Perceived Body Dysmorphia / Body Dismorphic Disorder (BDD)

OneWingedBird

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This is probably going to sound well kooky, but I'm curious enough to post it anyway.

For the last few years I've intermittently had the feeling of having wings, sort of like angel wings sprouting from the back of my shoulder blades. Sometimes it's quite a subtle feeling, other times it;s so strong as to be almost tangible, like I could move them if I wanted to, or I lean forward and almost feel them move to balance my centre of gravity. Ok, so I know that I physically don't have wings and I'm not about to jump off of any tall buildings to test them out, though there's times where I feel like I could just take off and hurtle over the city at some incredible velocity.

About 18 months back I told the engineers in my office about this, and I think they thought I was a bit crackers(!)

Has anyone heard of this before?

All of the dysmorphic symptoms that I seem to recall reading about seem to be fairly subtle, usually distortions of proportion, or people who look great but think that they look incredibly ugly.
 

Philo_T

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Gee, BRF, that sounds awfully specific. I mean, you're not talking about a generalized feeling of something sprouting from the region of your shoulders. Or did you interpret your perceptions as best reflected by the idea of wings growing from your back?

My point being, remember now, we're just random strangers who share a common interest and post to a web messageboard, is that if someone immediately interpreted these feelings as "having wings", it could indicate to me that they have some psychological complex that leads them to such an erroneous interpretation. In which case it would be telling that you though "angel" wings and not "daemon" wings.


Of course, other people could interpret these as being actual "spirit wings" or maybe they're in the fourth dimension/density.

Granted, take this a uninformed theorizing. I'm sure that the specialist literature has some really interesting tales of this sort.
 
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I distinctly remember the illusion of having three arms when I had a fever as a kid; mumps or measles, I forget which.

I suppose that would be a kind of dysmorphia...
no wings though.
 

OneWingedBird

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it could indicate to me that they have some psychological complex
Even my complexes have complexes.

And I do suffer from a dissociative disorder, which can and does give some very strange symptoms, though generally they tend to be rather unpleasant and often bordering on the undescribable, rather than anything quite so graphic.

I will probably take this up with my therapist sometime, but right now we have a whole bucketload of things to look at before we start worrying about a little wonky psychomorphology

Or maybe this is just what happens to people who read too much Neil Gaiman...
 

escargot

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At the risk of being called a bandwagon-jumper, I have to admit that I too have 'wings'!

I 'flex' them in the same way that you'd stretch your arms when you've been sitting. I see them as luxuriously feathered and enormously wide, very much like angel or more realistically swan wings.

You've seen 'Dogma'- the wings in that were pitiful compared to mine.

This has always been part of my consciousness and has never troubled me. The wings are just there and as nobody but myself is aware of them they cause no trouble.

This seems to me a little like the childhood imaginary friend phenomenon and I understood when very young that I musn't talk about it.

I think it comes from a horrible Methodist teaching that angels are dead people. Maybe I felt a little doomed as a small kid- I had a violent and unhappy childhood - and felt myself marked out for death and angelhood. Dunno.

The wings are neatly folded as I type, having hung over the back of the chair until the BF had to squeeze past.

In the back of my mind is the knowledge that, although I can't fly NOW, one day those wings will come into their own...
:)

David Peace's 'Nineteen Seventy Four' features just the same wings in a different situation. I had to read it last year for a course and it scared the daylights out of me. :eek:
 

NilesCalder

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I get the wings. Mine are 'feathered' but their morphology isn't avian. I also get a long flat-sided tail and sometimes my neck feels about a yard long.

Of course the telling element is on the OtherSide where I have been known to become a vast dragon. :cool:
 

stonedog3

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When I was little (I knew) I had a tail - prehensile, about a metre long, short brown fur, coiled in the small of my back for inconvenient things like clothes!

haven't thought about it for years (decades) but have just twitched it and yes! it's there!

thank you :)

Kath
 

Min Bannister

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This sounds to me more like the Phantom Limbs that many amputees have. They can move them about and even get pain from them. I think Rupert Sheldrake has done experiments where he has tried to "touch" the phantom limbs when the person is blindfolded to see if they could feel it. Unfortunatly I can't remember what happened. Perhaps you guys were just angels in a previous life!
 

escargot

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All children believe they have a tail until the age of two-and-a-half.

You can prove this by asking a young child to point to their nose, ear, chin, tummy etc then slip in the word 'tail'.

A kid below the age will point vaguely behind them, whereas an older one will first frown uncertainly then laugh at you.

I've never found a kid to believe they have wings though, which is probably a good thing. When kids play at flying they generally use their arms as wings.

