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nervous bloating and weird behaviour relating to clothes

By July 12, 2010 - 12:27pm
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It sounds so silly. I'm not particularly overweight. I don't like shopping for clothes it makes me really nervy, because I don't find many clothes which I feel comfortable in,I start trying things on but then I always see a fat ugly wrong cow in the mirror, I look like a boxer or middle aged bloke and then right there in the changing room my tummy starts to pertrude until I look about 7 months pregnant. I don't really like things which fit snuggly, it makes me feel sort of exposed, agitated, then i want to tear them off because to me I look and feel supernaturally big in anything fitted and creep back into what my sister calls low self esteem clothes, i'd say baggy, comfortable.Yes they probably are low self esteem clothes, though I like the refuge of them. Its weird because a lot of people say very nice things about me, I have a wonderful relationship with my partner, I don't feel inhibited with him. also when I get up and get ready in the morning to go to work, i don't get this bloated thing. only I do often when I'm getting ready to go to a party or friends. Like I'm absolutely terrified of my friends!! it doesn't feel mentally like I am, only my body just gets out of control and my mind starts beating myself up about how dreadful I look and then bloat-a-rama, I'm massive. i just wish I could get over this, its stupid and gets in the way of life, Iike I have an awful secret that Im not normal

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hmmm, could be mimicking, but its very real, and weird. happened just now when I tried on a t shirt I'd managed to buy, my daughter (11) said, that's hilarious. it is weird. not life ruining, only Im determined to conquer it! I'll do some research-got to take a 4 day break wi th a load of teenagers. my room mate is a former nurse, she's very wise, I have a theory the more people I tell, the less power the weird will have, there's nothing like a secret to keep you doing weird things!yes therapy is something I am facing over a bit of a post traumatic relationship from the past, so I can address it then. thanks, hope I didn't sound like-hey, I've done everything before

July 14, 2010 - 1:03pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to newbee)

No, newbee, you didn't sound you are a "been there, done that, bought the t-shirt" type!

Firstly, I think your idea of "exposing" your condition is great, as long as you are comfortable with it and that responses continue to be positive.

But what I mean is that your condition (mental, possibly) can be causing actual physical symptoms. This is not "mimicking" , this is actual. It's possible that your belly does in fact, distend and bloat - in a very real sense. Which is why I think you may need to see a doctor who specializes in this kind of mental condition. I do think your physical symptoms are real, but they are rooted in your disorder, not your body. Does this make sense?

July 14, 2010 - 1:13pm
HERWriter Guide


Thanks for the update. Your physical symptoms are interesting. You may be dealing with something called a somatoform disorder where your emotional or mental thoughts are mimicked in your body, without there actually being something wrong. In other words, you may consciously believe that your belly is huge or that you don't look good in clothes and subconsciously, when changing clothes or in a position where you are examining you body, fill your belly with hair, cause it to protrude or even roll and distend it, so that what's going on in your mind now matches up with what's going on with your body.

This used to called a psychosomatic illness.

For more information on Somataform disorders here: http://www.empowher.com/media/reference/somatization-disorder
This information is very detailed and I think may really help you.

and we have another article here: http://www.empowher.com/mental-health/content/somatoform-disorder-its-all-your-heador-it

Tell me what you think and tell me if therapy is something that you would consider?

I look forward to talking to you more, newbee!

July 14, 2010 - 11:43am

hello, thanks for your reply. I don't mean - really don't mean- to be difficult or sound like a know it all- cos I don't- only I do all the things you suggest. I don't go shopping unless I am out of clothes. I am surrounded by wonderful friends and avoid thinking about my body. I do very positive activities, i walk the dogs every day. A while of stopping shopping for me has been 4 or 5 years now.I'm actively involved in high quality music making. I needed something to wear to perform in, I looked like a tramp!i eat an extremely healthy diet and always have. the doctor last summer suggested I do indeed possibly have a distortion in body image or B.D. due to slight ocd tendencies. she said that, since I applied my mind over my complusions earlier on in my teens,and mentally suppressed them, and cured them that, as really makes me laugh cos its so true, the 'weird will find a way out' in another guise. This seems logical to me. Only this question on here was part of my research and attempt to cure it, as I analysed what the exact things which cause me fear in public, the symtoms I get, and from there I want to either calm myself down by understanding other people are familiar or suffer it themselves(which normalises it for me in my head and therefore takes away the fear)(and therefore therefore maybe the symtom itself??!?)
thing is, it is not imagined, it is a real, sudden, quite weird and horrible symtom. Its not that I think my tummy grows enormous- it seriously expands and goes very hard and there's not a thing I can do about it until I calm down having got out of there. My daughter has witnessed it- and, bless her, proudly told my partner in a loud voice- and MUMMY"S TUMMY WENT HUGE COS SHE GOT NERVOUS- thank god I am surrounded by a loving lot with a sense of humour! I just wondered if anyone else had experienced huge tummyitis as a stress symtom?

July 14, 2010 - 10:01am
HERWriter Guide

Hi newbee

Thanks for your post and welcome!

You actually sounds more normal that you think.

Because we're made to think that shopping (for women) is practically a spiritual experience, those of us (me) who don't feel this way about shopping feel that we might have some kind of disorder because we feel overweight when we try things on, everyone else around us looks better and we don't get that "high" that women who love to shop get .

From a practical standpoint, we ARE smaller in the morning than any other time of day so we can gain 5 pounds just by eating and general fluid retention (especially in the days before our period) and when we get ready to go out at night, we could actually be a half size bigger than we were that morning.

I think many women beat themselves up about their weight and call themselves names internally. It's a horrible societal affliction that we're landed ourselves in. You probably look wonderful but don't feel you do because in a photoshopped world, everyone else is perfect.

I'm sure your tummy does not start to protrude in the changing rooms - you are simply taking your clothes off and seeing your body without the confines of cloth. It happens to most of us.

There is a (pretty severe at times) mental disorder called Body Dysmorphic Disorder that causes men and women to literally see themselves as almost hideous, no matter how they look. They can go through dozens of really serious plastic surgeries and still hate their bodies and not see them for what they really are. You sounds far more like the average woman who isn't happy with how they look than dealing with something like this but talking to your health care provider can possibly help you get some support so that you can learn about body acceptance and realism in terms of our physical appearance so that you can focus on the many other wonderful and meaningful aspects of life. It's not fair that this is holding you back and keeping you a virtual prisoner.

My advice is to talk to a mental health professional in this area or talk to your GP. Find a support group and get involved with activities than will keep your mind off your body and busy with other people and things. Make sure you live a healthy lifestyle (good food and regular exercise) and surround yourself with positive people/activities. Stop shopping for a while to give your mind a rest over worrying about this.

Do know that you are not alone here. Many women (and men) go through this. I think we could all say that we feel like this at times - I know I do. But it sounds like you could do with a little extra support. Will you place a call to your doctor to see if he or she could point you in the right direction?

I hope to hear from you soon!

July 12, 2010 - 2:03pm
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