Body dysmorphic disorder is a very simple and very common. It is a severe type of body image disorder where a human being constantly imagines and visualizes their body as flawed.
However, most who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder seem very normal. The only issue is that they perceive something to be wrong with their appearance and typically, no matter how hard one can try, they cannot be convinced that their appearance is ok.
In the article, “Body Dysmorphic Disorder Dieting Linked to More Suicide Attempts” by Rick Nauert PHD, Nauert states that “More than 75 percent of people with BDD feel life is not worth living or think about suicide in their lifetime, and about 25 percent have a history of a suicide attempt.”
Body dysmorphic disorder is a condition that is related to OCD, aka “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and has resulted in the loss of one young man, Nathaniel Asselin. The father of Nathaniel Asselin has been on a tremendous journey to touch the lives of others by sharing his story. On April 15, 2011, Nathaniel Asselin, 24, committed suicide as the result of a 13-year battle with body dysmorphic disorder. According to family and friends, Nathaniel had been obsessed over his appearance since the fifth grade, causing him to spiral deeper and deeper into depression.
Nathaniel’s mother, Judy Asselin, told a reporter from ABC, “A shaving nick or a small blemish, or even just a bump under the skin would keep him in front of the mirror for hours, applying small pieces of Band aid to cover up the marks.” Furthermore, according to Nathaniel’s mother, her son would tell his parents, “I can’t do this anymore, I can’t wake up in my bed in the morning and do this all over again.” Nathaniel eventually gave up trying to fight the disorder and took his own life in 2011. His act is now inspiring others across the globe to wake up.
Denis Asselin, Nathaniel’s 64-year-old father, took it upon himself to trek, by foot, the 525 miles from his Cheyney, Pennsylvania home to Boston to educate, raise money and awareness for body dysmorphic disorder.
Denis Asselin wrote of his journey in a CNN article titled Dad walks 525 miles after son’s suicide.
“My primary goals are to tell Nathaniel’s story – so that awareness about brain disorders, especially OCD and BDD, can spread far and wide – and to raise much-needed funds for the International OCD Foundation so research and programs can help other sufferers, their families and their friends,” said Asselin.
In Asselin’s article, he states what he has learned from his journey in ten succinct points.
“1. Not many people know about the cruel brain disorder, BDD. They have heard of OCD, but not much about the former. Therefore, I tell them Nathaniel’s story.
2. You can never fully know whose life you will touch by making yourself available to others and by speaking from the heart.
3. The first 10 seconds of my encounters with strangers are the most critical in gaining their attention and their willingness to hear more and to learn more. I usually vary by approach, but I must always choose my first words carefully. They are portals through which connections occur.
4. When you mention brain disorders, you intentionally open the doors for your listeners to also share their stories about similar conditions in their own lives, in their own families and among their own friends. I’m learning to be a good listener.
5. If you put one foot in front of the other, you will eventually get somewhere.
6. Everyone seems to be rushing somewhere, mostly in cars, and don’t seem to be very happy about it. Apparently, increasing one’s speed doesn’t necessarily bring happiness.
7. Acts of kindness still happen in the world based on my direct experiences of the generosity of others during these past weeks.
8. Life doesn’t get any better than when you live it fully outside. Walking outdoors puts you directly in touch with nature but also with yourself.
9. I marvel at my own resilience, resolve, flexibility and spontaneity. I never knew I already had these skills in such huge quantities.
10. The best rule of thumb when walking is to be open, to be attentive, to be present and to let life unfold in [front] of you. I am ‘Walking with Nathaniel.'”
RIP Nathaniel Asselin.
“our hearts and prayers are with your family”
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