Facing Up to Self-Hatred

Daily Mail (London), March 8, 2000 | Go to article overview

Facing Up to Self-Hatred


Byline: PETER PATERSON

Inside Story: Looks That Kill (BBC1); Giving Up For Good (BBC1) UNTIL a month ago, few of us, I assume, had ever heard of an illness called body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD, but already it's on TV and we're told there are 400,000 sufferers in the country.

It would be comic if it weren't so tragic, for this is the psychological disorder that only recently came into the news when a Scottish surgeon - at the urgent request of the patient, and in what was judged to be in his best interests amputated the perfectly sound limb of a victim of BDD.

Thus, it was scarcely necessary for last night's Inside Story to bother explaining that BDD is a condition in which the patient hates some aspect of their body or their looks, and will severely harm themselves, even to the point of death, to try to change their appearance.

Now it seems there are hundreds of thousands of people with BDD.

How do we know if that's true, and does it include anyone who dislikes mole or thinks their nose or backside is too big?

It sometimes seems that the entire country has some collective form of hypochondria: no wonder the NHS can't cope.

The first part of this documentary, with its grisly title, Looks That Kill, I found almost unbearable to watch.

It concentrated on one individual, 21-year-old Gail who is struggling, with the help of a psychiatrist, to overcome BDD. In director John Furse she met the ideal filmmaker, for, as he revealed early on, he too suffered from BDD more than 30 years ago and conquered it.

First, however, we heard the shrink talking about cases of BDD he had come across: people giving themselves a facelift with a stapling machine, or filing down their teeth to improve their jaw line (though, thank goodness, he didn't get into amputations).

Gail, he said, was cutting herself to reduce what she thought was fat - a kind of do-it-yourself lipo-suction.

Gail is a perfectly pleasant-looking girl, with a trim figure and a charming smile, a boyfriend, a job, and a talent for singing, and her case turned out to be rather more complicated than we'd supposed.

Tragically, she insists that she looks like the Elephant Man or Punch and Judy, 'really, really old', and that her appearance disgusts people.

As someone who thoroughly dislikes all medical matters, I almost switched off the TV as Gail told John Furse: 'The thing I think about a lot is chopping myself up into little pieces. I get excited by the thought because I'm going to do that one day, and that's what needs to be done.' AND I became more alarmed still as she displayed the evidence of her compulsion to hurt herself - the myriad scars on her left arm - and spoke of sticking her hand down her throat to try to rip her insides out. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Facing Up to Self-Hatred
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.