Britt Ekland health: Bond girl on the mental health condition that destroyed her looks

The Real Marigold Hotel: Britt Ekland discusses getting older

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Having been born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden the star began her career in walk-on roles. But her rise to fame was largely based on her whirlwind romance with English actor and comic Peter Sellers. The pair who married only 10 days after their first date made three films together before their divorce in 1968. Yet even after Sellers instantly fell in love from a photo of the actress, Ekland struggled with her self-esteem. Even in her older age, looking back on photographs the star doesn’t recognise it as herself, a classic symptom of body dysmorphia.

The star first spoke publicly about the condition when appearing on Loose Women back in 2016.

When shown a picture of her as a small child, Ekland remarked: “I was a very fat little girl. I was fat until I was about 15.”

It was at this point that Ekland was interrupted by former Loose Women panellist Sherrie Hewson, who then named the condition, exclaiming: “That is where it is coming from! There is a thing called body dysmorphia and I think both you and I have it.”

Agreeing with Hewson, Ekland went on to explain that she felt no different to the other blonde women in Sweden at the height of her fame and “couldn’t see what all the fuss was about”.

She continued to say: “My girlfriend who has known me since we were in our thirties said to me ‘I think you have body dysmorphia’.

“I’ve always been very insecure and not really satisfied with my looks and so she said that’s what I have and I had no idea what it was, so I googled it.”

Hewson, who also claimed to suffer from the condition, gave more insight into how the condition affects an individual day-to-day. She added: “It’s when you look in the mirror you see somebody else.

“You will never see what anybody else says they see. You see yourself the other way round. Body dysmorphia is very disarming. You go through life and you can’t get any strength.

“Whatever anybody tells you you can’t get over it.”

It was possibly due to the detrimental effects of her body dysmorphia that drove Ekland to use cosmetic surgery to drastically change her appearance, which in later life she regretted.

Back in 2021, Ekland revealed that she “destroyed her looks” after “ruining her face with lip fillers” and in her 70s she would never consider having any more painful surgical procedures again.

She added: “When I look at photographs of myself before I had it done, I looked very good. I can see that now, but I couldn’t see it at the time.”

Body dysmorphia, also known as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is described by the NHS as a mental health disorder where a person spends a lot of time worrying about the flaws in their appearance.

Similar to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), those with BDD may experience obsessive worries about one or more perceived flaws in their physical appearance that cannot be seen by others or appear very slight.

This may then develop into compulsive behaviours and routines, such as excessive use of mirrors or picking your skin, to deal with the worries you have about the way you look.

After a prolonged period of time BDD can cause emotional distress causing a significant impact on the individual’s ability to get on with their everyday lives. Although the condition varies in severity from person to person, it is recommended individuals who are suffering seek medical advice.

Mind, a leading mental health charity notes that BDD may also cause other problems, such as:

  • Feelings of shame, guilt or loneliness
  • Isolating yourself to avoid situations that cause you anxiety or discomfort
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Misuse of alcohol or other drugs
  • Feeling you need unnecessary medical procedures, such as cosmetic surgery
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts.

It is due to this that many individuals may not seek help because they are worried others may judge them or think they are vain.

In reality there are numerous methods of treatment individuals can use to help overcome BDD. The NICE guidelines on the treatment of BDD recommend:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – with self-help materials such as books or computer programs, via telephone, or via a series of sessions with a therapist in a one-to-one or group setting
  • Medication – either on its own or combined with CBT
  • Specialist services for BDD, if other treatments do not work.

For confidential mental health support, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone) or email [email protected]

Source: Read Full Article