Tag Archive | "body dysmorphia"

Do You Have Body Dysmorphia?

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Do You Have Body Dysmorphia?

mirror-e1434213722416. For potentially millions of Americans, depression, addiction,  steroid abuse, eating disorders, and broken relationships are common byproducts.

So what is the down and dirty of BDD? Experts characterize BDD as a condition marked by sometimes disabling preoccupation with imagined or exaggerated defects of physical appearance. Many experts consider BDD a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. The disorder is fairly common, affecting as many as 2% of the population, and has been known to psychiatric experts for over a century.

Read The Rest  At PsychCentral.com

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Pills, Booze And A .45 In my Mouth

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Pills, Booze And A .45 In my Mouth

BrianCubanBrian Cuban is a an author whose  best-selling book “Shattered Image: My Triumph Over Body Dysmorphic Disorder” chronicles his first-hand experiences living with, and recovering from childhood bullying, eating disorders and Body Dysmorphia Disorder (BDD) and drug addiction.  Brian speaks regularly to about his recovery and breaking the male eating disorder stigma.  You can purchase Shattered Image here   If you would like Brian to speak to your university, group or organization please email alana@arlangroup.com

July 22, 2005. A dark room. Table, desk, chairs. With me is a staff psychiatrist of the Green Oaks Psychiatric Facility. I have heard of Green Oaks—it isn’t far from my home in Dallas. Now, in the room with the psychiatrist, scenes of Jack Nicolson and One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest go through my muddled mind. I am in the middle of a crisis and I’m thinking about movies. Nearby are my brothers. As I sit and listen to the doctor’s questions, I have a vague recollection of my younger brother rousing me from my bed, an angry confrontation, my .45 automatic lying on my nightstand. Then shock and confusion on the drive to the treatment center.

The residuals of cocaine, Xanax, and Jack Daniels are still coursing through my veins, but the fog is lifting slightly. Raging anger is settling in its place. Battle lines are being drawn in my mind. They want to take me prisoner. It’s war. I’ll lead the inmate rebellion.

Questions from the shrink pierce my anger like tracer rounds. What drugs have you taken? How are you feeling? Are you nuts! I’m angry! Do I want to hurt myself? Yes! Maybe! Not sure. Not sure of anything. The anger is too powerful. I believe if I died it would teach everyone a lesson. My family. The kids who ripped my pants off. My mother. Myself, for being unable to fix the distorted reflection I see in the mirror each day. I can’t tell him that! What answer will get me out of here? In the back of my mind, what’s left of the lawyer takes over. I know that my family can’t commit me, but he can. Proceed with caution. “If I wanted to hurt myself there would have been bullets in the gun.” I don’t mention the fact that the person I had asked for bullets had ratted me out to my brothers. And I don’t mention that I had been “practicing” sticking the barrel of the gun in my mouth and dry-firing the gun. I drift away, thinking about that night with the gun, the barrel in my mouth, my confused beagle watching from the doorway.

Ripped back to reality. Voices in the room. The doctor is talking to me again. When was the last time I used cocaine? I am pretty sure it has been recently, since it was all over the room when my brother showed up. I had become the consummate liar in hiding the obvious cocaine habit from my family. It’s that damn persistent cold that used to appear mysteriously every weekend. Now it’s a daily occurrence. No one is buying it in this room.

Yelling. Accusations. All coming from me. I am angry at my brothers. I hate you! I want your attention! Now I have it! I am an eleven-year-old child, lashing out at my mother who is a thousand miles away. They have taken away my control. What control? I am out of control. Anyone in my line of sight is fair game. I’m blaming my brothers for everything that has gone wrong in my life. Why are they trying to hold me back? When I am on drugs, I am their equal. I can’t even look at them. If I would only look them in the eye, I would see nothing but love and concern. I look at the table. I look at my shoes. I find that fixed point on the floor that provides me comfort. I wish that shrink would stop asking me questions! The shrink is my enemy. My brothers, They have betrayed me. They are calm. Trying to make sure I am still above ground tomorrow.

I notice the room is not really dark. Sunlight pours through the windows, but I am in the darkest of places. I remember seeking a release of everything in me. Need those bullets! Too coked up and Xanaxed down to go out and buy some. Who do I know that can help?

More questions. Do I think I need help? Will I go to rehab? Sure, whatever will get me out of here. I lash out again. They have no right to do this. Blaming them for the darkness is so much easier than seeing the light. The doctor is asking calm focused questions, to ascertain whether I am a danger to myself. At times I am calm in my answers. At times I am crying, agitated at him, then my brothers. Quit asking the same questions! I know your game! Quit treating me like an idiot!

So alone. More and more I start to feel like the shy, introverted boy I once was. I’m no longer the sophisticated, in-shape, cover model I created in my imagination—the myth that drugs and alcohol and eating disorders and steroids and plastic surgery helped to make. The desperate delusions of a mind distorted.

Up until now, each day has been a battle to see someone different when I looked in the mirror. But in this room there is no reflection. I’m unshaven. Unkempt. I reek of booze and days of neglected hygiene. I’m as raw and vulnerable as I could possibly be. I’m exposed. And I can no longer escape the stark reality of how I was getting by day by day.

An hour has passed. The room is getting brighter. The love and calm of my brothers soothes me. Quiets me. Softens me. It’s always been there. I wasn’t there. I was thinking only of me. My next high. My next drink. Without the drugs, what am I going to see in the mirror each morning? My brothers calm me, and I begin to focus on my love for my family. Arms are around me. Holding me. I begin to feel the love through my shell. They are not the enemy. There is a pinhole of real light beginning to expand. Should I go to rehab? What about twelve-step? I’m still on the defensive, but I am now listening for a moment at least. Have to grab those moments. They don’t come often.


