Updated: Mar 17
Body Dysmorphia. According to the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation, the term Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) describes a disabling preoccupation with perceived defects or flaws in appearance. It can affect both men and women, and makes sufferers excessively self-conscious. They tend to check their appearance repeatedly and try to camouflage or alter the defects they see, often undergoing needless cosmetic treatments. Onlookers are frequently perplexed because they can see nothing out of the ordinary, but BDD causes devastating distress and interferes substantially with the ability to function socially.
We work with a few women who suffer(ed) from this disorder. Our studio is filled with mirrors almost at every turn, which is difficult for some of these women because they spend their lives trying to avoid reflections of themselves, yet, they book a photo session in spite of that for very personal reasons. But most commonly, as we're told, they book as part of their journey in self acceptance. We should note, every women we've knowingly worked with who has BDD, has come back several times. In this blog, we will feature one of these amazing women! (With her permission of course!)
Meet Chrissie! Her very first photo session was a "Mommy & Me" back in 2016. We were fully aware that she was living with body dysmorphia and that she only booked, because she wanted photos with her son and she was doing it for him. She also told us, she wanted to be hidden by her son, in the photos.
She arrived that day for her session. Just as gorgeous as any other woman who'd walked through our doors; radiant smile, bubbly personality and just someone with a very warm disposition that is pleasant to be around. But she was nervous. Nervous when she noticed all the mirrors, particularly.
During the photoshoot, she smiled, laughed with her son and seemed to be enjoying herself. Since we're a photography studio that focuses on body positivity / body acceptance, we encouraged her to take a few photos by herself. You could see the anxiety wash over her face, because it meant she wouldn't have her son to hide behind, but she agreed to a couple.
Since her first session back in 2016, she had a procedure done due to severe reflux that was causing her esophagus to weaken. It was eating away at the walls and eventually it would've collapsed. As a result of that surgery, weight loss was a "side effect". (We will be doing a follow up blog to this one, where she will be explaining a bit more in depth!) Also, since her first session and that procedure, she's booked several more sessions with us. Each time, we could see her progressing on her journey, taking small steps out of her comfort zone. It wasn't until a year and a half ago that she made her biggest step, a session she'd been working towards. The type of session that many of our clients have on their list of session goals because it marks something monumental for them: body acceptance!
What would this "type" of session be?
A topless session.
The sheer pride she had in herself after this session was like finally witnessing a butterfly emerge from her chrysalis after years of watching and waiting, all the while, feeling honored that she'd chosen our studio to be part of this incredible journey of hers.
Now, when she books a session, she always reminds us "Remember, I'm all about leaving comfort zones! I'm up for just about anything!"
What a far cry from being almost panic-ridden and wanting to hide behind her son in her very first session!
Her most recent session was to celebrate another monumental moment in her life: her 40th birthday. Nothing stressful or boundary pushing, just something fun, light-hearted with an 80's theme in celebration of being alive and always showing up for herself!