“You have some pretty severe delusional thoughts.”
I shifted in my seat. No one has ever said that to me. Maybe, I thought. I’m pretty sure I know what I’m talking about. This new counselor doesn’t even know me.
Then again, having delusional thoughts is a major characterization of BDD. I’m about 90% convinced that my weight gain is super noticeable and makes me way less attractive and desirable, and that other people take notice and don’t want to socialize with me. I’ve convinced myself well over my life that having “extra weight” on my body is a pretty big deal. It is taking a lot for me to do the social events this week that I put on my calendar. But my counselor was adamant that I should do my best to socialize and be with people, and to make sure to continue dancing, in order to lessen my anxiety. It’s part of exposure therapy.
I’m still convinced that if “I just lost 5 pounds” that I’ll feel better and that “all of my problems would be solved.” That self-talk is constant. Even though I also know somewhere in my brain that even when I weigh a little less and have a slightly different shape, I am still hyper-vigilant, stressed out, and insecure about my body.
Never has my low self esteem and confidence been so apparent to me. Never have I felt as raw as I have been the past couple of weeks.
Documenting my thought processes and behaviors related to my body over the past week and a half has brought everything to the surface, revealing how extreme my body image stuff is. I’m also now more aware that this BDD thing has been my root issue for a long time, and that it just becomes worse when I experience other life stressors. The past few months have exacerbated my BDD, and I am at least grateful I have the chance now to work on it more systematically. In addition to my new counselor, I am trying acupuncture. I went last weekend, and have felt remarkably better since. I’m looking forward to my next appointment. I was impressed with the difference in how my body physically felt afterwards, and how long it has lasted.
I’ve also experienced how difficult it is to talk about it with other people. Besides my new counselor and J, I don’t feel like I have many people (if anyone) I can talk to about it. No one yet really gets it, as far as I am concerned. My best friend from high school gave me the classic “But you’re so beautiful! I just don’t get it!” talk (after I explained some more about BDD she understood a little better). I feel so stressed out thinking that there are people who will notice I’ve gained weight. I can get myself to the place of thinking that I’ve gained so little weight that no one will notice, but to think that people will notice makes me feel nuts.
“You’re a beautiful woman. I wish you had more confidence in yourself.”
I’ve never had a counselor say that to me either. I almost cried.