Reid Ewing, who played Haley's boyfriend Dylan on Modern Family, has revealed he had an addiction to plastic surgery as a result of body dysmorphic disorder. His account of why and how he decided to undergo plastic surgery, detailed in a new editorial for The Huffington Post, is a scary but important read. Body dysmorphic disorder is tough to comprehend as an outside observer, because people that suffer from it generally have perfectly normal faces and body types, but view themselves differently and are often obsessed with changing their appearance. Sometimes people take it way too far, and it's nearly impossible to get them looking normal again.
The now 27-year-old actor detailed his first operation, cheek implants he received in 2008. His experience after the surgery is where everything went off the rails, as he had not anticipated how he would feel or look during the recovery period:
Something I was not told ahead of time was that I would have to wear a full facial mask for two weeks. Afraid someone would find out I had work done, I took my dog and some supplies, left Los Angeles, and headed to Joshua Tree.
From there he literally stayed in hiding to keep his surgery a secret:
For the next two weeks, I stayed at a hotel doped up on hydrocodone. When the time came to take off the bandages, it was nothing like I had expected. My face was so impossibly swollen, there was no way I could make any excuse for it.
Unfortunately, Ewing's dissatisfaction with his first surgery led to a spiral of more surgeries which did nothing to fix the other surgeries or how he felt about himself:
Unable to take this state of living, I began to seek out another doctor. The next one I found was even less qualified, but I didn't care; I just wanted out of my situation. I told him my story, and he suggested I get a chin implant. I asked if it would repair my sunken-in face, and he said I would be so happy with my looks it wouldn't matter to me. The same day he brought me into his back office and operated on me.
Thankfully Ewing realized that he had caught himself up in a vicious cycle, and stopped getting surgery. Now he's begun the process of becoming comfortable with his looks:
Plastic surgery is not always a bad thing. It often helps people who actually need it for serious cases, but it's a horrible hobby, and it will eat away at you until you have lost all self-esteem and joy. I wish I could go back and undo all the surgeries. Now I can see that I was fine to begin with and didn't need the surgeries after all.
In addition to calling attention to body dysmorphic disorder, Ewing does an excellent job of noting that cosmetic surgeons are doing this for money, and are rarely concerned with the mental health of a patient or whether they actually need the surgery. Much of the worst parts of the industry and surgeries are shrouded in secrecy because patients often conceal that they had work done; therefore making it easier for shiftless surgeons to continue their practices. Everyone stay beautiful just the way you are.