Alanah Bagwell, 20, from Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, admits that she takes 200 selfies a day until she can find one she is satisfied with, as she battles the crippling insecurity of her body dysmorphia.
Body dysmorphia is a form of distorted self-image that affects one in every 100 women in the UK.
Alanah has been plagued by the illness since she was a teenager and spends at least four hours a day applying make-up until she feels ready for the world to see her.
Alanah will be dealing with her demons on the BBC Four show No Body’s Perfect. Photo / Alanah Bagwell
Such was the devastating nature of her illness, that the 6ft blonde confined herself to her bedroom for four years as a teenager.
She told the Sun: ‘I feel so bad for other people having to look at me. It’s cruel to let them see my face.’
Alanah’s torment eventually led her to self-harm and when she was 16 she tried to take her own life.
The psychology student said: ‘By the time I was 16, it got so bad I wanted to die so I tried to overdose on painkillers.
‘My mum bought a medicine cabinet with a lock but I broke it open. My last attempt was when I was 18. I took 30 Paracetamol and was hospitalised for three days.’
Alanah will now tell her story on the BBC Four show Nobody’s Perfect, to raise awareness of her illness.
During the documentary international fashion photographer John Rankin and artist Alison Lapper explore how social media and selfie culture has affected people’s sense of identity.
Alanah locked herself in her room for four years as a teenager and tried to take her own life as she battled her body dysmorphia. Alanah as a teen.
Rankin and Alison challenge four people who struggle with their appearance to be photographed up-close to investigate different perceptions of image and beauty.
Where to get help:
- In an emergency: call 111
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633, or text 234 (available 24/7) or firstname.lastname@example.org or live chat (between 7pm and 11pm) http://livechat.youthline.co.nz/mibew/chat?locale=en&style=youthline
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155 (weekdays 11am to 5pm)
Source: The New Zealand Herald