After the one-hour psych evaluation, I was taken home from Green Oaks, wondering how I had taken myself to the brink of eternity so quickly. In reality, it was not quick. It was a cumulative lifetime descent with just enough good moments to blind me to the reality of the slide. Even in addiction and body dysmorphia there were good moments in my life.

It was decided that a facility out of state and away from the mirrors, coke addicts, and obsolete environment of self-loathing I had created for myself would be the best course of action. But ultimately I would not go.

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Dreaming Of Past Bullies(Shattered Image Excerpt)

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Dreaming Of Past Bullies(Shattered Image Excerpt)


I have recurring dreams. Scenes from law school, struggles with addiction, and failed relationships are in constant re-run.  They are vivid and colorful. Like full length movies played out in my subconscious . They say this is common with recovering addicts. That’s what they say.

This particular dream begins as I arrive at a party. I’m by myself as I walk into a dark, empty room. I am embarrassed and alone. I don’t want to be alone. Even in my dream,I can feel the emptiness in my stomach. The ache of loneliness and isolation. I want to be accepted and popular. I know high school classmates will be showing up, and I want to be included in their fun. I order a diet coke. The bartender tells me they do not serve it. He offers me a Jack Daniels and Diet-Coke, my drink of choice pre-sobriety. I take the drink from him but I can’t raise the glass to my mouth. My arm won’t move.. I go to the bathroom to do a line of coke. I’m can’t snort it. The cocaine is just out of reach of the straw. The white powder vaporizing into the ether of the dream. There is always a barrier keeping me from drawing anything into my blood that will transform me into the Brian I want to see in the mirror every morning. Attractive, slim and confident. The Brian I never see. Sometimes I wake up with the familiar, peculiar smell of cocaine in my nose, the smell of ether and baby laxative. They say that is a sign of recovery. So they say.

I am walking through the room. I see a high school classmate. He said he was my friend. Before he and others assaulted me and tore my pants off.  Exposing my fat, ugly body to the world.  He is sixteen, I am fifty-one. He wants nothing to do with me. He makes fun of my weight. I run to to the bathroom and  look in the mirror.  I am no longer a heavy teenager. I am a grown, mature adult. Why is he making fun of my weight? Doesn’t he see me? The room is filling up. More high school classmates. More bullies of my childhood. They are all teens. How did I get so old? I ask “Can I join your group?” They all laugh and otherwise ignore me. I am right here! You know me! The room gets darker.  I can no longer see them. The familiar feeling, the familiar ache. The loneliness. An empty, gut-wrenching void. Wanting to scream in my dream with only a guttural groan emanating from my sleeping mouth.  Dream shifts. I am standing up against the gym wall at the high school dance, wishing someone would talk to me. They are back. My childhood bullies appear again. . They start pulling at and tearing my clothes, exposing me. I am crying. I am screaming. Why Don’t You Like Me!  They laugh in response. I am awake. The ache is still with me. The nighttime remnants of a once shattered image. It will fade. Hopefully a different re-run tomorrow night.

Dreams fade to morning, and morning brings with it decisions that will have consequences for both the mind and body. The choices I make through the day can leave me feeling calm and happy by sundown, or feeling like I’m still stuck in a nightmare. But this feeling is not a dream. It is the reality of Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Brian Cuban is a an author whose  best-selling book “Shattered Image: My Triumph Over Body Dysmorphic Disorder” chronicles his first-hand experiences living with, and recovering from childhood bullying, eating disorders and Body Dysmorphia Disorder (BDD) and drug addiction.  Brian speaks regularly about his recovery and breaking the male eating disorder stigma.


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People Are Talking About Shattered Image!

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People Are Talking About Shattered Image!

Brian-Cuban-8193-1Shattered Image is the story of my struggle with, and recovery from, a compulsive behavior clinically known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). That struggle has included recovery from bulimia, anorexia, alcoholism, and addiction to cocaine and steroids. I also suffer from clinical depression. For decades, I engaged in self-destructive behavior with the single goal of correcting a terribly distorted sense of self-image, a self-image rooted in early life experiences.  Release date is August 2013. Here is what is already being said about the book!


In a field strewn with myth and fiction, Cuban provides us with an absorbing account of his struggle with body dysmorphic disorder, giving a human face to a scientific problem. In my years of working in addiction medicine, I have seen that sometimes it is easier for a patient to realize the need to seek help when they see themselves in the stories of others; Cuban’s book is an important addition to scientific texts, and we are all the richer for it.”

Andrea G. Barthwell, MD, FASAM Past President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and Former Deputy Director of Demand Reduction, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy


 “Shattered Image is one man’s compelling and rare account of his long struggle with and recovery from body dysmorphic disorder. In my professional experience, BBD is a condition that is not often recognized, and I am thankful that Cuban is shedding light on the eating disorders, alcoholism, drug addiction, depression and other psychiatric illnesses that can result from it.” 

Gerald A. Melchiode, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry,  UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Tx


“Shattered Image is infused with relentless resilience in the face of  the eating disorders, addiction and despair often associated with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.  Brian Cuban’s candid revelations of the human spirit’s ability to overcome significant obstacles will strengthen and encourage all who are fortunate to read this page turner.”


Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC
President, Eating Disorder Hope  Fort Worth, Texas



Having helped people learn to lose weight and keep it off for more than 25 years, I now believe Brian Cuban has had the courage to open an emotional door that will give both men and women a true understanding of how they perceive their body image and unlock that door for a lifetime of success!”

Larry North

Healthy Living Lifestyle Expert, Bestselling Author of Get Fit and Living Lean


“Brian Cuban tackles a subject nobody talks about with honesty, grace, and hope. This book will help countless people.”

Bob Beaudine Author of the best-selling book The Power of WHO & CEO of Eastman and Beaudine


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