My experience of body dysmorphia ... or mind dysmorphia?

Wasn’t sure what category to put this under. Given the high profile of mental well-being last week, particularly amongst men I was surprised to find no posts on here - on any related subject - I guess we still aren’t getting it!

They say the camera never lies… so it must be the mirror that lies then. The me in pictures and the me that shaves every day aren’t the same person. I hate the me in pictures and don’t like the me in the mirror much better, but for bizarrely different reasons.

I believed myself to always have been fat, yet I recently found a ‘heretic’ photo showing a skinny 13/14 year old claiming to be me. All future photos were ‘mysteriously’ destroyed, until one escaped clearly depicting me as spongebob square body. It too has mysteriously been destroyed.

So a man goes to his doctor… “Doctor I’ve got ear ache”. Doctor says “You’re overweight”.
So a man goes to his doctor… “Doctor my foot hurts”. Doctor says “You’re overweight”
Man - “so f’cking help me you not insignificantly larger than average yourself b’stard”

And he did. Immeasurably so much healthier now. Yet still the photo and the mirror vie for precedence.

The body has lost a third of it’s mass. I have a couple of Tees that make me look great, but beneath lies a body of saggy, wrinkly skin and this time I don’t think it’ll recover again.

I have gone from being ashamed to take off my shirt and show my fat to being ashamed to take off my shirt to show what remains.

Truth be told I reckon the dysmorphia is in my head (duh), in as much as I use it as an excuse for something else. Obviously this is only my perception and not necessarily applicable to others.

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Really brave if you to talk about it mate well done. I think loose skin is something a lot of us worry about when we are trying to lose weight. At the end of the day you should be proud of it, it’s like a battle scar showing what you’ve had to go through to get healthy.

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Cheers mate.

I think for me the real issue is I have always seen myself as ‘the fat bloke’ even when I wasn’t, so that person in the mirror can’t be me.

I also think that my self image of always being fat gave me something to hide behind, and my security blanket is now disappearing.

At 55 I’m not sure I’ll be able to change my ingrained perception of myself so maybe I just need to replace the lost pounds with gained confidence so that I don’t care so much about it.

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I agree with @JPLANT that it’s a good, brave topic to post. I have lost weight in the past and still never liked who I saw in the mirror, even when I was young and everything ''rebounded" back into place! 51 YO now and I still battle with not wanting to see my reflection. For me, I think it’s related to some childhood trauma, so that may not be applicable to you, but thanks for bringing up the topic. Nice to know I’m not alone in feeling like this. The joke at my house is that when someone takes a picture of me and I see it, I always say ‘there’s another shirt I have to burn’ bc I hate the way I look in the pic. At the worst, I would hang a towel over the bathroom mirror to avoid catching a glimpse of myself as I get ready. I will say it’s a bit better. I swim and even tho I have not lost any weight, I am able to walk around in just my suit, but of course, I am not seeing myself, so that may be why I can manage that.

Anyway, I could go on, but just know you are not alone in this, whatever the reasons for feeling this way.

Bryan

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Interesting topic and I hope somehow you can fight your demons and get through it happy, my friend.

For me, I still see myself as I was 14st ago. When I see my reflection, I’m still 35st and nothing’s changed, I’m still unhappy with what I see. It’s only when I see comparison pictures that I actually notice I’ve completely changed and I’m nowhere near where I used to be.

I’m fortunate enough not to hate my reflection but I still pick out things I don’t like in photos. I’m not worried about the loose skin I’ll be bound to have at the end of this, I’ll be getting surgery and that’s a done deal in my head. Had a very sheltered childhood so I haven’t got many scars to talk about, so it’ll be nice to have one at least! :joy:

I went to the swimming pool in the gym I recently joined which was a huge confidence boost. Currently in Bulgaria and I’ll go nowhere near the pool, preferring to keep myself covered up in public. I guess it’s different when you’re in the gym versus on holiday. One day I’ll get there.

