DD, 15, thinks she has body dysmorphia

(21 Posts)
gingerhobo48 Thu 28-Aug-14 14:06:56

Hi, am really worried about my DD.She broke down this morning and could barely talk as she was crying so much, it was awful.She feels really self conscious about her skin, she has bad spots and she's under the Dr and is due to see a Dermatologist Oct Half-term.Like most teens she is very impatient and wants to see results, like yesterday.She has always cared about what others thought of her but from what she said this morning it is bordering on very real anxiety and fear now.She doesn't want to go out, is slowly losing all of her friends she feels under such immense pressure all of the time.I did think she was becoming depressed as when on holiday with us and when going out with us as a family she was making no effort over her appearance, barely brushing her hair.Even though she has many clothes she always wears the same ones as well.
She is doing really well at school and is set to do really well but she told me she hates school and seeing people, particularly boys as she doesn't want to be judged.Apparently last Oct , one boy rated her a 3/10 looks wise which she found devastating.The boys hold a lot of power and can be really nasty to the girls.There is a real Catfish culture amongst her girl peers with the girls being obsessed with posting pictures and then when the boys see them in real life they get parred which is awful.
I hate seeing her so affected by all of this.She always felt better/more confident , after putting on a bit of make-up and felt ready/happy to go out and see people.She has hardly gone out this Summer, she only has 3 girl friends although she talks to lots of boys.Even when boys compliment her she can't see it, she is so critical of herself.She recognises she may have a problem and wants to get help but we don't know what help might be out there.When she does put make-up on it doesn't make her feel any better although she is good at putting it on.She seems overly obsessed with others body parts too, in particular lips, noses, bottoms.Size wise she is fine but she can't see this, she is getting too tall (5ft 5) she is slim, has small feet, lovely long hair, straight teeth.
If we go to the Drs, what avenues are open for us? I think alongside the depression she might be slightly OCD, she is very anxious and I don't want her to become phobic.Anyone had any similiar experiences?

gingerhobo48 Thu 28-Aug-14 14:09:53

Sorry, she feels she is getting too tall, that makes more sense, she doesn't want to grow anymore.

Heyho111 Thu 28-Aug-14 19:37:04

She needs some extra support. Her school will have a councellor she can talk to. If she doesn't want to do that take her to your gp and ask for a referral to child and family psychology. They will be able to really help her. Try to get her help as soon as possible. The earlier you get help the easier it is to sort.
I feel so sorry for her she must be feeling dreadful. Keep us updated.

gingerhobo48 Thu 28-Aug-14 21:42:14

Thank you Heyho, I did ask about support at school.It's just really scarey for us both.I spoke to my husband about it today and he was a bit off to begin with but he really cares and like me, just doesn't know how to support her.She says she feels better for having told me but also that she finds it hard to talk to me which breaks my heart but it's something I need to deal with and really look at and try and make better.She is my eldest, it is just us, no extended family, it's hard.

gingerhobo48 Thu 28-Aug-14 21:43:23

Sorry "it's" (typo).

Heyho111 Thu 28-Aug-14 22:13:57

Her emotions about her appearance are caught up with normal teenage emotions. Her saying she can't talk to you is part of her teenage normality. There is a book - get out my life but first take me and Alex to town. It won't help with how she feels about her body but will help you understand what is normal teenage stuff, why she feels and says what she does and will help you deal with it.
This must be such a hard time for you. Normal teenage issues are heart breaking for a parent, you must be on your knees.
I hope you get the support for your daughter and yourself.

gingerhobo48 Wed 03-Sep-14 15:45:01

Had to pick her up from school lunchtime as she phoned me from the toilets sobbing.Apparently the Head of Year came into the class she was in, doing a uniform check(1st day back) also checking hair/jewellery/piercings etc.Told DD to go to LSE to wipe 'slap' off her face.She felt awful in front of her peers.She hasn't gone overboard with the make-up, just concealer/foundation to cover spots, which are really bad.She has refused to take her make-up off as her spots would just look red/raw (she has v pale skin too) .
I managed to speak to one of the assistent heads and briefly told her about her self-esteem issues and how bad she feels about her spots and how anxious she was about coming to school.DD came to meet us and she broke down crying when she was talking about what teacher had said to her.The AH was sympathetic but DD was too distressed to even fix her face and go back.I took her home thinking she could quickly calm down and fix her face and go back, but she was sick she had got so worked up.
I am going Drs at 4 with her to see if we can see another Dr.I just want a referral for her to see someone.I asked for her to see someone at school.They have a counsellor who DD wants to see, she is getting desperate she justs wants to talk to someone.She knows her thoughts are irrational, like today, she felt everyone was looking at her and judging her but she knew they weren't.It's heartbreaking.

