Three panels showing the growth of a flower as a farmer waters it, the final panel showing the flower happy and a heart between the two of them.

My Journey To Self-Esteem

Before I became sick I was always an outgoing type of person and I pretty much lived life to the fullest. I had worked abroad, I was a keen fitness fanatic with a particular passion for swimming and I had many friends.

I now realize that I took all of this for granted because when my health problems began I felt it all slipping away from me. It was a horrible feeling. I craved for that normality that had become my life but on reflection, I had built up a character in my mind of who I was and how others perceived me. I was always the fun, bubbly girl that everybody loved and could rely on. I suppose it felt a bit like playing a part in a movie and I was still trying to play the same part even after I was diagnosed with lupus which became impossible in the end.

Accepting changes from lupus

I was grieving for the loss of my old self and it has taken me years to come to an acceptance that I am now a totally different person because of the cards life has dealt me.

One of the concerns that used to really get to me was that I no longer fitted in and as a consequence, I'd lose friends. This sadly did happen but I eventually came to the realization that this wasn't my fault.

When we lose our health it's common for people to suffer from low self-esteem. It's so easy to feel on top of the world and to like ourselves when our lives are going well but when we are struggling with chronic illness it can really put a dent in it! Our relationships can suffer, we may start to feel unattractive and we can feel vulnerable to name but a few.

Seeking counseling

It wasn't until I decided to have some counseling for other issues that I realized just how negative my thinking had become - to the point where I really did not like myself.

I remember a really good analogy that my counselor used on me and that was to imagine that my best friend was talking in the same manner about herself as I was doing and she was confiding in me, what would I say to her? Of course, I would reach out to her and tell her just how amazing and strong she was for all she had been through! This really helped me to see things in a whole new light and rather than mourning the loss of those friends that had let me go I started to appreciate those ones that had stuck by me throughout everything.

New focus

I also realized that when you give too much focus on the stuff you can't do it just makes you feel worse so instead, I started to focus on the stuff I could do, no matter how small it might be. It might be a short walk around the garden or even making a nice meal but it's my achievement! There are other tools that I've found really helpful such as meditation which is a personal favorite of mine and using affirmations.

Don't get me wrong I still have my days where I struggle but I tell myself that I'm only human and I know that in time it will pass.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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