Perception VS Reality

I had my first (inevitable) body dysmorphia episode since my surgery the other day. Mentally navigating your way through drastically altering your body as a self-aware BDD sufferer is complex because you really need to reinforce realistic expectations in your mind, while also knowing that nothing about your self perception will ever truly be based in rationality.

My body is weird at the moment, partly because my brain sucks and partly because of the foam pads I have to wear under my compression suit that can temporarily leave lopsided indentations in my sides if I don’t quite put them in the right spot, and I flip flop back and forth between “fuck yes” and “what the hell” like a perpetual game of ping pong. The other day while getting ready to shower, I looked in the mirror and that mean old voice in my head started shrieking, “You look exactly the same as before. Nothing has changed, you’re still huge,” and naturally, I started panicking. Of course, rationally, I KNOW that’s not possible, I KNOW my body looks different now, but in the dark depths of dysmorphic thoughts nothing you know really matters. That voice takes control and all you can do is step away from the mirror and try to distract yourself with something else until it passes. It comes on at will with no distinguishable trigger, hitting you suddenly like a car crash and consuming every part of your being, then as fast as it comes it can vanish just as quickly.

The thing you have to be really fucking conscious of when choosing to undergo a procedure like this is that no amount of cosmetic alteration on the outside is going to kill the demon on the inside. You have to know where the limit is. For me, boob jobs and butt lifts made sense despite the dysmorphia for a multitude of reasons (primarily because my naked body is my livelihood), but there’s been other, more unstable times when I’ve felt an urge to consult to have my jaw shaved down or my nose reconstructed and so far, I do genuinely believe I’ve been able to be in control enough to differentiate between “a thing that will make me feel good and benefit me from a work perspective” and “a thing that is a completely unnecessary modification that would just be bowing down to my mental illness.”

Sometimes I think about writing about my history with this shit, but it started when I was 12 or 13 and there’s just so much. Today, I am fine, so I’m able to write about it objectively and with a clear awareness that unless someone invents a surgery to literally transfer my consciousness into a body that is 5’3 and 105lbs I’m never going to achieve the “small enough” that my brain tells me I need to be. As a rational, intelligent, perceptive person I fucking KNOW damn well my “goal” is unattainable and unrealistic and that any cosmetic surgery I choose to do is a thing to make me feel better, but it will never be a permanent resolution to my lifelong battle against the mirror and my mind. No amount of nipping and tucking is going to free me from the nights where I make up an excuse to bail on a night out with friends because I just felt too fucking fat to wear any of my clothes. The best plastic surgeon on this planet can’t sculpt my body to a place where I won’t get rejected by a boy I like and immediately think, “This wouldn’t have happened if I was skinnier.”

I’m happy with my decision and I’m happy with my results thus far, I don’t want anyone reading this to think otherwise. Above all else, I’m happy that I possess enough self-awareness and clarity to be honest and open about it. I’m excited for my body to heal and feel better and to maybe, hopefully, feel good wearing a pair of jeans for the first time in my life.

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