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Mal

Mal


Age: 30s
Body Dysmorphic Disorder


On Burdens and Reasons to Live

I am a working professional in my 30s. I suffered from Body Dysmorphic Disorder for almost two decades and recovered fully four years ago.

I hope that this project will give the viewer the pause and reflection to imagine, for once, how it feels like to be in the shoes of a mental health sufferer.

 

Mal1

Being Different

The out-of-line branches on the concrete ground stuck out as compared to the majority nestled comfortably in the moist soil. They looked identical with the rest, but subjected to harsher surroundings for growing out differently. They had to fight harder to stay alive. These distinctive branches caught my eyes because I once felt just like them. I decided to immortalise their fleeting existence in this image, so that they will not be forgotten.

 

Mal2

Trapped

These two photos best describe my sentiment towards my past experience with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which gave me the overwhelming sense of being trapped against my will. These blinds and narrowing frames blocked my view and prevented me from fully experiencing life as the result. It was very frustrating to live with these obstacles, and it did not help that others could not see them.

 

Mal3

Out

In her book, “Out”, writer Natsuo Kirino, explored the idea of how the desperate desire for freedom can make the most ordinary person do the unthinkable. I went under the knife once in my frenzied desire to break free from my obsession. When this absurd fixation eventually cost me a very important personal relationship, I stood by the window that you are looking at right now and nearly jumped out of it. What stopped me from killing myself? It was when I realised I was back to square one. I had nothing more to lose since I lost the most important thing to me, other than my life.

 

Mal4

Happy Birthday

Writer Haruki Murakami once said, “If you don’t know what you love, you are lost”. I have loved reading since I was a child. The countless stories on the possibilities of life gave me hope, inspiration and comfort in my darkest hours. This was the key reason why I did not give up on life despite suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder as a teenager. I finally celebrated my 31st birthday, a liberated and reborn person. Today, books continue to be an important constant in my life.

 

Mal5

On Batman

Batman is my role model. He is not just a popular fictional character, but a very powerful symbol of a flawed human being who rose above his greatest fears and personal losses. Although they scarred him permanently, he turned the potent, self-destructive emotions and made something positive from them. Similarly, I choose to turn my tragic past into anonymous acts of speaking up for those who are still suffering in silence. This “Picture my World” project is one of them.

 

A member of National Healthcare Group ISO   Comm Chest Award Bronze