Image Dysmorphia: A Real Issue That Affects Influencers

image dysmorphia

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

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.

image dysmorphia

🌟 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!

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Free Apps Providing Mental Health Services

Mental Health Services

Useful numbers for mental health support:

United kingdom 🇬🇧 116 123

United states 🇺🇸 1-800-273-8255

Canada 🇨🇦 1 800 456 4566

Ireland 🇮🇪 116 123

Philippines 🇵🇭 2919

Australia 🇦🇺 131 114

In light of the “Tier 4” – aka second full lockdown in the UK – I am back with a list of FREE apps providing mental health services to help manage mood, and suss out triggers before they spiral out of control into a full depressive/anxious episode.

I think mental health is just as important – if not more so – than physical health. Unfortunately, counselling is expensive, unlike physical health support, provided by the NHS.

(Yes, mental health support is offered by the NHS, but I can imagine that there are long waiting lists for this)

In a global pandemic, which is crushing the economy, less people are likely to afford seeking it privately.

So, I’ve scoured the App Store to bring you FREE apps that aim to support you through this pandemic, keeping you headstrong.

Mental Health Services

DISCLAIMER: Apps alone are not and should not be used as a replacement for actual therapy. Please arrange a doctors appointment, as only a mixture of medication, therapy and use of these apps below can successfully treat the problem.

Let’s dive in…

Apps that provide free mental health services

Mental Health Services

CBT Tools for Healthy Living, Self-Help Mood Diary

(FREE TO USE ON ANDROID)

This app offers users the opportunity to keep track of their moods by logging their information into a diary. As I explained above, this app is completely FREE and available on the Android Play store.

Downloaders of this app can monitor their moods and activities which could help to determine triggers for mental health blocks &/or emotional instability.

I think this app is vital for those who are looking to gain a better handle on their mental health, and to take back control. Yes, mental health is uncontrollable at the worst of times, but this app assists by allowing you to keep a record, which you can look back on in a bid to pinpoint triggers.

There are some great self-help tips to take advantage of on there also.

Mental Health Services

Side By Side by the Mind Charity

(FREE TO USE ON ANDROID & APPLE)

Okay, so lockdown is very isolating and depressing. For those who have tragically lost family members, friends and even jobs due to Covid, Christmas is going to be a very lonely time…

‘Side by Side’ is like that little light at the end of the tunnel. Although it’s not the same as face-to-face human interaction, this free app is a supportive virtual community brought to you by Mind Charity (one of the largest mental health charities in the UK).

Users can share their stories with the promise of being heard, whilst also listening to others’ stories. Users can bond over similar experiences, make friends and feel like they’re part of a community.

Best of all: it’s free to use.

Mental Health Services

MindShift

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

This is an anxiety-busting CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) app designed with young people in mind. Whether you’re a youth or young adult, this app has everything you need to get through the anxious phases we endure on a daily basis.

Anxiety wears many hats and has many faces, it comes in many different forms – sometimes we’re even unable to recognise it. Well, you can rest assured it can be treated with the right help. Starting with this app.

MindShift is a great stress-reliever, and a teacher of relaxation. It’s also packed with insightful tips to help us develop more helpful ways of thinking.

Sometimes, all we need is a list of strategies that we can re-visit at a later date, which will help us overcome our anxieties. A list of these are as follows:

  1. exam anxiety
  2. perfectionism
  3. social anxiety
  4. performance/work-related anxiety
  5. worry
  6. panic
  7. conflict

Rest in the assurance that if you’re suffering from any of the above, MindShift is the one for you.

Again: this is FREE to download onto your smartphone.

Mental Health Services

Mood Tools

(FREE TO USE ON ANDROID)

This app is great for monitoring our mood like all others before and after it, but one thing I also love about it is that users can test themselves by taking the PHQ-9 Depression questionnaire. This is the same or similar to the ones given out in counselling sessions. Although we hate taking them at the time, there’s no denying that they help in showing our progress.

I also love this app because it has a video section, pre-loaded with plenty of content of anything from mood-lifting to guided meditations and enlightening TED talks.

