15 May 2019 - 18:31
Hi, I'm Coral. This is my first post. I have not been diagnosed with OCD or BDD.
I am a twenty-one-year-old female. In elementary school, I used to think I was the most beautiful girl in the world or at least that I had the potential to be after I fixed my flaws. I would stare in the mirror for minutes on end—before and after taking a shower, in the restroom at school after asking if I could be excused from class, in the backseat window of my Dad’s car for the entire duration of our nightly routine commute, in the movie theater restroom after pardoning myself mid-movie, and so on.
I always hid this behavior from everyone. I never wanted anyone to see me looking in the mirror for too long or being vain. I guess I always knew that it wasn’t a good thing.
I believe the self-mutilation started in grade four when I noticed a mole growing on my cheek and another one on my neck. They caused me a great amount of distress. I would run to find a mirror to check them many times throughout the day and hide them from people with my hands and hair.
I was ashamed to ask my parents if I could have them removed by a doctor, but the amount of emotional tension these moles caused outweighed the shame of asking my parents for something so vain and embarrassing. I asked them once and they said they would consider it in the future. It wasn’t something that I was comfortable begging for so I took matters into my own hands because I needed them gone right then.
I dug my fingernail into my skin and picked away at the raised, dark brown spot until it was gone. They grew back partially several times so I had to repeat it at least 4 or 5 times until, finally, they never came back. To hide the gashes, I wore my hair over my face for almost that entire year while the removal and healing process took place. I’m lucky they didn’t scar too bad.
Other moles started to form around the same time. I dug those out too. This is behavior is still with me—I dug out another mole just mere weeks ago. There are thirteen moles in total that I have removed myself. I have this most minuscule freckle on my wrist that I could not stand when I was younger. I thought other people would point it out or make fun of me for it. I would cover it with a hair band so that no one else would see it. I remember thinking in grade four that my legs were too pale and veiny so I wore pants that entire year.
Around age thirteen, breasts were a hot topic amongst my friends. They started developing and I had not. My best friend talked a lot about how powerful of a tool they are and how to make them look bigger. She relentlessly asked for me to let her see mine one night and I reluctantly caved; she had a good laugh. Eventually, I looked up on the internet ways to stimulate breast growth. After reading about it, I began to massage my breast for a good deal of time almost every night for months.
That same friend at age fourteen told me she didn’t like her nose; she wished it were smaller. After hearing that, I began to inspect my own nose. I never gave my nose much thought beforehand. Today, it is my biggest insecurity. I bought a nose reshaping device at age sixteen (It’s just clamp you wear on your nose that claims to help narrow the tip over time). I tried this on and off for a couple of years. I wore it for as long as I could stand (My comfort is never a priority when trying to fix my flaws). It’s hard to believe that I was in my LATE TEENS and so invested in this quackery!
I’m terrified of aging. I’ve considered suicide as an option to forgo the experience. I’m afraid my “future husband” will no longer be attracted to me after I reach a certain age, and he’ll abandon me.
Moving on, I’ve experienced chronic envy/jealousy starting from a young age. I’ve always compared myself to other girls. I would get very jealous if there was a girl who I thought was prettier than me. I would stare at her when she was not looking. It felt like a need. My eyes were drawn to the girl like a magnet. Still, I hid this—I had no desire to treat them poorly or differently; I was just quietly very jealous. When I got social media at age thirteen, I would stalk the girl’s photos. I used to think girls were jealous of my looks or that people were admiring me. It’s only been in the last few months that I’ve really tried to curve this behavior/thoughts. I have a hard time driving through the big college campus near me and seeing all of the pretty people having fun.
Another behavior I’ve been trying to curve is my fantasizing about my ideal self. One of my popular fantasies is of men being attracted to me—a group of cute guys behind me in line admire me while I have my order taken at a restaurant, for example. I don’t look like myself in these fantasies; I look like my ideal self. I also fantasize about being funny and articulate, people liking me and admiring me.
