I have struggled with an extreme difficulty in accepting a new self-perception, which has created negative body-image and, at one point, an eating disorder. Thankfully, my background in psychology and sociology kept my head above water and had me seek out the help of a therapist before the disorder became too threatening. I went from an athlete for the better part of my life, to someone struggling to do what makes us bipeds and different from the apes...stand and walk. No wonder I have issues!
I no longer struggle with disordered behaviors, but the negative body-image still creeps up on me on certain days. It is difficult to fully recover from such thoughts/behaviors because of the unpredictablity of my disease. Livneh and Antonak hit the nail on the head in their publication, Psychosocial Adaptation to Chronic Illness and Disability: A primer for counselors, when they say, "...the insidious and variable course of these conditions is fraught with intermittent periods of exacerbation and remissions, unpredictable complications, experiences of pain and loss of consciousness, and alternating pace of gradual deterioration."
A chronic illness can creat chronic negative body-image and a multitude of psychiatric disorders, but there is hope for all who suffer. Please, if you are experiencing any type of mental anguish, talk to someone. Enlist the help of a professional, or if you cannot afford to do so, talk to someone you trust. Whatever happens, do not hold your anger, sadness, and disappointment in. I will be happy to listen, so feel free to contact me if you need someone to talk to.
My hands and arms hurt from typing (silly RSD), so I must go now.
All my love,