've also noticed I see myself as different versions which I don't know if that's normal
 
Topcat

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#5
I noticed that I see myself differently at different times, I don't know if that's what you mean. For example one day I saw my reflection in a window when I was in my garden sunbathing and thought my body looked nice and I liked the size and shape. But a few days later in the same window I thought I looked horribly skinny, and that was after a couple of days of eating more than usual (I struggle with undiagnosed eating disorder too) so logically I would've thought that I looked fat not thin, so that didn't make sense! Yesterday I felt like skin stretched over bones, and hideous really. Today, not so much. Avoiding mirrors helps, but probably isn't helpful, I dunno!
I don't know why I have always believed I'm ugly either, nobody to my knowledge has ever called me ugly, and I can only remember a few throw away comments on appearance (like my unibrow before I discovered tweezers, lol). But I remember trying to reshape my nose when I was 8yrs old by squashing it against a window for ages. Weird I know!
I thought about a nose job, but I know it would just make me focus on something else and I still wouldn't be happy. Plus I had kids quite young, and I thought if they grew up with my nose and knew I hated mine enough to operate, they might get a hang up about theirs. So I never did it.
 
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yeah it's kind of like that, I mostly use one mirror in the house every morning and the results can be vastly different on how I feel and see myself that day, but its also placed away from natural lighting, so there's times I double check to see if I look okay and I use a small hand mirror in front of a window and then think, this isn't what I saw in the other mirror, what is the truth? so maybe you're right, i probably should stop over examining myself or looking in mirrors in general because they don't seem that reliable anyway!

I remember wanting my eyes to look bigger so I'd look up eye exercises that i never kept up with long term and I had weird eyebrows at 13 or 14, they were really faded so it looked like i had a unibrow as well and i went through the drawing on and tweezing phase, but they ended up growing out nicely so I leave them alone now

I'm sorry you struggle with your eating, I did as well a few years ago, it was accidental though, i fell very sick and lost a lot of weight because i couldn't eat much, then sort of got addicted to the losing weight aspect of it which wasn't good considering I was already skinny

so I guess all this confirms that it is mostly psychological
 

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