Wednesday, December 27, 2006

body dysphoria

I've written about this before. But really, is anyone reading the 2 years of archives? Of course not.
I have no sense of my body. It's called dysphoria. Usually you hear about it in relation to those who feel male but have female bodies, or vice versa (gender dysphoria). I have body dysphoria.
One night a week or so ago, I was lying in the bed reading and for some reason I started to think about my body. I shut my eyes and tried to use the kinesthetic sense to feel where it was. (That's how you know, for instance, where your hand is when your eyes are closed. It's not related to the sense of touch.)
I concentrated really hard and came to the realization that I was floating an inch or so off the bed. Not that I was levitating--that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that the parts of me I could FEEL and SENSE were not touching the bed. In other words, I can't feel my fat. I know it sounds stupid and it makes no sense. I know I'm fat. I can look down and SEE my fat. But if I close my eyes, I can't feel it as part of me. This is why I bump into things. I have no real idea about how much space I take up. How weird is that? I feel my muscles and my bones.
I've been trying to find an article about it, but all the article says that it's a sign of anorexia. Uh, can't be, if I have it and I'm the size of a small country.
Here's an abstract which seems to connect body dysphoria and depression, but I can't access the whole article:
Body Image Disturbance, Memory Bias, and Body Dysphoria: Effects of Negative Mood Induction
This study examined the effects of negative mood induction on body image and recall bias for fatness stimuli in women of normal weight with high body dysphoria. The experimental design contrasted subjects scoring high and low on a measure of body dysphoria. One half of the subjects in each group were administered a negative mood induction procedure. Dependent variables were a) body size estimation measures, b) body dysphoria, and c) recall for fatness, thinness, and depressive words. The negative mood induction resulted in increased current body size estimation and body dysphoria. A free recall bias for fatness stimuli was found in subjects high in body dysphoria. Thus, current body size estimation and body dysphoria were found to be reactive to negative mood states, whereas, ideal body size and recall for fatness stimuli were not affected by the negative mood state.
I'd like to read it. Oh well.
All the papers seem to be very scholarly, pdfs, not easily accessible.


Anonymous said...

I have been trying to find out some information on this also, and your blog was the only place so far where I can find a description of what it feels like to experience this. Everyplace else either deals with anerexia, or muscle building for guys. I have had this, and it has recently been changing where I do notice my body ... and that has felt very weird indeed! So, my fitness trainer (A.C.E.certified, but also my husband) suggested I do some research on this topic. It is hard to find information! Thank you for what you posted.

Anonymous said...

tejfthe only time that i feel fat is when i try on new clothes or clothes that i thought fit me otherwise i feel like i did 10 years ago i'm so depressed every time i want to buy new clothes but in the everyday scheme of life i feel like i'm 120lbs still i've always thought that there is something wrong. any helpful advise

Paul K. Fischer said...

Send me a message to and I will send you what studies I have regarding body dysphoria. I hope this helps you.