Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Male Dysmorphic Disorder
The disadvantage of working in the mental health field is that all my colleagues like to diagnose each other....to label whatever minor or major weirdness in an effort to hone one's clinical skills and alleviate boredom during slow periods at work. One such co-worker suggested that I may be suffering from a dysmorphic disorder; more commonly known as an eating disorder due to a false self image of one's own body.
Well hell........as if I don't have enough to worry about.
I really don't think I have an eating disorder. Sure, I like food but the tendency to overeat and eat the wrong foods don't come from any deep seated psychological trauma, just bad habits. Though I often feel guilty if I've overindulged, I've certainly never contemplated purging as a means of canceling out a big pig out. I hate vomiting. Thinking about it makes me want to..well..vomit.
I also don't believe I have a faulty self image of myself. I think I'm fat but I know that I'm not near the gut dragging size of many men my age. I spent some time in the courthouse yesterday doing what I do most times when I'm summoned to testify about a case; sit in the hallway and wait, and wait, and wait. While waiting I was noticing all the lawyers scurrying to and fro with enormous bellies protruding like cowcatchers on locomotives. Even cops, who I assumed must keep some level of fitness for their jobs, looked like they were about to give birth to twins. I loved it because it made the self image I had of my body soar.
So what do I want? To be like the photo above?
Not really. I just want to have a flattened stomach. A defined chest and arms. Legs too would be nice. I want to wear clothing because I like them rather to hide my body. I want to be slimmer so that I can be more active. I want to be healthier so that I can live longer. As my role model and hero Terry says, "I want to extend my best if used by date".
I'm pretty sure that the guy at work is wrong about his diagnosis of my mental disorder. At least that's what the voices are telling me.