How You See You. How They See You

A very long overdue hello!

I’ve been quite unwell and reluctant to post anything that was simply a filler blogpost – you deserve better than that!

So how have you been?

I was sat thinking about life, as you do, and feeling a bit fat and useless. I thought to myself, “I wonder what people think of me?” 

This question, comes from a place of anxiety, not ego. I’m definitely an over-thinker and my anxiety has improved after taking citalopram, thank god! However, I have this apologetic, self-deprecating element to my personality that I’ve developed over time. I always feel like people have judgements about who I am, how I behave and how I look. But is this all in my head? Does everyone feel this way?

Like I’ve mentioned many times before, medication completely changed my body type and I’ve been left with a body that’s deconditioned and overweight. I’m fine with being a “curvy girl” but I’m not ok with how out of control I sometimes feel. It’s not a case of eating more salad and doing more squats – my body is a product of my illness and my 11 year struggle. 

Most of the time I feel self conscious, and actually,really matronly! The way I look is completely at odds with how I feel I should look for a 30 year old girl. 

Lupus hasn’t just affected my body, it’s affected my brain. I went on antidepressants after struggling to cope with life as I felt I had lost control over every single element of life. I was exhausted from trying to be stronger than I was.

Something that used to cause me massive anxiety was the idea of running into someone from my past. My body started to change at around 20/21 years old. That’s when the steroids really started to take hold. When I see anyone from my past, I immediately assume they’re thinking, “Jesus! What happened to her? She’s let herself go!!” I know the reason why I look this way, they don’t. 

I always wonder how my colleagues and employer see me. I dress up for work and I wear a fair amount of makeup. I don’t have the lupus butterfly rash and so I’m free of visible lupus tell tale signs. I’m in pain every single day. The intensity varies but it’s always there. When I’m at work, lupus doesn’t care. I’ve worked through chest pain, migraine, swollen joints, throbbing muscular pain, mouth ulcers and even pneumonia. None can possibly understand just how much pain I’m masking, but do they realise just how much energy it takes to do the same job as everyone else with all that pain baggage? Simply getting through my shift is a victory. Will they ever appreciate the litteral blood, sweat and tears it took just to show up and work? I see someone that has planned every element of getting ready for work and pacing myself so that the day before work and the day after, I’ve allowed time to rest and recover. In my mind, they see someone who doesn’t perform as well as the rest of the team. Again, do they actually feel this way or is it in my head?

The main thing that I worry about is how people look at my lifestyle. When I park in a disabled space and I don’t use a wheelchair, the judgement is unreal (see previous blogpost “Blue Badge Nightmares”)

But what about the people that know me? I went from being extremely fit and active and working long hours to who I am now.

I don’t work everyday, I’m home a lot, I sleep a lot, I’m not slim or active anymore. This bothers me. I hate my lifestyle, it brings me to tears very often but it’s not something I can change. The anxiety part of me believes that people see me as lazy, fat, unsociable, dependent on other people. But is this true? I know that my true friends don’t see me this way but for some reason, I care about the opinions of other people that don’t  know me. 

I think it’s inevitable to over think your situation when you’re living a life you never thought you’d live. Will the time come where I can stop apologising for my situation? 

Do you ever feel at odds with who you are inside and what’s reflected in the mirror? Leave me a comment and we can talk!

Anyway, I’ll leave tonight’s blog here. I could talk for hours but us lupus folk tire easily! 

As usual, if you’d like me to approach a specific subject, leave a comment on here or the Sick of Lupus Facebook page.