“There aren’t enough days on a calendar to tell you how many times I’ve wanted to leave my wife,” Sam told me. “I’m a very loyal person, and I love her. But at times it gets to be too much. She’s late when we go out, and sometimes she won’t go at all. She can get so wrapped up in her obsessions that she ignores me completely. She doesn’t give the children the attention they need. BDD is the selfish disease.”
Sam sometimes accompanied his wife, Beth, to her sessions with me and told me about how he tried to cope with her illness. “My wife has had this problem for decades,” he said. “No one knew what it was.” I heard about Beth’s fixation on her nose and the many unsuccessful surgeries she’d had. Her preoccupation had made it difficult for her to raise her children. Later, after they’d grown, she had a hard time focusing on a job; she wanted to work, but had been largely unemployed.
“This is a problem that affects family members, too,” Sam told me. “I know
how hard it’s been for her. But it’s also had a major impact on me. I hope this doesn’t sound too selfish, but sometimes I think I’ve suffered as much as my wife!”
Sam and Beth had been married for ten years. Beth’s previous husband had left her because of her symptoms. “You might be skeptical that that was the reason, that it was because of my nose obsession,” she told me. “Some people think it’s an excuse—that he really left me for some other reason. But it was mostly because of the BDD. I hounded him all day long. I’d plead with him to help me find another surgeon, and I’d constantly talk about how surgery would solve my appearance problem. We hardly had a social life. When we went out, I’d be late a lot of the time. I’d be in the mirror putting on makeup and styling and restyling my hair to make my nose look smaller. Sometimes I wouldn’t go to social events at all because I thought I looked so bad. That really drove him crazy.
“I did manage to raise my children and actually did a pretty good job, I think, but it was very hard. I don’t know how I did it. I was so focused on my nose. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was really hard for my husband, because he ended up working two jobs and doing a lot of the child care too. I don’t want you to think I was a total basket case—I wasn’t—but life was a lot harder with my problem. My husband finally got fed up, and he left me.”
Like Beth’s first husband, Sam had gotten very involved in her disorder. At her insistence, Sam held magnifying mirrors and bright lights so she could get a better look at her nose, a ritual that could take more than an hour a day. Beth talked to him incessantly about her nose, saying she wanted surgery and asking if her nose looked okay. “The questioning is especially hard,” Sam told me. “No matter what I say, she doesn’t really believe me. She just asks me again and again! I don’t know what to say.” They’d missed family get-togethers and had few friends because his wife felt too ugly to be around other people. A few times Sam even drove her to an emergency room because she’d looked in the mirror and considered suicide.
“There’s no worse illness on earth than BDD,” Sam told me many times. “People who haven’t lived with it probably wouldn’t understand, but this is the most devastating thing in the world. I’ve seen death. I’ve seen murder. This is as bad…. Maybe it’s harder for me than my wife because I’m more helpless than her. I can’t do anything about it.”
One of the most difficult things for Sam was the isolation. “I’ve felt very alone because friends and family don’t understand. I’ve mostly dealt with this on my own. I took a risk and told a few relatives, but they don’t understand it; they think it’s strange. But it’s the most devastating illness there is.”
Like Beth’s first husband, Sam had thoughts of leaving his wife. Nonetheless, he resolved to stand by her. Beth eventually got much better with sertraline (Zoloft), and the strain on their marriage diminished.
Sam’s story isn’t unusual. I’ve met countless husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, parents, and friends who’ve lived with BDD. They’ve been deeply affected by the disorder and have struggled to find ways to cope.
of my skin obsession,” he told me. “I was totally obsessed. Sometimes it wasn’t so bad, but when it got really bad, I’d miss work and I wouldn’t go out. I’d even spend entire weekends in bed. I’d feel that life wasn’t worth living and I totally ignored my wife. I was completely wrapped up in the obsession.
“We couldn’t agree about whether to have children. My wife wanted to, but I was afraid that with my symptoms I wouldn’t be able to take responsibility for a child. I had a hard enough time taking care of myself. My wife stuck it out with me for a couple of years. But eventually she couldn’t take it anymore, and she left me. If I didn’t have the disorder, I think we’d still be together today.
*395\204\8*

