Over the last few years we have seen the phrase, ‘toxic masculinity’ being used more and more. While the majority of the time this is used to put down men and blame the patriarchy for most of the issues women face in the modern western world; there is actually a massive issue here and it is going largely ignored.
I was born on Friday the 13th. Though many people have a morbid fear of this day known as friggatrisaidekaphobia, it’s always been a delightful day for me. Despite its infamy as the Witches Sabbath, whenever it shows up on the calendar, birthday or not, I celebrate it as “Frigging Friday.” I’ve never been superstitious nor afraid of much, but what I recently discovered about my birthday brings to surface an increasing phobia of my own, chronomentrophobia—the fear of running out of time!
In third grade, much like my mother, or other women in my family, I grew a butt. At eight years old I had curves and had to jump into my pants while skirts were out of the question. One of my more vivid memories from my awfully white elementary school was being in a line, and being picked out by a girl with the "normal," kid body type. According to this girl my butt was too big, and I needed to do more squats. Without any knowledge of the effect that squats have on your glutes, I sat out doing squats for as long as my young body could manage. The wooden floors in my room creaked as I went up and down, not seeing any change in my curves that kept on increasing. This memory that is sempiternal in my brain wasn't the start of a successful fitness journey, but the beginning of my mild battle with Body Dysmorphia.
You may have never heard about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). It’s not something that’s often talked about in wider society, but as someone who works in Pediatrics (young people’s health services) I hear the term used frequently. I even have the disorder myself. A lot of children and adults don’t know about the condition until they come to our services, so I decided to write a brief explanation of what the condition is, and what it means for adults and children with the condition.
Body dysmorphic disorder is a condition that most of us can relate to or have experienced to some degree. Everyone has something that they dislike or would gladly change about their physical appearance, and the fact that they can’t may bring certain levels of discomfort or distress. Though, for an increasing number of us, body dysmorphia is a condition so malevolent that it has debilitating effects on a person’s everyday life, to the point where it completely consumes them and dominates their every thought. Typically, people associate the condition with young girls who are obsessed with their weight, yet it affects a scope of different people and can manifest itself in various ways. For example, muscle dysmorphia (a subtype of BDD) concerns the sufferer’s thoughts and beliefs regarding their body mass, primarily believing that they are not muscular enough and obsessing over the idea of ‘perfection’.
I'm pretty sure most of us know who Peter Pan is; the boy who could fly, and was sometimes shown with Tinker Bell at his side, the boy who lived but didn't grow up! Yeah, well that's NOT who i'm going to be writing about. This disorder actually can be related to how Peter Pan lives and who he is.
In my last post I gave a little introduction to myself that included a brief overview of my experience of being a dancer and how it made me who I am. I would recommend giving that one a read if you haven’t already. As I said, I am a dancer (despite my lack of actual classes at the moment). Once a dancer always a dancer. The many years of classes and exams made me a very tough and enduring person. But it also gave me the chance to view myself in a way that most people won’t. There is a large difference between looking at yourself in a mirror in the bathroom and standing in a leotard and tights in front of a wall of mirrors and needing to critique the shapes you are making with your body. There is a lot of self-criticism that comes with being a dancer, and this criticism can become all-consuming if you have the predisposition to obsessive behaviour and thought, which I do.
Many people hate having their food touch, touching dirty plates, or finding things in their food. Many of those same people might not realize that they are suffering from one or both of the phobias called brumotactillophobia (fear of food touching) and mysophobia (fear of contamination).
This is not medical advice. All opinions in this article are based on personal experience and independent research. If you have any concerns about you or someone you know, please seek the appropriate supports.
Any information given is based upon my experience and is not to replace medical or psychiatric care.
I've never met anyone quite like myself. On the one hand, I'm weirdly proud of that. On the other, I am isolated in loneliness and fear.