James Hicks, M.D., 50 SIGNS OF MENTAL ILLNESS (Yale University Press)

Dr. James Hicks
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Body Image Problems

You can't go out looking like this. You've scrubbed your face three times and reapplied lotion, but you still look blotchy and pocked. You look up and down at yourself in the mirror. The bathroom light hitting your nose looks like the sun rising over an Arizona rock formation. How can you talk to anyone when you look like this? You promised your best friend that you would go out with him, but you can see now that you'll end up hiding somewhere while he parties.

You pick at your cheeks. You grab the can of hair gel and try to finger your hair a little more. Maybe that'll soften your look so no one will notice your face.

Your friend shouts for you to hurry up. He tells you that you look fine. He says he likes your new shirt. Obviously he won't mention what a mess your face is. You slam the door and shout out to him that you're sorry, but you just can't go.

This chapter covers the following topics:

  • Body Image Problems
  • Body Image Preoccupations Are a Feature of Several Other Illnesses
  • How to Cope with Imagined Body Defects


This excerpt may not be reproduced without written permission from the publishers.
Fifty Signs of Mental Illness: A Guide to Understanding Mental Health
Yale University Press / New Haven and London
Copyright © 2005 by James Whitney Hicks

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