Not many people know this, but I have a condition called Body Dysmorphia. Don't know what that is? Here, Wikipedia can help :
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD, also known as body dysmorphia, dysmorphic syndrome; originally dysmorphophobia) is achronic mental illness, a somatoform disorder, wherein the afflicted individual is concerned with body image, manifested as excessive concern about and preoccupation with a perceived defect of their physical appearance. An individual with BDD has perpetual negative thoughts about their appearance; in the majority of cases, an individual suffering from BDD is obsessed with a minor or imagined flaw. Afflicted individuals think they have a defect in either one or several features of their body, which causes psychological and clinically significant distress or impairs occupational or social functioning. BDD often co-occurs with depression,anxiety, social withdrawal, and social isolation.
The causes of body dysmorphic disorder vary for each person, but are usually a combination of biological, psychological, andenvironmental factors. It may occur in children and adults. The symptoms of body dysmorphia include depression, social phobia, and obsessive compulsive disorder.BDD is linked to a diminished quality of life, can be co-morbid with major depressive disorder and social phobia (chronic social anxiety) and is associated with suicidal ideation. BDD can be treated with either psychotherapy or psychiatric medication. Although originally a mental-illness diagnosis usually applied to women, body dysmorphic disorder also occurs in men. Approximately one percent of adults meet the diagnostic criteria for body dysmorphic disorder.
Did you know that the amazingly talented and gorgeous Shirley Manson of the epic rock band Garbage suffers from this condition as well??
It is a daily struggle for me and I have been in a work-in-progress mode forever and ever. It is not a healthy state of mind to be in, and to be suffering from bipolar and depression is not helping either. Yes. I have those conditions but I made a firm decision to not resort to clinical treatments for many personal reasons.
On the 17th of February 2014, I did something that I only realise that I would regret much later. It was the 2nd step to a dental veneer procedure that I have arranged for about a few years back, but needed some time to save up for it (the first step was laser whitening and I should have JUST.STOPPED.THERE.)The second step was selective shaving where the dentist would shave the teeth to shape them to a desired shape, or create the illusion of straighter teeth. All those years of research and gawking at my teeth daily built up the anticipation to achieving a perfect smile makeover, and to add salt to my existent wounds, my first experience appearing on national television scarred my mental health and self confidence immensely. I was really upset with how my teeth looked and sometimes I would wonder why did my parents not get my smile corrected. Braces were not an option as I refused to suffer 7 years of pain, teeth removal and teeth implants screwed in for my lack of teeth to work with, and according to the professional opinions of the 4 different orthodontists that I have consulted with in Malaysia and Thailand, they insisted that even with braces, I would still need to have some form of maxillofacial surgery performed to my jaw as I had a strange overbite and crossbite. CUT MY JAW?? That sounded insane and too painful for me to bear as I have an extremely low pain threshold. So, I opted for the most effective, fastest and most expensive form of cosmetic dentistry - PORCELAIN VENEERS.
Don't get me wrong, my dentist is excellent, patient and for someone like me who is afraid of needles and suffered terrible phobia of dentists as a result from petrifying childhood dental experiences, he is truly God-sent. The teeth shaving process took an hour and I had to have anaesthesia injected to my gums as it would hurt my sensitive teeth. I almost threw up a few times and hyperventilated as I have a terrible gag reflex whenever there is anything foreign put in my mouth for too long. I couldn't breathe properly and felt feelings of regret seep in throughout the procedure.
At the end of the procedure, my face was swollen and I could not control my excessive drool. I saw the comparisons of the before and after photos of my teeth on the dentist's computer and was super impressed at how straight my teeth looked, even though the position of the teeth could not be corrected. However my teeth hurts so much every time I drink or attempt to eat something, I just cannot brush it and rinsing with mouthwash is just a nightmare. I felt pangs of guilt and sadness and cried to myself endlessly as I studied the photos of my modified teeth. I realised that I hated the new shape and I missed my perfectly imperfect smile. I loved my bunny buck teeth and even when it's so crooked, my smile had character and I looked far more endearing and sweet. My new teeth reeked of false perfection that I loathed. They were too small and made me look like I was wearing dentures.
I HATE MY NEW TEETH. There I said it. And the veneers are not going to be ready until the end of February. I have no idea how I would feel when those are glued on permanently on my existing teeth and since it is going to be quite white, I worry that I may look like I have Chiclets for teeth. So much for a Hollywood smile makeover. I guess perfection is not for everyone.
Sigh! I love my old smile and my old teeth. And this extremely expensive lesson learnt taught me something valuable about myself, but unfortunately I cannot turn back time (why am I not Michael J. Fox??!) and I cannot grow my teeth longer to it's original size. It's my own fault as I allowed myself to be affected by what people said about me, I let vanity got the better of me and now I have eternal regrets to live with and a smile that I absolutely loathe. I loathe it because that is not who I am. That's not a Sharon Chong smile.
The REAL problem was that I simply did not like myself. There were no terrible issues with how I looked really but I kept telling myself that there must be something really wrong with me all the time. It took me this far to realise that I actually loved and felt comfortable with all my perfect flaws and quirks. I LOVED MYSELF BECAUSE THAT WAS ME, FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE. I am disappointed in myself and angry and bitter and sad and everything negative moulded into one. Now I have no choice but to get through the whole process and suffer a broken piggy bank for the cost of being an insecure vain pot.
Why couldn't I just allowed myself to be happy with myself? Why did I not love myself more and see past through this superficial perfection rubbish?
I have only myself to blame.
I can only pray that I will learn to like myself better and treat myself with only love and goodness.
Lesson learnt.I'm sorry mum. You knew best. Now please excuse me as I reminisce on my old teeth and bash myself silly.
|THE STUPID CLOSE UP ON TV THAT RESULTED IN MY DECISION TO HAVE VENEERS.|
|YES. I HAD BROWN MISPLACED BUNNY BUCK TEETH. I WOULD GLADLY HAVE THEM BACK ANYTIME.|
|EVEN WITH MY IMPERFECT TEETH, MANY PEOPLE COMMENTED THAT I HAD BEAUTIFUL TEETH HERE THAT WAS TOOTHPASTE COMMERCIAL WORTHY.|
|THE LAST PHOTO TAKEN BEFORE I WHITENED MY TEETH. IT LOOKS PERFECTLY FINE TO ME NOW. WELL DONE SHARON. YOU ARE AN IDIOT.|
|THIS WAS RIGHT AFTER THE WHITENING SESSION. THIS WAS PERFECT. I SHOULD HAVE STOPPED HERE.|
|THE MORNING AFTER THE WHITENING SESSION. LOOKS PERFECT TO ME.|
|MY TEETH STILL LOOKED GOOD TWO DAYS AFTER THE WHITENING SESSION.|
|I REALLY LOVE AND MISS MY TEETH. THIS WAS PERFECT. IT WAS ENOUGH. STUPID ME. REGRETS.|
I AM SORRY MUM.