Mental health really is an important topic that needs to be discussed by men (and women obviously). But men have a tendency to keep it masked, myself included, so it’s great that you’ve started something positive on here, mate.

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Thanks guys,

@bbats I so get where you are coming from. As for childhood traumas I have a few to choose from - taken into care the day I was born as ‘mother’ deemed unfit, first stay in hospital aged 2 (people say how can you remember what happened when you were 2 - trust me if it is traumatic enough you remember), misdiagnosed with epilepsy and treated with the barbaric, and unnecessary, Electro Convulsive Therapy… and that’s only the first 5 years :cry: You fight your way through it all, because what is the alternative (and yes, I have previously considered that too, but not for decades now). When it comes to photographs I always volunteer to take them, or try to stand at the back. Sounds like you are making progress though?

@atb88 Loving the new pic mate :slight_smile: I don’t know if you are a Dr Who fan, but they have a race called ‘the Sloveen’ (may have spelt that wrong, whatevs), basically huge monsters that can fit into small human ‘suits’. I kinda feel like that too. I have some proper nice clothes that make me look great… even I think so… but underneath I am still the blob I have always been. Clothes maketh the man. Interested to hear you are happy to swim at the gym, but not on holiday? My ‘logic’ is the exact opposite - try the new body out somewhere you’ll never go again,so if peeps stare ‘f-kum’, it’ll be over in a week. So much braver of you.

Happy to carry on this thread, and/or PM with anyone that wants to.

I am not sure I agree with the profile pic being historically re-allocated. Actually quite like the new me - but the me that originally posted was abhorant to me so would have preferred keeping context. Wowsers - I finally have a stomach. Who’da guessed!

I’m still extremely uncomfortable shirtless, even though I’m lean with visible abs… it’s an invisible one, but many of us have it mate

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Cheers my friend. I know if you find it difficult sometimes, then we still ALL have some way to go but if someone who has achieved as much you have still struggles then there is hope for the rest of us too (LOL)… apart from the protein what will help me to move forward mate?

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Great post mate

I feel the same. Iv always HATED how i look. I hide from cameras. I dont hav many pics from childhood so mebbes i was same back then.

I think iv always been overweight. I remember it getting brung up a fair bit when i was a kid. It didnt help tho, just made me feel more ashamed. I feel like my weight has had a massive effect on my confidence. Just feel like ppl judge me on it

I think theres been good sides 2 losing weight but it hasnt instantly changes how i feel bout myself. I worry abit that even when im at goal weight ill still not feel good about myself. I hope i do tho.

I agree about talking about mental health stuff. I been classed as havin mental health problems iv even been in hospital with it. I think them problems actually effected my weight. Partly cos meds what cause weightgain but obvs i was fat even before then. I dont think i was the worlds happiest kid. When ur a kid u cant rly turn 2 drink or drugs but u can turn 2 food so i reckon thats how come the problems started. Vicous cycle.
Thats what i need 2 get out of. Im 24 i need 2 get past that if i can

Hi @Biffa94 my friend.

I hope you are well. Apologies, I haven’t been on here for a few weeks - tried ‘digital detox’ :smile:

I remember our previous PM’s, and our similar histories… If there is anything I can do to help or you want to chat anytime PM me mate.

You have achieved so much already mate, especially by joining a community like this and working with others - back in ‘the olden days’ when I was your age google hadn’t even been invented. How quickly we move on.

I met a friend today that I hadn’t seen in almost 9 months, so I was 4 stone lighter than the last time we saw each other. It was raining (REALLY???) so I changed my T shirt … a number of points to raise -->

  1. I felt ‘ok’ taking my T off in front of someone else - progress!!
  2. He said I looked great - yet I still played it down, pointing out the still fat bits etc.
  3. I enjoyed telling him how many sizes I had dropped, but didn’t want to dwell on what was left!

This is so f’ck’tup. I should be enjoying my new found ‘lessfatness’, Yet I almost feel embarressed by it (because it isn’t really me??) WTF?