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When you think about wedding-dress shopping, the image is likely filled with lots of Champagne, close friends and family, and a bride who ultimately says yes to the dress. But this isn’t always the case for people with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
TikTok influencer Mikayla Nogueira recently opened up about her struggles with body dysmorphia in a candid TikTok uploaded to the social media platform. In tears, she explained, “Today I’m going to be picking out my wedding dress, and these are not happy tears. There’s absolutely a reason why I have put this off. I’m not looking forward to this day — I haven’t been, and that’s a weird thing to say.”
Nogueira, who got engaged in November 2021, acknowledged that while many little girls may look forward to a day like picking out their wedding dress, “it’s different when you have body dysmorphia and an eating disorder and you’re really insecure.”
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For those unfamiliar with the term, BDD is “a form of obsessive-compulsive-related disorder in which an individual may have an extreme preoccupation with a particular part of their body or feature of their appearance,” Melissa Gerson, LCSW, founder and clinical director of the Columbus Park center for eating disorders, previously told POPSUGAR. If this description sounds like something you or a friend has ever experienced, that’s because this disorder is pretty common; according to the International OCD Foundation, the condition affects about one in 50 people.
Unfortunately, BDD can hold many people back from living their lives — and for Nogueira, this was no different. Her BDD was the reason why she avoided booking her wedding-dress appointment in the first place. “I really struggle with body dysmorphia really bad, and just knowing that I’m going to have to be looking at myself in a mirror today quite a lot is not going to be easy for me,” she said as she got ready for her appointment.
Even on a normal day, Nogueira noted that she tries “really hard not to look into the mirror because I just pick myself apart,” which is a common symptom of BDD. (Other symptoms may include using clothing or makeup to conceal flaws, avoiding social interactions, and mood issues such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.)
Despite all of the anxiety she felt surrounding her body and insecurities, Nogueira decided to do her own makeup for the big day of shopping. “I deserve to feel beautiful today,” she said as she wiped away tears. “I’ve done my hair and I’m going to make myself look like a bride because the one thing I know I can do is makeup.”
The 24-year-old Massachusetts native then uploaded a four-part series on how she did her stunning makeup, including what highlighter, blush, and eyeshadow color she used. In the middle of part three, she smiled and seemingly affirmed herself by saying, “See how when I do my makeup, my mood changes?” She later added, “I don’t know how to explain it, but this paint on my face makes me so f*cking happy.”
Nogueira finished her four-part series by saying, “I look like a f*cking bride,” adding that though she feels “really anxious” and knows “it’s going to be really difficult,” after doing her makeup, she feels better. “Let’s go get a f*cking wedding dress,” she said.
These feelings of BDD are unfortunately nothing new for the influencer. In fact, she has largely used her TikTok platform (of nearly 15 million followers) to promote and encourage body positivity. In one TikTok, she tried on new bathing suits after throwing out smaller ones that no longer fit her in an effort to accept her body the way it is now. In another video, Lady Gaga even offered advice after Nogueira opened up about hating how she looks.
And in great news, Nogueira recently posted a TikTok on Jan. 23 confirming that she did find a dress, and it ended up being a “magical day.” There’s nothing more comforting than seeing someone win a battle with their BDD.
If you are currently working through issues of BDD or think you could potentially have the disorder yourself, seeking a licensed mental-health therapist could help. For more information on how to find the best therapist for you, check out these easy steps.