“Do Not Feel Ashamed”: Tallulah Willis Shares Tips For Managing Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Getty / Jon Kopaloff

Image Source: Getty / Jon Kopaloff

Mental and physical health go hand-in-hand, and Tallulah Willis is encouraging fans to acknowledge their personal journeys with health and ask for help when necessary. In an Instagram post on May 16, Willis, who recently got engaged to partner Dillon Buss, opened up about her experience with body dysmorphic disorder, a mental health disorder that causes people to obsess over perceived flaws in their appearance.

Our relationship with our bodies is deeply personal, and Willis explained that her journey required a lot of self-reflection in terms of accepting the body’s natural aging process and becoming more comfortable with her body. “I punished myself for not looking like my mum, after being told I was [Bruce Willis’s] twin since birth – I resented the resemblance as I believed wholly my ‘masculine’ face was the sole reason for my unlovability – FALSE! I was/am inherently valuable and worthy, at any life stage, at any size, with any hair do [sic]! (As are you),” she said.

Inspired by her revelation that “you need too soothe the wound within your soul before trying to ‘fix’ the outsides,” Willis shared a few helpful tips for managing “BDD spirals,” including:

  1. “Towel mirror over the mirror/ taking mirrors down/ implementing self boundaries that I only can look in mirror when brushing teeth and washing face.”
  2. “Breaks from social media. I scroll 9GAG to disassociate instead. Memes are there to help!”
  3. “Reading fantasy fiction books: Court of Thorns and Roses series is my most recent fave but reach out to @scoutlaruewillis she always has the good good recommendations.”
  4. “Find a safe person, circle, community who you can vocalise the triggering moment/current obsession/spiral.”
  5. “Go for a walk and listen to music.”
  6. “Take a bath and smear body oil/ lotion all over your tender skin. My favourite is @tataharperskincare but I also love @goldbond diabetic dry skin relief lotion.”
  7. “Write. Word vomit EVERYTHING that is gurgling within your mind onto a piece of paper and then tear it up or burn it. Let it flow out of you and no longer take up the precious space in your mind.”
  8. “Breathe. Close your eyes. REMEMBER that you are allowed to take things 5 minutes at a time. For as long as you need to.”

When it comes to being an ally to those experiencing mental health issues, Willis added, “Be mindful of the special and impressionable minds around you and their access to social media and potential triggering imagery or the indicators that hyper-focusing on ones appearance goes deeper then just wanting to feel good in their own skin.”

During a time when diet culture is pervasive in our everyday lives, asking for help with BDD can be difficult, especially when symptoms are overlooked or ignored. So Willis reminded followers who may be experiencing the same challenges with their mental and physical health that, “We all want to feel good, and confident but when it creeps into a deeper, spookier place where it begins to devour your essence bit by bit, ask for help. Do not feel ashamed, this is not a ‘stupid, vain issue’ this is a genuine psychological pain and I see you so clearly and witness the validity in your struggle [sic].”

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