Worldwide, one in four of us may be diagnosed with mental health conditions but that doesn't account for how many people are undiagnosed. It doesn't account for how many people feel alone and isolated because of difficulties they're grappling with and they feel like they are the only ones. They're not. None of us need be alone if we are honest and comedy is the most honest art form we have - comedy is the truth wrapped in a lie.
The potential for psychological fall-out after experiencing sudden alterations in physical appearance are well documented in the cases of burns victims, amputees, and even people undergoing drastic weight loss surgery. The reactions of people with eating disorders are rarely legitimised in the same way because their self-image was apparently already broken prior to this new alteration.
There's a lot of stigma against mental illness, which only makes living with mental illness even more difficult. It brings feelings of shame, embarrassment and guilt about how your mental health is controlling your life and yet everybody else in your world seems to be taking the reigns of their own lives just fine.
With the decline of the 'dad bod' and a recent increase in male grooming - more guys than ever are taking care of their appearance and trying to achieve the 'perfect' body. "Manscaping" is becoming a part of the daily routine; men are turning to waxing studios, threading their eyebrows, slapping on the fake tan and hitting the gym hard.
I can't remember a time in which I wasn't obsessed with my appearance. There is a harsh, vindictive little critic who sits on my shoulder and breathes his bile into my ear incessantly... He tells me I'm grossly overweight, unattractive, and undesirable. He turns my head towards every reflective surface and excoriates every lump, bump, crease and curve, imagined or otherwise... I no longer feel I have any concept of what I actually look like.
The other huge problem about body dysmorphia is the normalisation and misuse of the term. You only have to look at gossip magazines covers to see celebrities mouthing about their muffin tops, slamming their cellulite and loathing their legs; thats human nature, its natural. Its not necessarily right, and we all do it far too often, but it's something innate in all of us.
The focus on size and shape seems to suggests eating disorder is a physical illness, which it is not. By 'calorie loading' this is simply ignoring the underlying causes of anorexia - it may put on the weight, yes. However it does little to address the key factors or triggers linked to his eating disorder.
If having experienced trauma or acute vulnerability ourselves, are we prepared to accept and share that part of ourselves in the work that we do with our patients? It is my view that in order to offer people the best possible chance of recovery we have to offer them something more intimate than clinical expertise.