Trigger warning – this blog contains talking about body image confidence and how your body looks. I also mention self worth and embracing imperfections.
I’ve been debating on whether to write about this topic for a few months. I try to keep my blog real without being super depressing or heavy even though I cover a tonne of topics. I am a bit of a butterfly landing on so many subjects. This one was pretty tough to actually type out and be completely transparent and in a sense vulnerable.
I want to first say I am not a trained anything doctor etc so please consult a doctor or health professional always. How I deal with this topic might not work for you or be in your best interests.
Heavy as this is, I want to write about it. I always feel guilty for the vanity in not feeling good about my body and appearance. My self-esteem can be often low. Naturally, I’m a quiet introverted type so I don’t talk about this much. so I’m just going to say it and whack it in bold because I can’t be the only one.
I have a chronic illness and I struggle with how my body looks and how I feel about myself.
I know I have about a million things to worry about but it affects me and I feel like its a bit of a taboo, to talk about the impact being long-term ill has on your self-worth and self-esteem. In my experience, it does affect your self-worth, how you see yourself and how you feel about your body.
At first, I was lightly affected by ME so I was able to walk around my school and just be cautious and rest up when I could. I should insert here that I loathed PE at school, I think mainly from being the tallest girl, if not in the school and being easy to pick out to ‘demonstrate’ what we were supposed to be doing even when PE was not in my natural talents at all. My point is I had muscle but not stupendous amounts as I avoided all of that sweaty stuff as much as I possibly could.
Once I had a massive relapse my doctors started to check for muscle wastage and I noticed everything had sagged and was looser and the skin I had became far more squishy. I went up a dress size and all I saw in the mirror was a body that had failed me time after time after time. I had a wheelchair and that was where my body was and to some extent still is.
I don’t see my body as this big let down any longer but the compassion I had for myself, and the self-esteem I worked so hard to build evaporated overnight last year. I went back to hating the jiggle, the stretch marks the lack of definition and muscle in my body and feeling like a person that couldn’t contribute anything. I hated my body for being stuck and in effect causing my symptoms. I felt like I had failed.
I hated the effects on my brain which lead to me struggling in school and exams. As bad as it sounds I lost a lot in the fog that invaded my brain and makes me doubt my intelligence to this day. I can not do maths anymore something I was pretty good at. I have less than half the amount of qualifications than the average person my age has. How can I build self-worth without the traditional building blocks we as a society deem worthwhile and leading to esteem and acceptance from our peers?
I have been trying to be kind and love myself now even when I’m trying to implement some changes. Changes I mean trying to eat healthily (she says eating Skittles) and keep moving to the best of my ability. But also to just accept this is the body that I have and eventually love it. It keeps me alive and breathing and battling each day and that should be something I take pride in. I want to be completely at home in my body and be confident about it.
I feel like this is a silent struggle we don’t talk about because we are so busy dealing with the more serious aspects of Chronic Illness. I want to start the conversation about self-worth, self-love, self-esteem and confidence if it’s something you want me to talk about. I want the dialogue to be opened for us to talk about the serious health implications but also the long-term effects it has on how we view ourselves and the bodies we live in.
I want to become at ease with my body and that’s my own journey. Being confident and happy from within will be a battle throughout the ups and downs of life. It will constantly change and I’ll need to adapt to the changes as they come up.
Of course, a body that is broken is always something I deal with first rather than it’s outward appearance. I sometimes look in the mirror for the old me, where did I go? There is only so many clothes and makeup can do. How you see yourself with dark circles, pale grey skin and all. I feel its harder to love your body when there are reminders of ill health on each part you look at.
My goal is to embrace the perfect imperfections and look after my body to the best of my ability. Without being so harshly critical towards it, I need to allow grace and acceptance for how my body looks today rather than how I think it might in a few years time.
Comment down below if you dealt with this yourself. What helped you?