National Eating Disorders Association

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Options in PA for BDD and ED

My earliest accounts of suffering are at the age of 14. I am now 23. When I was 19 I received a diagnosis of body dysmorphic disorder. Just a few months ago I was diagnosed with an eating disorder. It is hard for me to write here because my perception of myself has made certain aspects of my life much more difficult. The best way to explain my situation now, is to touch base on the past few years. I became extremely self conscious at 14 after I developed cystic acne. I mean, it was just unusual. It led me to skip school, not look people in the eye, and just socially withdraw from almost everyone except my family and girlfriend who acted as both a lover and best friend. The times I was in school, my "friends" would say out of shock "OMG did you get into a fight"... or times at fast food restaurants there was a sudden conversation about how greasy foods affect your skin; probably started by looking at me then ended with suggestions on what I could do to improve my skin. Well, thankfully my mom took me to a dermatologist. From that first appointment until now the remedy has been the perscriptions they provided me. Its important to note that since I was 17 my acne has been under control, which I am beyond thankful for. My self consciousness was not just limited to my skin. I also despised my nose. I mean despised. I remember getting into countless fights with my parents and girlfriend over financing for it. Told my therapist how uncomfortable it made me and swore that I would eventually have plastic surgery to fix it. Well, that still hasn't happened. My senior year (aged 17-18) I ended the relationship with my girlfriend after 3.5 years together. I cared about her deeply but felt that I was indeed attracted to the opposite sex. So, I came out. It was relieving and I could not have asked for a more supportive network. However, upon coming out... it left a lot of questions for me to answer from others. "Are you the 'woman' or 'man'", "You do not LOOK gay", "You are a failure at being gay". These questions in association with "suggestions" on how to improve on being "gay" just really hurt me. I know that being gay, liking the same sex, has absolutely nothing to do with the way you look or behave but there is infact this stereotype I struggled to deal with. I had a lot of remarks about my hair. I was shaving it but after suggestions on to grow it out, I tried. I mean tried. After a lot of research I ended up going back to my dermo. with the complaint and she gave me some perscriptions. I truly want to say, it has in fact done WONDERS.i While yes, my hair condition was being handled. I still was receiving this ongoing feedback regularly on how to improve my appearance (even writing this I just cannot understand why their was so much emphasis on my physical appearance in relation to my sexuality but their in fact was). I remember hearing from multiple people that I was a "failure at being gay" because I did not look a certain way, like certain things, etc.. Underlying all of this was this ongoing preoccupation with my appearance apparently people did not perceive I was concerned about; when I actually was. In January 2017 I started to go to the gym. Where I currently am, I work at a gym. My peak was Sept-December 2018. I had lost over X pounds however gained a lot of lean muscle. Truth was I was exercising all the time plus restricting my calorie intake. At my lowest I was Xlbs 5'4". Around November 2018 I knew the holidays were here and I wanted to eat. I honestly forget where I saw it but that was when I started taking laxatives. It's so embarrassing. After overeating, I fast. This is still going on and I do it out of pain. I feel like I am just so ashamed of my physical appearance. I am always hungry. Probably because of how much a train + the emotional turmoil of it all. I went to my doctor a few months ago, told her my concerns. She knows I have been struggling (in 2016 I was diagnosed with BDD after an involuntary hospitalization). She diagnosed me with an eating disorder and referred me to a nutritionist. They both felt like I need impatient but it was in the middle of my semester. I still struggle everyday with food, binge eating, fasting or using laxatives. All for a compliment... I need help but I am so concerned with this derailing my graduation in May. I also cannot afford to take off work. Please, what resources are available for me?


Hi, JMC41996. Thank you for posting. We're sorry to hear about what's been going on with your body image and eating concerns. We hope that you get the support you deserve here on the forum. We just wanted to let you know that we edited out portions of your post as numbers and certain language might be triggering for other members of the forum. We also took out names of certain medications. Please take a look at our community guidelines here: If you're interested in resources, you can reach out to the Helpline at (800) 931-2237. The Helpline is open Monday-Thursday 9AM-9PM EST and Friday 9AM-5PM EST. You can also chat during these hours by clicking on the chat now button at the top right hand corner. Please take care!