By Lorna Fenech in The Mighty.
Even before I was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), I always found it hard to love myself and my body. Low self-esteem and body dysmorphia contributed to a generally negative perception of myself, particularly my weight. Over the years I tried to manage this by staying healthy. I have been vegan for nearly four years and was vegetarian for five years before that. I joined a local gym and enjoyed going a few times a week to keep fit and healthy.
When I was hit with glandular fever and subsequently developed ME, this ability to exercise in an attempt to feel better about myself became impossible, and I quickly became engulfed in negative thoughts about my body now that I could no longer exercise.
There’s a reason why I’m taking you on this disheartening trip down memory lane. How I initially felt about myself four years ago and how I feel now are two very different things. The road here has been very turbulent and I’m definitely not going to pretend that I’m completely confident and content with myself. However, over time I have been able to look at things in different ways in order to come to an understanding with myself that I don’t need to change because of others’ (and my own) perceptions and expectations.
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