Following on from my CF related posts, I wanted to talk about something that is a very touchy subject with me. So, I have thought that this week I will discuss Body Image and how it’s affected me over the years.
To start things off, I wanted to say how difficult this is for me to talk about. I have suffered from the way I look my whole life and no matter what anyone says I will never fully accept my body and the way that I look. Yes, we judge everyone on social media now and don’t just think because they have uploaded a picture of themselves they think they are “perfect” as that couldn’t be more incorrect.
Growing up…. I think my family can agree with me on this that I have suffered so much on the way I look. My family have always tried to convince me to see different but once you have something stuck in your head, it’s hard to change how you feel. I have cancelled so many plans, refused to go to parties in the past because I felt too fat and ugly. It has taken me so many years to finally understand the slightest reason into why I’ve felt like this and growing up with CF is hard on so many levels and one being body image.
A huge factor into my issues has been the fact that all of us with CF patients get judged on our weight all the time. For me, growing up I felt I could never do anything right when it comes to my weight. For example, I have had many people say to me “you don’t look like you have CF, you aren’t skinny enough” or “you look to healthy to have cf! At least you can put weight on” Now is that really what someone wants to hear when they are growing up? Most people when they say it, I know mean well. But I only hear the bad part of that sentence and that sticks with you!
Another issue I have had is that every time we go the hospital we have to get weighed with the nurse before our appointment, and this is the part that I dread! If you gain weight it’s good news, but if you lose weight you’re judged instantly and asked why have you lost it? You need to gain more! It’s never been “well done” and in that moment, I have so many thoughts running through my mind on what I need to do differently and the pressure I put on myself. It is very hard for most people with CF to gain weight, so I judge myself so much because for me I find it so easy. But this comes with more issues as you’re considered the “bigger” person with CF and again, who wants that title? It can really mess with your confidence in life.
One of the most embarrassing parts about my body image, and what I am most worried about is the fact we get a swollen stomach (known as CF belly). I suffer from this quite often, it makes me look like I’m 7 months pregnant, which obviously isn’t the case. So because of this I just don’t ever risk wearing tight or fitted clothing anymore, if I’m at work I usually wear oversized T-shirts and jumpers. This can massively affect your day to day life as it can happen whenever and wherever. I have just learnt to deal with this now and just always make sure I have loose fitting clothing so I don’t feel too uncomfortable anymore.
Another huge embarrassing part of my body is my posture! This is probably my most hated part about myself. I have suffered with posture issues since I was young and this is due to hunching over from all the coughing throughout my life. I have seen specialist people regarding this and been given exercises but nothing ever seems to help me. All I see when I look at myself or if someone takes a picture of me is how disgusting my back is.
I personally don’t think I will ever be able to be confident in my body, I judge myself far too much. I haven’t wore a swimsuit or bikini since I was like 10 years old. I am learning everyday to accept myself and the way I look, so by posting pictures of myself on Instagram I’m trying to over come this huge fear. No, I still hate people taking my picture, I will have a mental breakdown if someone posts an image of me online without my approval. But this year I did something I said to myself I will never do, and that is post videos of myself cleaning my home. This may be so pathetic to many people, but to me this is a huge deal. The thought of people judging how I look scares me more than anything. But each and everyday I am knocking away at that wall which I’ve had up for the majority of my life. I want to feel confident in my body before it’s too late and by doing baby steps I am getting there.
If anyone else feels like this and we all do at some point in our lives, please talk to someone. I have kept this bottled up for so long and its done me no good at all. I wish someone helped me out years ago, because maybe I wouldn’t have missed out on a special occasion or regretted staying in doors and dwelling on it even more. We all need to support each other, try and think before you make a comment to someone as they will take that tiny remark and it will stick with them for the rest of their lives.
I will one day be positive in how I look, I have promised myself to keep going and look at the bigger picture in life. We can all do this! I am here if anyone ever needs any help or if someone just wants to talk about anything they may feel like they want some advice on or simply just to listen. I will do my best to help in any way possible.
Girl With The Long Hair x