Body dysmorphia

Let’s be frank – I have never been beautiful. We all know the beautiful girls and I am not one of them. In reality I am probably sweet-looking yet plain, homely with flickers of prettiness like a hand mirror reflecting the sun, a spot of light dancing on the walls.

But if you asked me most days, I would say I am ugly. I would say I am hideous. I would say I am monstrous, mean- and stupid-looking, my features completely without charm or redemption. I would tell you I appear moronic or dull-witted: my eyes are tiny and without light, my cheeks and jaw are obscenely fat, my skin is severely lined and covered in glaring imperfections.

I would tell you I have a doll of whom I am jealous.

I wish I was even a quarter as beautiful as Iris Rose. Even if I could not move my features or assume expressions, a beautiful face would be a gift of quiet. Every disorder has its monsters and dysmorphia has The Face. Any face is better. Even one that does not blink or smile, does not bat its eyelashes or screw up its mouth to cry. A frozen prettiness is better than The Face.

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I'm a former student of English literature, an editor and a creative writer who has been attempting to live with body dysmorphic disorder as well as severe anxiety and a recent diagnosis of Bipolar II. I believe that struggles with mental health are often lifelong and people in these situations need comfort, support and occasional moments of peace granted to them in order to survive.

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