SparklyFooted Wed 03-Sep-14 16:06:09

Cognitive behavioural therapy can be good for these kind of issues - it teaches ways to practice more helpful ways of thinking and behaving.

If you have any difficulty accessing this via your GP, you can find a private CBT therapist (if you're able to pay of course).

gingerhobo48 Wed 03-Sep-14 16:39:38

Thanks SparklyFooted, we have an emergency Drs appointment at 7pm.We'll see what he says. . . I'll look into anything, it's just knowing about it.

It both breaks my heart and makes me so fucking angry that girls are being broken in this way by the huge pressure to look a certain way, the objectification of women and the unrealistic images in the media that get worse and worse so more and more young women think there's something wrong with them. Your poor, poor DD. I hope you GP can direct you to the help she needs and get it to her fast. She sounds like a wonderful and beautiful young woman, and it must be devastating to you (and her) that she can't see herself the way you do.

And that other posters see young women with crippling self-loathing as "normal teenage emotions" is just horrifying to me.

gingerhobo48 Wed 03-Sep-14 17:31:53

Hi Annie, you've said what I feel.I am so out of my depth with all of this.It just seems so warped (to me) how both the girls and boys behave.The girls are doing things to become more popular, the boys are blatently asking the girls for things, no chatting up 1st just straight out asking (in their teen slang) which has me open mouthed! It's all about your appearance, especially how your face looks.Her cheeks are just a mass of angry red spots, they really are horrible.The topical cream made it worse , the tablets make her lose her appetite(although that could be something else.I am really worried about her.

gingerhobo48 Wed 03-Sep-14 17:46:40

On a positive note , she has 2 boys who are good friends who have seen her with a make-up free face, angry spots, glasses on, hair in a multitude of plaits (basically getting ready for bed) who have been great.She face? times them a lot.They are lovely, lovely boys who see past the superficial.I have talked to her about feeling a need to get away/escape certain social situations when she feels overwhelmed.It feels like a type of social panic, or panic attack type thing.She made herself go out a few times in the holiday, knowing she could always leave or phone me and she coped well.Being back at school is different, you have to stay there, you need to stay there.I could see how anxious she was today, this would never have happened in year 8 or 9 but she didn't have these spots then or feel she had to prove anything to the boys/had so much to lose.

gingerhobo48 Wed 03-Sep-14 17:53:07

She is a mere shadow of the daughter I know, that brave, even though she was scared to the very core, girl, who in yr 8 went to school every single day with the threat of being beaten up by a nasty girl bully in the same yr group.the school were aware and supporting her and the police were involved initially as it spilled out of school and I had to get involved.It went on for months and I was in awe of her courage.

cathyandclaire Wed 03-Sep-14 17:56:43

I had acne and DD2 suffered too, it was horrific for her. She confided in me that she used to get up an hour earlier than we realised, to give her face a chance to settle down and get less angry looking after washing and to apply concealer.
It make me angry that a teacher calls it slap, concealer was a lifesaver for me and dd. Get a referral to a dermatologist, my dd is a different child now her skin is clear. Acne can be miserable and her skin is affecting her mental health and it's something you can do something about. She may well need counselling and other support too but it's one step...
Good luck xx

gingerhobo48 Wed 03-Sep-14 21:48:01

cathyandclaire , that is how we feel/felt.It was a male teacher that made the comment and I don't think he realised the full implications of what he was saying/said.Even the female AH empathised and she felt that DD had already taken off her make-up (she hadn't ) so it wasn't that obvious.All DD remembers is all the boys looking at her as she had to leave the classroom.Even I cringe at her having to get up and walk out in front of everyone.

gingerhobo48 Wed 03-Sep-14 21:55:44

We are seeing a dermatologist half term holidays and are really holding out for some sound advice.We saw a Dr tonight and he has prescribed a different topical cream (fingers x) He was lovely, he acknowledged that DD was really upset (she was). He said that bad skin can have a very real effect on your self esteem (hooray, finally) but that he doesn't want to go down the tablet route.He recommended counselling 1st (school route) but if DD/we are not happy with that then to come back to Dr and they can refer us for counselling 1st.All DD did was cry and not look up I feel horrid.

zone6mum Thu 04-Sep-14 13:11:48

I feel for you and your DD so much. It sounds like she's having a really difficult time. It sounds like you are both in something of a downward spiral but I want you to know that it will pass. It sounds like you are being a huge personal support to your DD and I know you will both find a way to help the situation.

My DS (14) has OCD (and I think BDD) too so this is a down-load of what has helped:-

First of all, a recognition that OCD is a condition that needs managing, exactly the same as dyslexia, diabetes or anything else. With time she will learn to recognise that thoughts are "just thoughts", they are not reality. When she does so, she will learn strategies for dealing with the unhelpful ones. That sounds obvious but it's a huge mental leap which most adults find challenging.