Today and for the past several years, I’ve felt like my body is deformed. I switch between checking my appearance obsessively in the mirror and avoiding looking in the mirror as well as getting dressed in the dark. I can’t stand to look at my face or my skin with all of its freckles, moles, blue veins, scars, wrinkles, etc. I’ve let my body go because I cope with my depression by binge eating. I wear baggy clothing and hats every day to hide as much of my body as possible. I haven’t worn my hair down in the past eight years except for maybe ten times because it’s curly and I don’t know what to do with it. I avoid going in public as much as possible. I hate going into stores. I only personally own two photos of myself from the past eight years. I have bad acne and I pick at it constantly.
My obsession with having the perfect appearance doesn’t seem to center only around me. I was gifted a laptop when I was thirteen that had a scratch on it so I got upset and didn’t like the gift. I got very upset when my dad got me a pink Clarisonic for me instead of a white one. I raged over it in private. It’s bratty behavior. My dog was losing fur on her back and it really bothered me.
I’m saving up for a rhinoplasty and a chin implant for my receded chin. I’m also going to get scar revision surgery for two pretty bad scars on my arms from removing two moles. I haven’t shown my arms to anyone in years because of my scars. I think to myself, “My life can finally start when I’m happy with my appearance.”
The past two years I’ve gotten on chat rooms and I send angle fraudulent photos of my body to random men for attention and validation and to experience intimacy. I’m very ashamed of this.
I don’t talk much because I hate the sound of my voice so much. I think my voice is annoying and that the things I have to say are annoying. People have a hard time hearing me talk and I’m often asked to repeat myself. It feels like it takes a lot of effort for me to speak up, and my voice sometimes cracks when I do, or it hurts my throat.
Something to add: I was always very upset with when my father stared at women or I caught him watching porn. He stared for too long at the women and it made them and me uncomfortable. I couldn’t tell you why it upset me so much. I can tell you that I was embarrassed though.
Today, I detest lookism even though I’m very guilty of it myself. I don’t want to care about any of this. I don’t want to worry about my appearance or somebody else’s appearance at all. I don’t want to feel like I have to be the prettiest. I don’t want to be jealous. This is all shallow and pathetic. I don’t want to care! I hate feeling jealous—HATE IT.
Now I want to move away from appearance-related issues and onto other personality issues, family issues, and mental illness.
As a kid, I was always shy, quiet, and socially awkward. I was alone a lot as a kid and had trouble making friends. I was always immensely concerned about how I was being perceived by others. I cry very easily and always have when I make mistakes or am subjected to the tiniest amount of perceived or real criticism. I beat myself up, call myself an idiot.
Today, I have severe depression, anxiety, 24/7 derealization, and anhedonia (on medication). I suspect I have OCD and some or several personality disorders. I’ve done absolutely nothing all day for years now. I don’t take care of myself, I let my hair get matted, and I sleep 10-12 hours per day. I’ve dropped out of school several times (I’m currently taking a few online classes at a community college). I read obsessively about mental health.
It kills me that I am so much like my mother. My parents got divorced when I was three. I would stay three nights with my mom, two nights with my dad, and two nights with my grandma each week growing up. I lived out of a suitcase. My mom had girlfriends and boyfriends that we lived with. I noticed that she molded herself to each of her partners. If they smoked, she would pick up smoking. If they drank, she started drinking. If they had a blue truck and cowboy boots, and cut their hair short, she cut her hair short, wore cowboy boots, and desired to own a blue truck. I do not like my mother. I do not love her. We had a hostile relationship growing up. I have a short temper like my mom.
It was in the eighth grade when a boy whom I had a crush on called me a ‘follower’. It was true—I was a chameleon like my mom.
