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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Just a severe case of low self esteem?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (26784points) May 23rd, 2010

For as long as I can remember I’ve had these days where I just can’t bear to look in the mirror. Lately it feels like those days are taking over my life. It’s not as if I look in the mirror and see that my hair is misbehaving, throw my hands up in the air, and say I’m having a bad hair day. It’s more like my face and body seem to have morphed dramatically from the day before. As if I don’t recognize my physical self because I’ve become so unattractive since the previous day. I logically realize that isn’t possible, and that it’s all in my head.
Sometimes I’ll refuse to leave the house as a result. I catch myself telling my husband that I “feel so repulsive, I can’t let anyone see me this way.” Again, lately, those days where I refuse to leave because I’m afraid that people will look at me have been more and more frequent. I’m not afraid of people or socializing, I just don’t want anyone to actually look at me.
I try reminding myself that it’s just my imagination and that no one else is seeing what I’m seeing, but the longer I stand in front of the mirror trying to get ready, the more frustrated and upset I become. I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve ended up in my bed crying hysterically because I can’t “get dressed”. It drives my family absolutely crazy when I do it and I’d like to stop. I just don’t know how to do that.
Do all women go through this at some point or to some degree? Is there something that I can do to make it better on my own, or has this gotten to the point that I should be seeking help?

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23 Answers

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Marva's avatar

It sounds like you might be suffering from depression. And anyway, why deal with soemthing so hard yourself? councelling can help.

“looking in the miror” is more than just a physical activity, it’s also a process of the conciousness. Sometimes we don’t like what we see when we don’t like our selfs, our lifes, what we have become and where we have gotten.

Everyone deserves to look in the miror and like what they see, sometimes you have to make some changes. Healthy nutrition and sports can make us feel better about ourselfs without regard to the physical effect, which they also contribute to. Changing our patterns of behaviour can make us feel better.

It’s probably time to make a change in your life. and.. why do it all alone? seek councelling and you will have someone with you who understands you.

Jeruba's avatar

Everyone suffers from self-doubt at one time or another, but what you are describing sounds extreme to me. Your perception is distorted.

I am not a mental health professional and can’t advise you as one, but in the course of personal relationships I have never heard a normal healthy person describe symptoms like yours. I have heard something of the sort from a depressed person who said he felt like he was going to “jump out of his skin” if he had to go out into the world for anything.

I’d say you are very fortunate in being able to recognize that something isn’t working right. That gives you a great head start on tackling the problem, compared with someone who believes that her perception is reality.

I strongly agree with @Marva that you should seek counseling. If you have a job that offers an EAP program (employee assistance), start there. If you know someone who can give you a referral, take it. See your doctor otherwise and ask for a recommendation. Don’t crap out on the appointment. Tough it out and go. I’ll bet anyone in your family would be glad to take you.

filmfann's avatar

Every woman I have known (including some extraordinarily beautiful women) have felt this way.
It amazes me how such beautiful women can be loaded with such self-doubt.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Thank you @Marva and @Jeruba , I guess I just need an outside perspective. I don’t like to be one to overreact and sometimes I find that it’s difficult to gauge how “normal” your own behavior is.

Is there anything in particular I can do on my own to change these negative feelings about my appearance while I see what my options are as far as seeking professional counseling?

CaptainHarley's avatar

This sounds to me like quite a bit more than just “poor self-image.” You would be well-advised to seek professional help with this before it gets even worse. Please try to get some help as soon as possible, hon. I’ll be praying for you. [ HUGS ]

dpworkin's avatar

My suggestion is to Google Body Dysmorphic Disorder and see if any of the diagnostic criteria sound familiar to you, and then, if so, seek the aid of a Cognitive-Behavioral counselor of one variety or another.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@dpworkin wow… I try to avoid being one to self diagnose, but that hit extremely close to home, certainly not something I would rule out as a possibility. Thanks to everyone for giving me some direction.

marinelife's avatar

You need counseling now! Your situation is affecting your life.

le_inferno's avatar

This isn’t normal. Like the others, I think counseling is necessary, and I agree with @dpworkin; it sounds like Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Siren's avatar

And get out there! Challenge yourself each day to leave the house, even to go pick up some groceries. In between the counselling (if you seek it), you will notice people around you who are oblivious to your looks and their own. Fear can be very paralyzing but if you challenge that fear you will be rewarded with the realization that you look just fine when you go out and meet with friends and family who enjoy your company.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Thanks @Siren , in fact, I posted this question because I actually made my husband turn the car around and take me home.. probably the first time I’ve ever done something so dramatic. But, I let myself calm down a bit, I fixed my hair and changed my clothes… and now I’m going to run to the store. Good advice – I appreciate it.

Siren's avatar

@TheonlyNeffie: Your welcome. The funny thing about us as individuals is, that we always judge ourselves more harsher than other people do. You would be surprised what people see compared to what we see in the mirror.

I have had many conversations with siblings and friends where the dialogue runs something like this:

Me: look at this on my face!
Friend/family: I didn’t even notice that. I can’t really see it.
Me: It looks awful.
Friend/family: Really? I thought you looked particularly nice today.

And vice versa.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Here’s a touch of Minnesota conselling for you:
Get rid of that 5x magnifying mirror and use a flat one.
Don’t overeat.
Make sure to go outside and get some exercise.
Stay away from alcohol and drugs.
(Good luck to you).

perspicacious's avatar

You should seek help. A discussion here is not going to be very helpful for you. I’m not a professional here, but it seems different from general low self esteem. Try some counseling to help get you on a happier track. I’m glad you have a supportive husband.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@perspicacious of course… I guess I really asked because it’s hard for me to judge whether or not what I am experiencing is within the normal realm of emotions for your average woman. (which, from what I gather from pretty much every reponse… is that it is NOT.)

perspicacious's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie I don’t think it is either. I wish you luck.

MrsDufresne's avatar

Yes, your description sounds like Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I have felt very similar feelings when I was in my early to mid twenties, and later on I found out it was because of a combination of emotional neglect and hormonal imbalance.

Once I got those two things under control, those feelings are no longer a permanent part of me. I’ll admit that the emotional neglect was harder to overcome than the hormonal imbalance, and I still, (albeit rarely), have bouts of feelings like these.

When I do feel like this, I recognize that it is a “manefestation” of my brain to eye perception of my self image, and I step away from the mirror and get some rest with some good music in a dark room. Kind of similar to the home remedy that is recommended to help migraine sufferers.

Marva's avatar

Hi @TheOnlyNeffie,

There are definitly a few things you can do for yourself to better your feeling:

Healthy nutrition and sports, give a lot to to our general good feeling.
A new Hobby, especially something you always wanted to do.
Dropping one old habbit that you really don’t like yourself for doing.
Having more time for yourself.
Walks in nature or if in the city then where there are a lot of trees and you can see the sky.

As for the type of counseling, myself I come from the field of Alternarive Medicine, and I found that there is a variety of alternative approaches for personal and emotional growth that combine therapy through conversation with natural methods such as Reflexology, Homeopathy, and many, many diffrent natural methods.

I practice such techniques myself in Israel, I recieved such sessions myself when I needed counseling, and I find them highly effective and healing.
If you can track someone in your area that does that, I recommend it to you.

Good luck again :)

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Marva thank you, that was excellent advice :) I will make it a point to do those things.

Marva's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie, I am happy to help!

dealrrr's avatar

stop watching T.V. and don’t look at any magazines for 1 month. your obviously beauty obsessed.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@dealrrr I don’t watch TV, and I don’t have any magazine subscriptions, in fact, I might pick one up in the check out line once a year. Just saying. ;) Thanks for your input, though.

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