(They also love to discuss whether they have a beak and if their nose is one!)
 

Philo_T

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Min Bannister said:
This sounds to me more like the Phantom Limbs that many amputees have. They can move them about and even get pain from them. I think Rupert Sheldrake has done experiments where he has tried to "touch" the phantom limbs when the person is blindfolded to see if they could feel it. Unfortunatly I can't remember what happened. Perhaps you guys were just angels in a previous life!
Just woolgathering here....
phantom limbs -> amputee
phantom wings -> fallen angel
(oh, all right, you could just as well interpret them as awareness of future potential and not past loss...)
 
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Anonymous

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BlackRiverFalls said:
....distortions of proportion, or people who look great but think that they look incredibly ugly.
I am incredibly ugly. As far as I know, I do not have any body dismorphic disorder or whatever. No wings either I'm afraid.

Big Bill Robinson
 

OneWingedBird

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*smiles*

Oh wow, guess I'm not as weird as I thought.

Mine are huge too Escargot, I never bother to fold them up though, I just let them trail behind me. My own childhood was pretty unpleasant, so I can't help wondering if there's a connection there. Maybe you're right about the imaginary friend thing.

When I thought about how to describe this I deliberately avoided the term 'phantom limbs' as I figured it's usually used to refer to amputees. As a slight digression, there's some interesting info on this in Susan Blackmore's new book on Consciousness, where she discusses people who have chronic pain in phantom limbs, which does not respond to any drugs or even physical severing of the nerves. Then some guy invented a box with one of the inside faces mirrored, so the amputee can put their 'good' limb in it and apparently 'see' it's counterpart and watch it 'move'. This usually makes the pain stop (She doesn't say what to do if they've lost both versions of a limb!)
 
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Anonymous

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escargot said:
All children believe they have a tail until the age of two-and-a-half.
You can prove this by asking a young child to point to their nose, ear, chin, tummy etc then slip in the word 'tail'.
A kid below the age will point vaguely behind them, whereas an older one will first frown uncertainly then laugh at you.
OK so I'm not the only one who's confused a kid with this.
My son, (who will kill me if he finds out I posted this story on the web, even anonymously) was nicknamed 'Mouse' as a baby. When he was about 2, he was watching Mickey Mouse on TV and I asked him if Mickey was a mouse. He nodded.
Then I asked him if he was a mouse, just like Mickey. He nodded.
Then I asked him if he had a tail like Mickey. He looked at me for a minute. And nodded.
I asked him where his tail was and he turned his back to me and looked over his shoulder at me, kind of like, 'See?'
He believed it was there for a while, and it's still a family joke.:D
 

Yithian

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By way of comparisson one of the theories concerning lycanthropy is that the sensation of 'growing claws' is the brain's best attempt at interpretation of a sensation generated by actual physiological abnormalities in the brain. IIRC one such subject was found to have a sizeable tumour which was producing odd sensations which the brain understandably accounted for in physiological terms.

I shouldn't worry though!
:)
 

marion

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I've never felt I've had wings and can't remember feeling I had a tail, I have felt quadropedal (like a horse , with the long neck too) though, and cat like with retractable claws.
I wonder if this is what those odd 'otherkin' people are on about? I know of someone who thought she was an 'otherkin' dragon with wings.
 
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Anonymous

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it's no fu nbeing a rationalist (even if it is only part tim

The symptoms you describe would, I'm sure, fall under dysmorphia and I would suges that there may be some interaction with your other conditions that may well need some serious investigation (I meen to find it's causes.)

I'm afraid that if someone presents me with fealings such as you describe then I would first look for a physiological or psycholigical rather than a magical or metaphysical casuse (not that a magical or metaphysical one would be ruled out you understand...it's just more lightly to have a mundain cause.)
 

Ioethe

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I occasionally get the sensation of having wings like a dragonfly, in moments of great stress or fear - I literally want to "fly" away.

I wonder if the angel wings could be a reaction to a traumatic childhood and a wish to escape, formed by common religious imagery?

I shouldn't worry about it - yes, it may well be "dysmorphia" but that's only a description. If it doesn't cause you a problem, I'd say it's not a problem.
 

brianellwood

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Guess this might be called "Mr.Pye's syndrome". Don't have little bumps beginning to grow on your temples? - in which case you need to do something naughty pretty quickly!;)
Might be something coming from the limbic rergions, the (flying..clawed) reptilian brain?
 

escargot

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the baby fell ill with septicemia, or blood poisoning, on Monday and died on Wednesday.
What a terrible tragedy. Poor little thing, to die of an infection so young, without ever having a chance in life. I hope she can keep her dignity in death.:(

I'm off to bed now, having had my day thoroughly ruined.
 