There's a book called "Brain Lock" by Barry (?Brian?) Schwarz which is really helpful, describing what he calls "stuck thoughts" and strategies for overcoming them. It's based on CBT. I bought it to find out more but DS read it himself and found it helpful. He also has a workbook that I bought on Amazon, which is aimed specifically at teenagers.

We got a referral to a counsellor at CAMHS and I put CAMHS and the school in touch with each other so that they each know what's going on. Personally I felt it was important for him that counselling did not come through the school since he perceives school as being the source of so much of his anxiety (and if anyone got wind of him seeing a counsellor in school, that would be devastating for him) - we have a very sympathetic doctor and CAMHS is so far proving to be helpful.

DS has also dabbled a bit in meditation although he finds sitting still very tricky (Amazon has loads of meditation CDs for teenagers).

Here's a really helpful website: www.youngminds.org.uk - it's specifically aimed at mental health for young people. There's also ocduk.org. DS finds it helpful to see that he's not alone.

Regarding the acne, I have heard that laser treatment is really effective, particularly for teens. I friend of mine sent her DS for laser treatment and it was quite a dramatic improvement. I think it's available on the NHS. Also Lloyds Pharmacy do a device which I've tried, that emits therapeutic infrared light - you hold it against the skin for about 2 minutes. It doesn't prevent spots but it helps them to heal more quickly and stops them becoming quite so angry. I had terrible acne as a teenager and found the only thing that helped was the contraceptive pill (not sure how you'd feel about that..).

I wish you and your DD all the best

gingerhobo48 Thu 04-Sep-14 13:28:51

Hi, zone6mum, I get what you mean about the school thing and I'm surprised DD is considering it tbh but I think because our Drs, up until now , have not been very good and everything entails a wait, she is at the stage of feeling desperate about speaking to someone that might be able to help her before it gets worse.I think she has had an anxiety type thing for a while because she used to get palpitations and pains in her chest and would speak about having these thoughts and feeling guilty?She didn't want to speak to anyone before but now she does as she is feeling so rotten.
I hadn't considered laser treatment, I will definately read up on that.I have told her to try not to look at herself so much and to not touch her spots as I've noticed she touches them a lot.She also picks them and I'm really worried about scarring and so is she.
If I'm honest it is really getting to me too, the crying , the depression, I don't know if I'm helping her, Im trying to.I've had a little cry this morning, I'm thinking about her constantly.She has texted me to say that she can miss either P.E or assembly on Fridays to speak to a counsellor.The only thing is she is worried about getting upset and then having to go back to class with a blotchy face but I'm sure we can get something sorted.
I have looked at youngminds before but had forgotten about them, thank you.

gingerhobo48 Fri 05-Sep-14 17:50:06

She saw a counsellor in school today who is going to refer her to CAMHS.Apparently DD has been having suicidal thoughts which I didn't know about.

gingerhobo48 Sun 07-Sep-14 09:48:05

I don't think I am dealing with this very well.I'm scared, I guess that's normal, right? I'm scared of what they might say when she goes to CAMHS.I feel like I have failed her as I didn't see/realise how bad she was and felt.She fluctuates between telling me I have been wonderful to saying I should have seen something was wrong.She was spending a lot of time upstairs, she was not going out but she was talking to friends and she had a social life online.I thought that was normal.I feel guilty, she says it started around Nov last year which was when I started working full-time as a teacher.My hours were long and the workload heavy and I'll admit I was having problems and I was under a lot of stress so I probably did miss signs.
It's just hard, I am not sleeping well and am tearful but need to be careful I don't let DD see or project this onto her as I don't want her to feel guilty as she has been so brave admitting how she feels.
I want to treat her normally as in if she is rude etc, deal with it how I would have before but I find I don't want to upset her.It all built up yesterday and we had an argument over something silly.She took off the eyelashes I had paid for her getting and ones she had only had on 4 days and I was annoyed about this, it's silly I know.
I know I need to have someone to talk to in RL but I don't.I don't have many friends and not any I could talk to about this.My husband knows but is not taking it seriously (yet).
How did you get through the early days/are getting through this? I think I am still in shock, I know it isn't about me and I want to be a better mum to support her through this . I guess knowing what might happen will help a little and I have been reading up on CAMHS and have been on the youngminds website several times.
Sorry this is so long, it's a bit of a mind dump, sorry, I just needed to get it out.

gingerhobo, you're doing great. You have recognised your DD has a problem and you're doing everything in your power to get her the help she needs. You aren't superhuman, you can't read her mind to know things she didn't tell you. You can't be all things to all people and have to look after yourself and earn a living too. This stage of your DD's life is just as new to you as it is to her, so it's not like you have any special insight into how she's feeling or how to help her cope. Keep on being the awesome mum you are. She's getting help, hopefully it will be what she needs to find herself again.

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