My best friend in elementary school was a tomboy. She wore basketball shorts and parted her hair in the middle. I did the same. Everyone knew me as the sporty tomboy, and I heavily identified as one as well. However, eventually, I wanted makeup and jewelry. I never asked for any because I was too afraid of not fitting the role of a tomboy anymore. I was afraid that my best friend or parents might make snide remarks or call attention to how I’ve changed. I ended up stealing jewelry from my family, taking old makeup out of my aunt’s trashcan, and stealing makeup from stores and playing with it in secret. I hate that this was something I did. Eventually, I needed period products and bras. I tried to get those on my own because I was too afraid to ask. I’ve had other friends over the years, and I copied them too.
If I watch a movie, I embody the main character and attribute his personal characteristics to being part of me. As a kid, I felt powerful after coming out of an action movie, for example. I copy my favorite people—YouTubers, TV and movie characters, family, friends, strangers, anyone. I’ll even take on their laugh and their way of speaking. I don’t have a personality. I feel empty inside.
My mother thought ‘Lion’ was spelled ‘Loin’ and I’m not any better, to be honest. I’m very dumb. I’ve always been bad at math, counting money, telling time on an analog clock, spelling, vocabulary, memorization, and reading. I always put off my school work. I did everything I could to avoid reading. I never tried at anything. I’m severely lacking in worldly knowledge. I can look up how to spell a word five times and I still can’t remember how it is spelled a few hours later. I’m using spell check and using Google as a thesaurus to help me write this right now.
I recently saw a psychologist for the first time and he had me take two personality tests, an IQ test, a test to assess me for any possible learning disabilities, and an ADHD test. I have terrible test anxiety. I was shaking from the beginning and I started to cry on my first task after I couldn’t assemble nine blocks as they appeared in the picture. I couldn’t tell him who Cleopatra was or what country the Sahara Desert is located. I have to wait until my appointment in June to go over my results. I’ve always felt slow compared to my peers. I always feared group work because I didn’t want someone to see that I was stupid. I felt incompetent at the two fast-food jobs I’ve held.
I never tried at anything. I don’t have any interests, hobbies, opinions or a personality. I’m not creative in the least. I never studied or stuck with a sport. I can’t hold a conversation now—intellectual or otherwise—because I am so stupid and unknowledgeable. My vocabulary is too low. I can’t articulate my thoughts. I don’t have any original thoughts; I just copy others. I need to be told how to think. My opinions can change faster than the weather. I feel like I haven’t matured mentally past the age of thirteen.
Next, I am delusional in ways other than previously believing that I could be the most beautiful girl in the world. I used to think I was better and more capable than I actually am. Here are a few examples: It was my senior year of high school and I thought I if I studied hard for the ACT that I could go to an expensive out of state school like UCLA (I ended up hardly studying at all and made a 21 on the ACT). I thought I could train hard enough and become a navy diver. I used to think I was smart. I thought I could go to school and get a masters or Ph.D. in microbiology and I envisioned myself making great contributions to science. I thought I could have a husband and children one day (I’ve decided that I will never have children now). I used to think I could be a waitress and I would apply for jobs accordingly. I thought I was better than my friends and going to be more successful.
I stopped fantasizing about having a grandiose career in the past year or so.
In my head, I’m always living in the future as my idealized self or dwelling on the past. I can’t seem to live in the moment. I think about old conversations I’ve had and play them over and over again in my head. I re-script these conversations, fantasize about what I could have done, and redeem myself.
I’m jealous of pretty people, smart people, funny people, well-adjusted people, people in romantic relationships, etc. I’m jealous of everything. I have a huge fear of missing out too. In my head, I like to pick out peoples’ flaws so that they don’t intimidate me so much. This makes me feel like a bad person.
I get jealous when other people also talk about struggling with mental illness. I’m not sure exactly why this is. It’s like I want to be the only one. I guess I think it makes me special. I don’t know who I am and my mental issues are the only thing that stays consistent about me. The way I view myself and the world around me is constantly changing, sometimes many times a day. It’s exhausting. I cling to my disorders like they are my identity.
