It’s like when someone is trying to help you parallel park and they are waving you back and you think “damn, that’s getting too close” and they are looking right at the space imploring you, begging you to “come on back!”. But you’re convinced you have no room and flip it into drive to go that 1 inch forward and back one inch, on and on…
Truth is, we have no idea how big our car is. We don’t know how it fills up a lane on the street or a parking space. We don’t know how much room we have when we turn or when we try to maneuver around someone. A friend of mind related a story about how his dad (a car salesman) taught him that when he got a new car he was to find a place where he could park the car in a road lane (safely) and see exactly how much of the lane the car took.
I tried this and was aghast. I have a skinny old truck and the damn thing was about half the size of the lane. What I had thought was a large sized vehicle was actually pretty tiny.
This scene is all too familiar, right? And you want to know something? This phenomena is exactly what my moderate case of Body Dysmorphia is like. It’s like thinking your driving an enormous car (my body) and trying to squeeze it into a very small, compact parking space (usually my clothes.)
Here’s a quick definition of Body Dysmorphia:
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is characterized by an excessive preoccupation with a real or imagined defect in one’s own physical appearance.
and this defect:
We imagine it (body issue) is often much worse than it is until it gets to the point where it is hard to feel comfortable mixing and even talking with other people without worrying about how we look.(1 Infrapsych)
Mine is my stomach and breasts. For a girl I have smallish breasts…but I’m a guy and it’s not okay in this day and age of perfect and TV. Everyday I battle my own dysmorphia which has been likened to a form of hallucination.
And it’s taken me most of my life just to admit it because heaven forbid a MAN would have any of these ‘girly’ problems. But guys do have it and at an ever increasing rate.
Recently I lost 20 pounds and two pants sizes. Doing this has been a mixed bag. While it is great and I am loving the way I look and feel, I am further plunged into confusion as my already twisted self-perception is turned on its ear and my true self-reflection becomes even more muddied.
What to do?
I have lots of mirrors in my apartment which I am forcing myself to stop and look full on at myself to help dispel my misconceptions. I am also going to a gym so i can see other men and what their bodies look like (without being accused of being gay.)
I am soliciting the perceptions of close friends on how they perceive me (turns out, most of them couldn’t even entertain the idea that I had ever been ‘big’.) I am also looking to a personal trainer to help me tone my body and get a fresh perspective on the truth.
I also have an excellent IBP therapist that is very effective in treating both mind and body. Together we are exploring my body perceptions and their relationship to my childhood and where these perception came from.
So really, if your gonna drive the thing around and show it off to the world, you really should understand and know exactly how big this ‘vehicle’ of yours really is 😉