Great anxiety over appearance all the time, mentally exhausting.

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Sawyer9

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2019
Messages
5
Location
UK
#1
Hi. Bit of a long post, but please bare with.

There's a good chance I have body dysmorphic disorder (Not self-diagnosed as such, long story). I'm going to be referred to a psychiatrist soon for a diagnosis and treatment, but I wanted to reach out before then as well. I used to be normal in terms of anxiety, confidence, stuff like that, on the same level as an average person, I imagine.

So, yeah, BDD. I'll describe it below, but I want people to know, it doesn't mean I'm vain, or self-obsessed or in love with myself. BDD often compels people to think what I'm about to describe, and it's a terrible thing that makes you think like this.

Most of the time, I feel ugly, on a level that it's always on my mind. I rarely tell anyone this for fear of being labelled an attention seeker or anything, I don't want people to think that. I genuinely am not trying to be arrogant by saying this, I'm just saying, quite a few times, people have told me I'm good looking, that I'm a 'pretty boy', handsome, stuff like that. They've been saying these things to me for years, but I can never absorb it entirely, because I feel ugly, so often. What I see in the mirror, other people must be seeing something else, because to me, I think I'm ugly quite alot of the time.

It distresses the hell out of me and completely ruins my mood quite alot. In the past, I used to avoid social situations because of it. While I've learned different ways of coping with it to some extent, it still plagues me. Everywhere I go, I usually feel like my eyes and face are unattractive and that everyone can notice this ugliness. I worry that the anxiety of this is impacting on my eyes, as when the odd occasion happens that my anxiety about this is low, I've looked in the mirror and my eyes look good, to me. If I'm freaking out about my appearance, or thinking I'm ugly, the mirror will confirm this, and it's like there's a difference.

If I go out in any social situation with uni friends or family, or anyone, I won't tell anyone about it usually, but bubbling under the surface is that insecurity. I think to myself that any girl that I'd be interested in won't be interested in me because I'm not attractive enough for her. I refrain from starting a conversation with a girl I think looks nice because of that, sometimes.

This, in turn, impacts my confidence. On the occasion that I do talk to someone that I like, I try to appear confident, but I often (from what I imagine) must appear kind of constipated or something. I can hold a conversation easily, at least for the first ten minutes or so. But still, I keep thinking that I must appear anxious to them. I'm mentally telling myself "Come on, be more confident. Do this better. Say it in a way that makes you seem self-assured." but me mentally telling myself that never really improves my confidence. All this on top of my obsession over my appearance.

My thoughts will also try to reinforce all this. If someone's told me I look good or that I'm attractive, about ten minutes later, or however long later, I'll have a thought that's like "No, I'm not attractive. I remember looking in the mirror earlier, or a few weeks ago, and I was ugly. The compliment I've just been given is invalid and wrong." Then, my mood will go down and I'll repeat the cycle. Or I'll compare myself to someone that is attractive and be like "I don't look like that person. I'm ugly."

I've been told these thoughts are self-destructive behaviour (I saw a private counsellor briefly recently, but I left as they were being far too slow with any kind of help while taking my money).

What advice would you give? If people are telling me that I am attractive, should I just believe them and stop freaking out, despite what a mirror supposedly shows me?

Sorry for how long the post was, I had to vent it, thanks for reading. I'd just like any advice in addition to the therapy I'll hopefully have soon. Thanks to all.
 
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Helen1960

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2018
Messages
139
Location
Scotland
#2
Hi
If people tell you you're attractive well yes believe them. I'm sure you are and if someone says you are it's because that's what they see in you.

I think you're still very young and although life doesn't get easy we often relax more about things as we get older.

If this post isn't too helpful sorry. My head isn't great just now.

Helen
 
S

Sawyer9

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2019
Messages
5
Location
UK
#3
Hi
If people tell you you're attractive well yes believe them. I'm sure you are and if someone says you are it's because that's what they see in you.

I think you're still very young and although life doesn't get easy we often relax more about things as we get older.

If this post isn't too helpful sorry. My head isn't great just now.

Helen
Maybe. I just keep seeing different in the mirror. I'm twenty six as well, it's ruining my life.

Ah, bless you. Sorry my reply wasn't sooner.
 
E

EstherRose94

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
886
Location
USA
#5
I think you deserve a day of self-care/ self-pampering. ☺️

I’m sure you’re not ugly. All that matters is on the inside anyway. For real even though it’s cliche.

It’s okay to be shy and nervous when talking to girls. I’d personally find it cute.
 
J

JamesUniversal

Member
Joined
May 20, 2019
Messages
17
Location
St Helens
#6
I have this too but I genuinely do have problems e.g. A broken nose that other people do not notice but I do!

I think a key is to let go of perfectionism, you're just a human who's not perfect looking and if you look at everyone so are they. Think of good parts of your appearance (and personality) and block out the bad.

Stop checking the mirror/photos of yourself. I know for me, I kept on taking selfies until I looked right!

If you keep thinking about the way that you look force yourself to stop thinking about it immediately, do not indulge in the mental thoughts, because honking about your leads to more thinking about them and so on. I have OCD so this tactic works for that too.
 
J

JamesUniversal

Member
Joined
May 20, 2019
Messages
17
Location
St Helens
#7
I have this too but I genuinely do have problems e.g. A broken nose that other people do not notice but I do!

I think a key is to let go of perfectionism, you're just a human who's not perfect looking and if you look at everyone so are they. Think of good parts of your appearance (and personality) and block out the bad.

Stop continually checking the mirror/photos of yourself. I know for me, I kept on taking selfies until I looked right!

If you keep thinking about the way that you look force yourself to stop thinking about it immediately, do not indulge in the mental thoughts, because honking about your leads to more thinking about them and so on. I have OCD so this tactic works for that too.

Mixing with people with a similar problem in there are support groups near you can help, you can all about things freely. There are medications (SSRIs) which help but their effect tends to wear off over time.

Lastly, lighten up and don't take yourself so seriously! His takes time and can be done. If I get caught up in my thoughts I sometimes say "who do you think you are a model?" or something similar. I can sometimes sigh at my insecurities sometimes and wonder why I place so much value on looks.
 
S

Sawyer9

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2019
Messages
5
Location
UK
#9
I think you deserve a day of self-care/ self-pampering. ☺️

I’m sure you’re not ugly. All that matters is on the inside anyway. For real even though it’s cliche.

It’s okay to be shy and nervous when talking to girls. I’d personally find it cute.
I wish it was that simple. At least I have an appointment now, to finally get it sorted out, hopefully.

I have this too but I genuinely do have problems e.g. A broken nose that other people do not notice but I do!

I think a key is to let go of perfectionism, you're just a human who's not perfect looking and if you look at everyone so are they. Think of good parts of your appearance (and personality) and block out the bad.

Stop continually checking the mirror/photos of yourself. I know for me, I kept on taking selfies until I looked right!

If you keep thinking about the way that you look force yourself to stop thinking about it immediately, do not indulge in the mental thoughts, because honking about your leads to more thinking about them and so on. I have OCD so this tactic works for that too.

Mixing with people with a similar problem in there are support groups near you can help, you can all about things freely. There are medications (SSRIs) which help but their effect tends to wear off over time.

Lastly, lighten up and don't take yourself so seriously! His takes time and can be done. If I get caught up in my thoughts I sometimes say "who do you think you are a model?" or something similar. I can sometimes sigh at my insecurities sometimes and wonder why I place so much value on looks.
Perfectionism is right. Even the slightest falling short of that makes me worry alot.
 
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