Dennis_De_Bacle

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I have wings, brown, hawklike and small enough that what would be the elbow joint is just higher than my bum.

Poor babe.:(
 

OneWingedBird

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Mmmn, how Fortean, I'd never heard of Otherkin until about 3 hours ago when my friend (who knows nothing about the wing thing) showed me some of their websites, then I come back here and someone's brought it up. I can't honestly say from the sites I've looked at that I have a particularly high opinion on Otherkin, a lot of it seems to be very self indulgent fantasy being used where a simple psychological explanation will suffice. One of the pages tried to link their ideas with TG and MPD, which didn't particularly endear it to me either.

http://angelic.otherkin.net/
Is a mildly amusing page on angelkin.
 
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Anonymous

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I've never felt like I had wings but I've always worried about losing a limb because I'm sure I'll get the phantom limb thing. My nerves are WIERD.

None of my doctors have ever been able to get a 'knee jerk' reaction from me no matter how hard they work on my legs, one doctor told me dryly that all was in order apart from being clinically dead, and also I get phantom pains and itches that aren't located where my brain says they should be.

If I feel a pinprick in my leg and rub my leg it'll continue until I eventually find that it's the back of my neck that itches, though why it comes across as a pinprick i don't know. Sometimes my nerves will be shooting pains up from my foot and I'll have to go over every inch of my body to find where the nerve that's causing it is. Sometimes the sensations are so strong that my leg will jump with the signals until I scratch the back of my hand - which doesn't have any particular sensations of relief even when I do rub it but my leg will feel better! What's wierder is that it's never consistent enough for me to think, right, my leg hurts so my hand needs a rub, it seems to change constantly.

I used to worry that my nerves were damaged.

I've asked doctors what all this means but they can't be bothered to investigate as its hardly a life-threatening condition.

So does this mean that phantom-limb people have similar shot-to-pieces nerves?
 

Onix_Martinez

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stonedoggy said:
When I was little (I knew) I had a tail - prehensile, about a metre long, short brown fur, coiled in the small of my back for inconvenient things like clothes!

haven't thought about it for years (decades) but have just twitched it and yes! it's there!

thank you :)

Kath
Hey, I always wanted to have a prehensile tail myself. That would be so much fun. Also claws, like a cat. Buy maybe my wife would't like it you know. She would like to have butterfly wings by the way, and somehow, that reminds me of Mohammad Ali. She's tough like that :D


ADDENDUM:

Coming to think of it, I also feel prone to go on all fours and galop. Even had a couple of dreams like, that, a forest in front of me, under de moon, and the I could see my paws on the grass, moving fast threading the ground, propelling me to the forest. Wow, lovely. How about a prehensile tail and four legs? Doens't it sound really primal?
 
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Anonymous

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It seems strange that several people should have the same thing. Perhaps it is a physical problem with your shoulders. Are any of you spending too much time hunched over a computer keyboard posting stuff on message boards?
 

OneWingedBird

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Are any of you spending too much time hunched over a computer keyboard posting stuff on message boards?
:rofl:

You may have a good point there.
 
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Anonymous

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Every now and then, I get the sensation that my left and right arms have switched places, which is pretty confusing for a while... and reading through the thread, Onix's post :
Coming to think of it, I also feel prone to go on all fours and galop. Even had a couple of dreams like that...
reminded me that recently I've been having a series of dreams where I've been running, but using my hands as extra propulsion (kind of like an ape). No idea why :p
 
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Anonymous

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The ol' phantom limb/amputee thing sparked off a memory of a long ago physiology lecture, where the guy taking class discussed phantom limbs of those who had lost limbs. He felt that it was the nerve cells in the area closest to the severed limb"remembering" the connection they used to have with the nerve cells of the removed appendage, so therefore provoking feeling. I never followed this up or checked it out so I can't say if it true or not. The Lecturer did say that after a period of time the body re-adjusts.

Body Dysmorphia is something else in a way. Can't say I've met anyone in Mental Health services who have wings or a tail or a hated limb, but then if its not affecting your life in a negative way then I would'nt worry about it.

I just wish I had a phantom head that would remember important stuff like birthdays, paying bills etc.. rather than my corporal head knowing crap like all the words to theme tune off "Rainbow" or reciting the lyrics to a hundred songs or lines from movies including the Monty Python "Camalot" song.

Not that I recite stuff to other people from films or songs as its pretty sad but whatever.
 
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