BDD – “THE SELFISH DISEASE”: A HUSBAND’S PERSPECTIVE”There aren’t enough days on a calendar to tell you how many times I’ve wanted to leave my wife,” Sam told me. “I’m a very loyal person, and I love her. But at times it gets to be too much. She’s late when we go out, and sometimes she won’t go at all. She can get so wrapped up in her obsessions that she ignores me completely. She doesn’t give the children the attention they need. BDD is the selfish disease.”Sam sometimes accompanied his wife, Beth, to her sessions with me and told me about how he tried to cope with her illness. “My wife has had this problem for decades,” he said. “No one knew what it was.” I heard about Beth’s fixation on her nose and the many unsuccessful surgeries she’d had. Her preoccupation had made it difficult for her to raise her children. Later, after they’d grown, she had a hard time focusing on a job; she wanted to work, but had been largely unemployed.”This is a problem that affects family members, too,” Sam told me. “I knowhow hard it’s been for her. But it’s also had a major impact on me. I hope this doesn’t sound too selfish, but sometimes I think I’ve suffered as much as my wife!”Sam and Beth had been married for ten years. Beth’s previous husband had left her because of her symptoms. “You might be skeptical that that was the reason, that it was because of my nose obsession,” she told me. “Some people think it’s an excuse—that he really left me for some other reason. But it was mostly because of the BDD. I hounded him all day long. I’d plead with him to help me find another surgeon, and I’d constantly talk about how surgery would solve my appearance problem. We hardly had a social life. When we went out, I’d be late a lot of the time. I’d be in the mirror putting on makeup and styling and restyling my hair to make my nose look smaller. Sometimes I wouldn’t go to social events at all because I thought I looked so bad. That really drove him crazy.”I did manage to raise my children and actually did a pretty good job, I think, but it was very hard. I don’t know how I did it. I was so focused on my nose. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was really hard for my husband, because he ended up working two jobs and doing a lot of the child care too. I don’t want you to think I was a total basket case—I wasn’t—but life was a lot harder with my problem. My husband finally got fed up, and he left me.”Like Beth’s first husband, Sam had gotten very involved in her disorder. At her insistence, Sam held magnifying mirrors and bright lights so she could get a better look at her nose, a ritual that could take more than an hour a day. Beth talked to him incessantly about her nose, saying she wanted surgery and asking if her nose looked okay. “The questioning is especially hard,” Sam told me. “No matter what I say, she doesn’t really believe me. She just asks me again and again! I don’t know what to say.” They’d missed family get-togethers and had few friends because his wife felt too ugly to be around other people. A few times Sam even drove her to an emergency room because she’d looked in the mirror and considered suicide.”There’s no worse illness on earth than BDD,” Sam told me many times. “People who haven’t lived with it probably wouldn’t understand, but this is the most devastating thing in the world. I’ve seen death. I’ve seen murder. This is as bad…. Maybe it’s harder for me than my wife because I’m more helpless than her. I can’t do anything about it.”One of the most difficult things for Sam was the isolation. “I’ve felt very alone because friends and family don’t understand. I’ve mostly dealt with this on my own. I took a risk and told a few relatives, but they don’t understand it; they think it’s strange. But it’s the most devastating illness there is.”Like Beth’s first husband, Sam had thoughts of leaving his wife. Nonetheless, he resolved to stand by her. Beth eventually got much better with sertraline (Zoloft), and the strain on their marriage diminished.Sam’s story isn’t unusual. I’ve met countless husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, parents, and friends who’ve lived with BDD. They’ve been deeply affected by the disorder and have struggled to find ways to cope.of my skin obsession,” he told me. “I was totally obsessed. Sometimes it wasn’t so bad, but when it got really bad, I’d miss work and I wouldn’t go out. I’d even spend entire weekends in bed. I’d feel that life wasn’t worth living and I totally ignored my wife. I was completely wrapped up in the obsession.”We couldn’t agree about whether to have children. My wife wanted to, but I was afraid that with my symptoms I wouldn’t be able to take responsibility for a child. I had a hard enough time taking care of myself. My wife stuck it out with me for a couple of years. But eventually she couldn’t take it anymore, and she left me. If I didn’t have the disorder, I think we’d still be together today.*395\204\8*

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks

Random Posts