My doctor told me that I was body dysmorphic. I looked it up and got upset with my doctor. It suggested to me that he thought I was crazy.
There is a psychological condition know as “Body Dysmorphic Disorder” which cosmetic surgeons of all kinds (i.e. not just hair surgeons) have come to be familiar with. It is characterized by a feeling that one is deformed or very odd looking in some way when in fact one’s appearance is normal. Manifestations can range widely, from believing that one’s nose is malformed (anyone famous come to mind?), to perceptions of imperfection in one’s hairline. These patients have a preoccupation with their appearance that borders on obsession, and they often have multiple cosmetic surgeries to address the “problem”, often moving from surgeon to surgeon. Since the “deformity” is really a problem with self-perception, and not with the body itself, surgery rarely cures and often exacerbates and reinforces the individual’s feeling of deformity. The key to diagnosis is the dramatic disconnect between a normal appearance and the patient’s exaggerated feeling of being defective. A normal patient usually looks to improve their normal appearance, and they do not believe it is a deformity.
Some people (like Jimmy Durante and W.C. Fields – very old movie stars) played up their huge and pock marked nose deformities and exploited them for profit as part of their persona. This is not Body Dysmorphic Disorder, but just simple good business exploitation of a body part, similar to what Marilyn Monroe or Brigitte Bardot did to another extreme.