“Image dysmorphia” is a form of a depression caused by low self-confidence. Its definition describes an imagined reality where our reflection in the mirror or a photograph doesn’t match what’s actually there.
For example, we could be bullied for years because of our image, work very hard on improving it (not that we need to at all!), only to imaginarily see the person we were still staring back at us.
Sometimes, it goes beyond who we were, it could even be a case of seeing a different image entirely… Our loved ones may tell us “you look great”, but we sadly just won’t believe them.
Image dysmorphia is a very real thing, particularly in the influencer world.
Although most cases are brought on by a low self-confidence (stemming from bullying), there’s evidence to suggest it can even develop from social media, plastic surgery and image-editing apps.
I’m sure that I went through image dysmorphia at some stage… How else would you explain me editing my headshot selfies to the point of unrecognisable and getting fillers in my lips!? In those days, FaceTune and YouCamMakeup were my best friends!
Honestly, I’m just glad that I didn’t (and still don’t) know my way around Photoshop. Had I learned, it would’ve opened a whole other Pandora’s box that would’ve been harder to close.
Recognising Image Dysmorphia
🌟 The taking of / posting an excessive amount of selfies on social-media frequently is a sign of image dysmorphia
If we’re not happy with ourselves, we’ll try to convince ourselves and others to be, by taking & sharing countless selfies as a way of gaining gratification. We may even go as far as editing them to fit the ‘influencer’ mould – which is counter-intuitive, leaving us open to more criticism.
DISCLAIMER: INFLUENCERS DON’T EVEN LOOK LIKE THEIR PHOTOS! THEY’RE OUT HERE DOING IT TOO!
It’s fair to mention that influencers aren’t entirely to blame… Before we point the finger, we need to remember that they’re under a lot of pressure as it is. The media has an image to portray, and the influencer has to adhere to it if they want to earn a living. So, you see, the fault predominantly lies with the media for creating and continuing this false narrative.
There’s so much pressure from the media, and social-media in particular, to act or be a certain way! The world has lost all authenticity.
🌟 Getting addicted to fillers or plastic surgery is another sign of image dysmorphia
As I explained above, I went through a phase where I was getting lip fillers quite regularly. It got so bad that I had to over-line my lips to disguise the botched job on them... After a few years, I decided to get them dissolved, vowing never to get them done again.
The problem with fillers or plastic surgery is: once we start, it’s hard to stop… It’s as if our mind gets programmed to see other flaws each time, the end result being: we lose sight of who we are!
TOWIE and country-music star Megan McKenna has also talked about the links between lip fillers and image dysmorphia… She too ended up removing her lip fillers, and now regrets ever getting them.
Curing image dysmorphia
Half the battle of curing image dysmorphia is realising that you have it in the first place. You can’t cure something until you notice the signs and admit there’s a problem.
Once you’ve identified it as an issue, try to train your mind to think positive affirmations… Speak them internally while you’re doing routine things like: brushing hair. It’s best to look in the mirror for this one.
Also, try talking to a therapist, ask for CBT [Cognitive Behavioural Training] is proven to treat image dysmorphia. I speak to a counsellor regularly, and it helps me a lot.
Counselling should be an affordable and standard human right in today’s society… It’s not enough to merely just tell people to “open up” without offering them an opportunity to do it! Point them in the right direction, give them the option at least.
Another way to cure image dysmorphia is by waiting to see if it’s a passing phase/fad… This isn’t ideal, and certainly not a recommendation for those who may need urgent care. However, in my case, I grew out of it. I learned to love myself!
The only other ways I can think of is praying if you’re faithful/spiritual and meditating on the word. I meditate a lot. “#AllMeditationEverything” is my mantra and chosen way of dealing with anything!
Want to share your thoughts on the topic? Hit me up in the comments!