I haven’t made a new friend in six years. I’m not close to any of my family. I am very, very lonely. The isolation started when I switched to homeschooling in the 10th grade because I didn’t like the school I was at and we couldn’t afford a private school. I have two friends that I used to see on weekends in high school but they moved an hour and a half away their senior year so I didn’t get to see them much. Then they remained in that city for college. We have a very surface-level relationship, and I feel lonely even when I am with them. Now, I go months without talking to anyone in real life (besides a few words to my dad each day). I talk to people on online chat rooms and I made one really good friend about six months ago. I’m terrified of losing him. He told me he doesn’t like me as much as I like him. I don’t feel like I’m good enough for him anyway. He is so clever and funny and smart. I hate it, but I’m jealous of him and I wish I could be like him. I wish I could just be a good friend—one without jealousy.
I’ve never dated a guy in real life or had sex. I really want a boyfriend, but I know I have to get better first (if it is possible). No guy would commit to me right now anyway because there is nothing to me. I think getting into a relationship would make me feel even crazier. I think I would be toxic and manipulative. I would internet stalk him. I know I would be very jealous. I know I would want to make my boyfriend jealous as well. Virgin men appeal to me the most as romantic prospects because I wouldn’t have to think about his other partners. We can belong to one another. I have a poor, misandrous view of men that I would very much like to change—I think they will all cheat given the chance for example. I fantasize about being in love a lot. For sex, I fantasize about an unhealthy level of submission. It’s as if I have a misogyny fetish. I don’t like this about myself.
Some other examples of OCD-like thoughts I have: My uncle was arrested for viewing child pornography three years ago. Since I found out about it, I’ve been scared that I’m attracted to children as well. I hold my breath every time I see a child. I don’t actually think about doing anything sexual to them; it’s just a fear that I would. It’s gotten to where I don’t want to be around children at all. When I do see a child, I envision a scenario where I am a good role model and acting appropriately with the child to thwart this fear as if to say, “Look at me! I would never do that!” Another example is that I’m scared that I would actually do the evil things you see people do to one another in horror movies. I fear that I have the desire to sit up and smile while watching the scenes as opposed to sinking back into my chair out of terror. I also have a fear that I would strangle my animals or a baby to death. When I drop a pill on the ground I have an intrusive thought like, “I hope my dog eats it and gets sick.” I started to belittle people in my head when I started to read about narcissism.
I can be very self-effacing during a conversation if I’m feeling insecure. It comes instinctively, but if I had to guess I would say that my line of thought is something like, “If I say it first it won’t hurt me as much when they say it.” I apologize a lot, but I realize these don’t count as real apologies. I’m just trying to avoid conflict.
I’m crippled with insecurity. I fear that everyone hates me and is disgusted with me when they look at me or I open my mouth to speak. I do desire to be impressive and special.
I’m scared to get better. A big part of me doesn’t want to. I like being a victim. I think about ways I can be seen as a victim. Maybe it’s the only way I know how to get attention.
If I am a narcissist, maybe I isolate myself because I know that I’m sensitive and get knocked down easily. Maybe isolation allows me to keep my false sense of self. I don’t know if I feel empathy for others. It should be noted that I feel numb to a lot things because of the derealization.
How am I supposed to bring this crap up with a professional? I’m intimidated by my male psychologist. I imagine him rolling his eyes at me for being so superficial and dumb.
I want to be a good friend. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I want to be normal. It hurts writing this. Even if I do get better, I don’t know how to forgive myself for all of this.
I don’t think that any of this is healthy. I feel that I am evil and toxic. I don’t trust myself. I have this general sense of confusion. I’m scared of myself. I can’t name one good thing about myself. I hate myself.
I often feel like I’m going crazy. I wish my mind would shut up. I feel so empty and lonely. I think of suicide first thing when I get up and all throughout the day. I need some relief. I’m not going to last much longer. I wish I understood why I am like this.
So am I a starved covert narcissist, borderline, codependent, avoidant? I don’t know.
Thank you if you read any of this. I would be so grateful if anyone had any input or advice. Don’t be afraid to be brutally honest with me.