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As long as I can remember, since being a young child and before puberty, I've always had this background ambient thought that I'm ugly; particularly my face. I can obsess over the tiny details, the slight bits of asymmetry, the way a certain part of skin looks more freckled than others, etc. I go out of my way to not look at myself in a mirror, even when I'm shaving my beard or head. I'll focus on bits in the background when using a mirror, to avoid looking at my face. It's also part of the reason that I act like a twat in most photos.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. These flaws are often unnoticeable to others.
People of any age can have BDD, but it's most common in teenagers and young adults. It affects both men and women.
Having BDD does not mean you're vain or self-obsessed. It can be very upsetting and have a big impact on your life.
Symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)
You might have BDD if you:
- worry a lot about a specific area of your body (particularly your face)
- spend a lot of time comparing your looks with other people's
- look at yourself in mirrors a lot or avoid mirrors altogether
- go to a lot of effort to conceal flaws – for example, by spending a long time combing your hair, applying make-up or choosing clothes
- pick at your skin to make it "smooth"
BDD can seriously affect your daily life, including your work, social life and relationships.