Kitty courageously shares her story of BDD and journey of recovery.
In this podcast episode, Kitty explores her experience of ‘feeling different’, feeling like a failure in adolescence, and then first realising she had BDD. She discusses some of her common safety behaviours, checking compulsions and the all consuming experience of BDD.
“I certainly wasn’t seeking perfection, I was seeking normality. How can I blend in with everyone else… I felt that everyone was staring at me all the time.”
Kitty managed to endure her time through school, despite her symptoms of BDD already being very overwhelming. When she moved back home, things became unbearable. Luckily, a family friend highlighted to her that BDD might be what she was going through, and from here her journey of recovery began. After reaching out to the BDD Foundation, she began engaging in therapy and first started her involvement volunteering with the BDD Foundation.
“I thought I was the only person in the world feeling like this. I didn’t see a future for myself, at all.”
They also explore the treatment for BDD, exposure and response prevention exercises, and the important and common issue of shame experienced in BDD and how we can reduce this feeling.
“My average time to get ready at the age of 18 or 19, was around 4 hours. I ached all over from being hunched over in the mirror. I was honing in and trying to pick up on every problem with my face, but I couldn’t fix it.”
Kitty and Rebecca also speak about the topic of relapse, a very common experience for individuals with BDD. She shares the pain of relapse, finding the motivation to ‘try again’, re-engage in therapy and the journey up to present day.
“I felt the most hopeless that I’d felt throughout my journey. I had to step back from work and move back in with my parents, and just totally retreated from the world. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of it.”
Kitty found the drive to try again, after being house bound for months. She shares the hurdles she overcame through this and the feeling of starting from scratch. However, she found that the work she had done before, supported her ability to engage in the exercises again and strengthen those new pathways.
“The second time around it’s been more gradual. That doesn’t mean there aren’t days where the BDD is more in charge than I would like it to be, but it’s been a more consistent recovery. Mainly, what’s made the difference is being kinder to myself, being gentle with myself and not beating myself up when I can’t do something.”
This is such an insightful and important conversation, thank you Kitty and Rebecca.