Body Dysmorphia: Diana

Body Dysmorphia: Diana
"I suffer from a disorder called body dysmorphia. You believe that you are so ugly and so monstrous that you cannot face the world. I feel like when people see me, they feel that I'm ugly. I can't go places. I can't have a normal job. I can't socialize. When I look in the mirror, I see a monster," confesses Diana. "I would think my face is collapsing; my eyes were bulging out in different directions. It's a never-ending nightmare."

Her mom, Guadalupe, paints a different portrait. "Diana has always been beautiful," she says. "When I tell Diana that she's beautiful, she'll respond, ‘Mother, don't lie to me.'"

Diana says she started permanent makeup procedures when she was 19 years old. "I've had eyebrow tattooing, tattooing of my eyeliner. I've had my lips done. I have had 50 to 100 permanent makeup procedures," she reveals. "I have spent $10,000 to $20,000. I feel the procedures have turned out completely horrific. I have to cover my permanent makeup with makeup."

"I don't think that these procedures she has done have deformed her in any way, shape or form. I think she looks pretty much the same," says Diana's sister, Liz.

Diana fears that she will be viewed as eccentric. "There was even a comment made that I was Diana Jackson. It made me feel very crazy, like I'm out of control," she says, fighting tears. "I became home-bound for about two years. I literally did not leave my house out of absolute fear and concern that people were going to be judging me. It felt like I died, but I was still here. It was like life was still going, people were still living, but I wasn't."

"Is it hard for you to be here today?" Dr. Phil asks Diana.

"Very," she replies, barely meeting his glance.

"Tell me what you're thinking and feeling right now."

"I feel a little overwhelmed with my physical appearance, and what I've done to myself over the last several years, just constantly picking at myself, getting unnecessary procedures, and I don't know why I did that to myself," Diana responds. "It was just this constant obsession."

"You say you've had 50 to 100 permanent makeup procedures," Dr. Phil prompts.  

"Correct."

"You think that really turned out poorly, so now you put makeup on to cover up what you did then."

"Correct," Diana replies.

"In fact, here today, you went back into makeup three times, working on getting it right," Dr. Phil points out. "You've spent a lot of money on this, right? Like $20,000?"

"Somewhere in that area," Diana answers.

"Why have you stopped short of having plastic surgery? Why haven't you done that?" Dr. Phil inquires.

"Who knows? I actually look into that direction now," Diana says.

"But you haven't. And you've guilted your parents into paying for a lot of this, right?" he asks. "Your mother says that you will stand in front of the mirror and scream and cry that you have destroyed your face. Tell me what's wrong with it now, in your assessment?"

"The eyeliner that I've had done has turned out extremely bad. Without makeup, you can see the imperfections. It looks very asymmetrical. My eyebrows " I've had an obsession with them since I was, like, 19. I never feel like I want to fully show my eyebrows."

"At 15, you spent hours a day picking and plucking. So you've been at this a long time," Dr. Phil observes.

He turns to Guadalupe in the audience. "Mom, what do you think is going on here?"

"I think Diana has an obsession, a very deep obsession, with her looks. We thought, at one time, that it probably would pass. A lot of teenagers do that. They get in front of the mirror," she replies. "But Diana was far from that. She was beyond that, hours in front of the mirror."

It's hard for Liz to be sensitive to her sister's condition. "I spend about 20 minutes in the mirror. I'm married with two kids. I don't have a lot of time. I can't sympathize with somebody who's in the mirror for two hours at a time," she tells Dr. Phil.