Body Dysmorphic Disorder


Originally, my concept for The Girl with the Black and Blue Doll was a picture book

to help children understand and deal with their sad feelings. But when I sat down to write the first draft, the story of my own childhood depression poured out along with the details of my dysfunctional family situation. At the time, I didn’t know there was a name for the disorder I came to experience. Body Dysmorphic Disorder was not even recognized as a mental health disorder until 1987. Somewhere between writing my third and fourth draft of this memoir, I discovered information about BDD, recognized myself immediately, and kept going for three more drafts. It’s my hope that my story will help to educate and enlighten families about this treatable disorder which has increased—along with other mental health issues in youth—in these days of TikTok, Facebook, and Photoshopped picture perfection.

From the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation,

“Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is characterized by a preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in appearance which are unnoticeable to others. As well as the excessive self-consciousness, individuals with BDD often feel defined by their flaw. They often experience an image of their perceived defect associated with memories, emotions and bodily sensations – as if seeing the flaw through the eyes of an onlooker, even though what they ‘see’ may be dramatically different to their appearance observed by others. There is no doubt that the symptoms cause significant distress or handicap and there is an increased risk of suicide and attempted suicide.”

Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation,