Living with body dysmorphia: Woman scared to walk down the street because of her warped body view
A young woman convinced her thighs were so big she wouldn’t fit down the street has revealed her battle with Body Dysmorphia Disorder.
Lindsey Hall, 26, suffered from the crippling mental health condition which warped her perception of her own appearance and led to anxiety and eating disorders.
The sick woman would constantly obsess over parts of her body such as her chin, her ears and the hairs on her arm, as well as her thighs.
Lindsey believed her ears stuck out and would tape them back, then as a teen her fixation turned to the size of her legs.
On her worst days, Lindsey would panic when she passed other pedestrian as she thought she wouldn’t be able to get through.
And, despite her tiny frame, she would stand up on trains rather than sit as she was convinced she couldn’t fit between people.
Her distorted view led her to over-exercising – running two to three times a day for up to 15 miles.
The publicist from Fort Worth, Texas, USA, also turned to binge eating, purging and anorexia behaviour until she received treatment in 2013.
Three years after being diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Severe Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BBD), the brave brunette has blogged her recovery online: ihaventshavedinsixweeks.com.
She said: “I best describe BBD as having a mosquito in your ear – it buzzes so loudly you can’t really concentrate on anything else.
“My thighs are the most crippling of my BDD. I will grow so obsessive that I stare at them in every passing window, mirror, and reflection.
“At my worst, I would get on the subway and stand instead of sit because I was scared I wouldn’t be able to fit between people.
“It all sounds very vain. I began to think I was just selfish, but the truth is none of these preoccupations are about vanity.
“They are because I was scared, I didn’t trust my body and truly believed other people noticed these ‘flaws’ at the degree I did.”
Lindsey was soon hit by poor health and would suffer from muscle spasms in the middle of the night and was treated for onset osteoporosis.
She added: “I would eat a meal, go look in the mirror and burst into tears.
“I actually physically thought my thighs changed each day, sometimes after each meal.
“I knew I was sick for a long time.
“After eight years, there was no doubt in my mind that I’d die from my eating disorder.”
In 2013 after an extreme binge which had Lindsey throwing up blood, her distraught parents intervened.
She agreed to get treatment and at rehab they helped her realise that what she saw was fake.
She said: “They did an activity called The String Test where I was asked to guest the size of my thighs with a piece of yarn.
“I measured it against the actual size of my legs and found my guess was double the size.
“I was able to finally come to terms that I just really don’t see myself clearly.”
Now the brave women is sharing her story to help others who suffer in silence.
She added: “We have got to change the prevalence of weight conversation. I’m just as tired of fat-shaming as I am of thin-shaming.
“I was constantly told that I was thin, which made me feel as though people only recognised me by my size.
“I always assumed that the moment I gained weight – like vultures – my peers would descend on me thinking ‘yes she’s finally gained weight’ and scrutinise me even harder than had I once been overweight.
“We think calling someone thin or skinny or petite, is a compliment – but all we’re really doing is further enunciating that we are noticing them by the space their body encumbers.
“I don’t think I can ever fully recover.
“I think my priorities shift in recovery, and I am better able to self-talk myself out of these BDD episodes, but I think it’s realistic to say there will always be days of struggle.”