Loving Your Body When You Have a Chronic Illness (Part 2)

I’ve noticed something though-

The part of loving my body that’s been the hardest? It hasn’t been being okay with the shape of my body, or the acne, or that I’m sweaty or hairy.

The hardest part has been believing in myself- ignoring the imposter syndrome and everything else going on inside my mind.

But as I’ve been working on loving my body- I’ve noticed something else-

It’s the little voice that goes- but my body doesn’t completely love me. How can I love something that doesn’t work?

 

 

My pancreas doesn’t produce insulin. My thyroid is out of whack. Sometimes I can’t breathe. I’m allergic to things all around me. One of my own worst enemies is my mind. There’s basically a war zone going on in my uterus and ovaries. My jaw isn’t even how it should be. I can’t process lactose. My eyes have never worked at 100%

I have an inhaler so I can breathe. I take allergy meds so I can enjoy the world around me. I take medications and have learned techniques for my ADHD, anxiety, and OCD. I rarely even think about my underbite. I can wear glasses and contacts to see. Lactaid lets me enjoy dairy (especially cheese). Those things are pretty much in the back of my mind. 

I have insulin and things to take care of my type 1 diabetes- but it isn’t an easy a+b=c or routine. What usually works might not always work. No matter how much you try, results will be different- and it can’t be out of sight, out of mind constantly (although there are brief wonderful moments.) I have devices and marks that leave reminders that something is “wrong” with my body.

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For over 10 years, I had a nasty reminder with my period that things were not okay there. It was a battle to get on birth control, but even then birth control does “just enough.” So I have the reminders, like the acne and all of the hair- even though I don’t have a period anymore. I still have those reminders.

I’m still trying to figure out my thyroid (well so are my doctors).

So how can I love something that really does feel like it doesn’t love me back? or even like me that much?

How can I love something that has physical reminders of what’s not working?

I do have this question floating around in my head a lot.

They tell you to love your body- and there are a lot of great resources and outspoken role models to help with this- but there isn’t as much of a how to guide on how to love your body when it’s what I call “a big ball of fun.”

It’s easier said than done.

Most of the time, I focus on other aspects of my body to love and appreciate.

Luckily, I specifically have people in my life I’ve been able to look up to- to know it’s possible. 

But I do get angry at my body- why can’t you do what you should do? 

But I am much more confident than I used to be- moving out of the south definitely helped- I see way more body types and expressions in a city in New England than I did down south in a small town. Diabetes isn’t as much of a problem with dating here, and I feel less judgement about the fact that I don’t want (and most likely can’t have) kids. 

But again- how do I love this thing that doesn’t completely work? To be completely honesty, I’m still trying to figure that out. 

I do attempt things to combat the marks left behind by diabetes- because it’s about how I feel. I feel better when my skin is smooth and healing where a site used to be- instead of bumpy or peeling. As a kid, I got VERY self-conscious about the marks left behind on my fingers from checking my blood sugar- I used to do hot waxes for my hands often.

Like I said, I try to focus on other aspects of my body- even the “superficial ones”- especially since my confidence has improved.

Often, I care less about how much effort I put in- I’m driven by my “lazy-ness” and how much more sleep I can get. Sometimes, I do put some effort in- and can feel what all the hubbub is about- but it feels like “I’m treating myself.”

I’ve now tried to focus on the marvel of what my body still manages to do even with everything that is “wrong” with it. Even though I’m technically “sick.”

My uterus is inside out and my ovaries are covered in cysts. But now, I don’t have to be painfully and debilitatingly reminded of that each month.

Sure my body doesn’t produce hormones correctly or things like that .

The idea of eating shellfish still lingers, but my tastebuds say no to protect me from that allergy. 

My body doesn’t produce any insulin- but it sure can wade its way through a lot of shit. It can bounce back after a high or low BG (or a BG rollercoaster). 

I can run half-marathons (because I enjoy them and like training for them because it means more craft beer). 

I can walk myself about 2 miles one way to work each day. 

I can show my story and experiences and lessons with the ink on my skin.

It can heal. 

It can still do so much- 

It is easier said than done, of course.

and you know what else? Love isn’t 100% easy or black and white all the time- it can be a little grey- and sometimes not the easiest thing in the world. It’s also a journey. That’s what I really remind myself of. How you love other people applies to your own body right?

But you can get angry at the people you love too- it doesn’t mean you don’t love them.

and loving my body, loving myself- inside and out- is a journey. and I am SO very much different than I was 8 or so years ago- and even a year ago- but especially 8 years ago- I’m not the full of self-doubt, let people treat me poorly, with no self-esteem, and not loving herself, timid girl I was.

I’ve still got some work to do- but it’s always nice to appreciate how far I’ve come.

 

Post 2 of 2. Check out the first post!

Hey you! Yes, you! 

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We’ll both be glad you did! -Mindy

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