As with many other apps out there (many of which are listed in this blog), this app has a thought diary, manual activity tracking (help with identifying triggers), information on self-help – but also a Safety Plan – support with suicide prevention.

Mental Health Services

SAM Self-help for Anxiety Management

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

SAM helps to understand and manage anxiety better.

You’ll learn how to better pinpoint causes of your anxiety, whilst also discovering new self-help exercises that you can practice offline.

Social Cloud is a private and confidential social-media forum where you can anonymously discuss your mental health journey with others, in a safe space.

SAM is an app that was developed as a result of a project run by the research team of Bristol’s UWE.

Mental Health Services

Silvercloud

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

Silvercloud is brilliant too in its own right. This app offers an array of supportive and interactive programmes, whilst giving out free tools and practices we can implement to solve our behavioural health issues.

I know we shouldn’t do it, but I always have a favourite, and this app is mine.

There is a programme for everything on this app… Anything from:

  1. well-being
  2. life balance
  3. time management
  4. communication skills
  5. goal setting, relationship & communication management
  6. anger management
  7. stress management
  8. relaxing and sleep management
Mental Health Services

Happier

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE)

Introducing the app which is best at helping us live in the present. If you’re like me, and are stuck in the future (or like others can get stuck in the past), this app is the one for you.

This app has its fair share of motivational quotes that keep us going. Also, I absolutely love the Gratitude Journal feature on there. Record all the happy moments, and look back on them whenever you want.

This app is packed with mini-courses you can take to find the joy in today. An added bonus of this app is that you can sync it with your smartwatch to keep track of your fitness, as a healthy body helps lead to a healthy mind.

There’s also quizzes we can take to help calm ourselves, along with guided mediations. It’s an amazing app. If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod, I recommend downloading it.

Mental Health Services

Daylio

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

Another one of my favourite apps, this is a private diary app that enables you to keep a record of your moods without having to write anything. Emojis and adjectives help to say it better than words.

This app is great because you can also add note etc and keep an old school diary.

The calendar feature lets you look back on a specific day to when you wasn’t feeling too good (or the ones you were). The format of this app is said to help understand our habits better. Keep up-to-date on your activities and create patterns that will help us to become more productive.

Mental Health Services

Catch It

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

This app is brought to you by the universities of Manchester and Liverpool. Like many other apps featured in this blog post, this app works as an ongoing diary. It’s helpful to note things down if you want to better understand our moods.

I like this app because it illustrates some key principles of psychology approaches to mental health and wellbeing, specifically CBT.

Free apps that provide mental health services for eating disorders

Mental Health Services


Stay Alive

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

Suicidal prevention app that is packed with a wide range of useful information to help keep us safe, preventing suicide.

Suicidal thoughts are not easy to deal with, and this app helps you combat them. This app is also beneficial for those who sadly know someone who may be at risk of suicidal thoughts.

You may not know this, but there are study finding that link a low mental health with eating disorders.

If you’re suffering from an eating disorder, that’s probably down to underlying issues that are going on in your mental health system.

Below are a couple of free apps you can download to support you on your journey to curing your eating disorder.

Recovery Record

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

Recovery from eating disorders isn’t easy, but you sure as heck don’t need to do it alone. This app covers o& supports rehabilitation from all types of eating disorders, whether it’s anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, obsessive eating, or compulsive eating disorders.

Keep track of your meals by keeping a record, and note down your thoughts and feelings. Set up notifications to be alerted of encouragement &/or affirmation messages and meditation images.

There’s a feature which lets you set up a meal plan, and an option to set up an alarm that alerts you.

Choose a treatment team, and share your recovery record with them, so they can support you, better understanding your behavioural trends and triggers.

This app is more like a community, you will be able to connect with hundreds / thousands of people who are also on a journey of recovery from eating disorders.

Mental health services

Rise Up +

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

Rise Up + Recover is a great app for those who struggle with body image. I’ve tried pretty much all the diets and can’t seem to stick to them, so this has helped me over the years.

Similar to Recovery Record, you can log your meals, set up notifications for motivational quotes and set custom reminders. This app also offers users of the app professional treatment and support available nearby.