Body dysmorphia is often characterised by the alienation, or distorted view of one's body; commonly linked with eating disorders and OCD, up to 1 in 100 people in the UK currently suffer from it, with records of it dating back until the 19th century. That being said, there are little to no records of research actually being done on the disorder, leading to rather few amounts of treatments being readily available. Given today's ever increasing standards of beauty, cases have been steadily increasing, mainly in students, increasing the statistic from 1% of general adult population, to 13% of students.
But why? Why is such a common thing not being researched? Or even treated? Well, to tell you the truth, its because most people refuse to admit to feeling it. We all have those little niggling feelings, you know, those ones you get when you catch your reflection in town. "I wish I looked more like her", or "why can't I have a body like him?". Maybe it's something small, something simple like freckles, how you wish you didn't have any. Something like that can be solved with makeup, you can hide them to help you feel better. But what if its something...bigger?
Body dysmorphia can actually hide problems, things that sit in the back of your mind and whisper. If you look down at your body each day, and wonder, why does it feel alien to you, what is it that makes it feel wrong, your first reaction is to fix what you think is wrong, to make yourself the ideal of your gender. But, what if that's the problem.
You see, body dysmorphia is often a precursor to gender identity issues (Not always I should add), it can also be one of the first things you notice. But it's okay, don't worry. At a young age I myself felt the dysmorphic anxiety towards myself, however, it wasn't constant. It lead me to realise my true gender identity; Gender-fluidity. I became able to combat the dysmorphia, through very simple things such as chest-binders and baggier clothes.
If you are suffering with dysmorphia linked with your gender identity, its not the
end of the world. Remember, covering up the problem, and making it worse is not going to help you, take a good long look at yourself in the mirror, and imagine your ideal you, not what everyone else expects of you. Embrace the feeling. Now, look at yourself, look at the ideal you, what's reasonable, what can you do to make yourself the ideal?
If FTM, you may need to buy yourself a chest-binder (Remember to bind safely, try reading Eli's article on how to bind safely), practise male posture, and talk to people you trust about helping you feel more comfortable using masculine pronouns. If MTF, like one of my dear friends, consider a waist clincher for a more feminine body shape, and remember posture can work a lot more than you think. You can even get underwear than comes with padded hips or butts, if that'll make you feel more natural, and once more, talk to people you trust to help make the transition more comfortable for you.
I want to stress that this is not an exhaustive list of 'cures', it not even cures really, it's just to make you feel more comfortable. A high percentage of people suffering with body dysmorphia, that just happen to be trans aswell, also find that because their self-confidence has suffered from the inner turmoil they may have suffered, they could be diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which is a much serious thing, and if you at all think this is something you might be suffering with, I urge you to visit your local doctor, or mental health centre for a formal assessment.
Just to round things off on a higher note, don't forget that you're beautiful. It might take you a while to feel like it, or you might never get close to it, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in a world of 7.44 billion people, its guaranteed that someone will always find you amazing.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.