Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Movie Character

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QUESTION: There is something very strange and embarrassing about me. I really want to know what's happening. I hope you can give me a bit of insight on the reason behind this. I've looked everywhere with no luck. Also, I must worn you of the graphic nature. I could not leave some parts out for they are crucial to fully understanding my situation. Furthermore, I do apologize if I have posted this in the wrong category. I feel I could not post anywhere else.

First off, I've struggled with low self-esteem since the age of ten. I absolutely hate my body and my face. I don't like looking in the mirror. Sometimes I get so depressed that I start to cry. It's the worst feeling in the world and I can't do anything about it. I think that's why I've always been drawn to beautiful people. It's because I see qualities in them that I wish I had. Which brings me to the main point of this question. I have been obsessed with this character I saw on a movie earlier this year. It's a rather old movie, maybe mid-late '90s. I've watched it at least once a week since I saw it months ago. It's an awesome movie with an ensemble cast and a great plot. I love all the characters, but the reason I watch it so much is because of the main character. She's so pretty to me. Whenever I watch it I find myself saying, "I wish I looked like her" or "I wish I could be that pretty." I wish I had her nose, cheekbones, skin complexion. She's much older than I am, but she seems so young. I think about her all the time and I sometimes wish she was a real person. I've even tried to wear my hair like hers. I've tried to walk like her and mimic her facial expressions and mannerisms. What's really bothering me and the strangest, most embarrassing part of it all is that I'm starting to have these weird thoughts of her. I always fantasize about watching her have sex or watching her masturbate. I'm 23 and I've never had these sort of thoughts about anyone, male or female. I don't think about these things while watching the movie. And I don't get turned on just by looking at her. I don't even desire to be in a relationship or have sex with her. I'm not a lesbian. At least I don't think so. I don't have a preference for women instead of men. I don't desire a relationship with anyone, period. So, why am I having these sort of thoughts about her in particular? Could it be psychological? To me, I seem relatively normal overall.

ANSWER: Hi, Jasmine, thanks for your question.

You stated, "to me, I seem relatively normal". However, when you say "I absolutely hate my body and my face. I don't like looking in the mirror. Sometimes I get so depressed that I start to cry", that makes me think you are perhaps not so normal. At the very least, these thoughts and feelings are getting in your way from being happy and productive.

Why are you having thoughts about a movie actress? Well, there could be dozens of 'reasons', none of which are all that important. One could be that, instead of thinking about things that depress you, you are escaping into a fantasy life, one that is more satisfying than your 'real' life. But, as I said, there could be lots of reasons.

Based on what you've said here, I think you should really consider seeking counseling. It can be painful to confront unpleasant feelings, I admit, but, almost always, the anticipation is 100 times worse than the reality. It's possible, for example, that your self-perceptions are unrealistic, and come from somewhere else other than yourself. A counselor can help you overcome these and learn how to be happy again. I hope you will consider it

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your help. However, I feel I should clarify one thing. When I wrote, "to me, I seem relatively normal," I meant from the outside looking in I appear to be okay. But no one would know just how screwed my mind really is unless I actually told them. I have tried counseling in the past, which did not help. I saw three different counselors; all were more than willing to help but even they seemed puzzled as to why I have these weird quirks. Is it possible I could just be beyond saving and I will always have these issues with no apparent cause? Should I just give up and accept the fact that I will always be this way?

Answer
Hi, Jasmine, thanks for your f/u questions.


I saw three different counselors;
-------I can't answer about what counselors did ot didn't do, should or should not have done, because I wasn't there. However, seeing 3 counselors makes me think you didn't stick around very long. I suggest a minimum of a year with a counselor, for you

they seemed puzzled as to why I have these weird quirks.
-------- perhaps you are asking the wrong questions. If you had come to me, and stayed for awhile, we might have come to the realization that this is a question that has no answer (or, at least, no satisfactory answer). A lot of questions are this way, especially questions along the lines of "why am I the way I am"? Even if there were an answer to such a question, would it really matter? I think not, because your life would not change. In terms of importance, I would give your question a 1, and give the problem of "I hate myself" a 99. It's always better to take care of the gorilla in the room, and worry about the hangnail later.

Is it possible I could just be beyond saving and I will always have these issues with no apparent cause? Should I just give up and accept the fact that I will always be this way?
-------well, I don't see why you would ask such questions, when you haven't attempted serious, heavy duty, long term counseling to solve your real problems. If you were happy, and successful, and loved by a family and friends, would it even matter? To answer your question, though, - of course not! That's just the depression talking. You are young and still impressionable. Take on counseling now, before you add years of bad habits to the problem, making resolution even more difficult.

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Bruce Borkosky, Psy.D.

Expertise

any related to psychology, especially related to forensic psychology

Experience

15 years as a licensed psychologist, 15 years in private practice. My practice began primarily doing individual and group psychotherapy, is now devoted to assessments, but I occasionally do take on clients in therapy.

Organizations
American Psychological Association

Education/Credentials
B.A. psychology, B.A., music, Ohio Wesleyan U., 1978 MCS, computer science, University of Dayton, 1984 MA, psychology, Miami Inst. of Psychology, 1991 Psy.D., psychology, Miami Inst. of Psychology, 1993 post doctoral training in Neuropsychology, Fielding Institute, 1995-1997

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