Samantha talks about the connection between lupus and self-esteem and ways to help build your self-esteem and confidence because she wants you to remember that you're stronger than your disease that you're fighting every day.
Self-esteem is something I recently started having a hard time with. I've had lupus for ten years and living with a disease, and the ups and downs that come along with it can bring you down. I've been saying the words that you're told not to say as a kid, "I can't do it," and I've been catching myself saying these words.
It's not true; I can do it, I can do these things that I'm telling myself I can't. But, because of my disease and the pain that comes along with it, I've been frustrated.
When your body is constantly fighting against you, you can't help but feel that it's impossible to complete a task. Falling into the negativity of the disease is easy. I get it, you're in pain every day, yet you're expected to live your life as if you're a completely healthy individual. Not only are you in pain, but medications and your lupus can cause side effects such as acne, weight gain, moon face, all of those which don't help with confidence.
Having low self-esteem can lead to anxiety and depression, which isn't all that uncommon in lupus patients. I developed anxiety at the age of 19 and was on medication for it, I went to therapy, was having panic attacks, everything that comes with it. And eventually, I was able to help my self-esteem, get better confidence, and was able to get off the medicine.
How to Boost Self-Esteem and Confidence
Here are some things that I'm doing to help lift my self-esteem.
Think Back to a Positive Time
One thing I was told to do was to think back to a positive time or a time you accomplished something that maybe you didn't think you could, like graduating college or high school, having a baby, getting up and doing a chore, getting out of bed, all of those are big accomplishments.
Whenever I'm feeling down, I like to remind myself that, "Hey, "if you did that, then you can do this."
Change the Negative to a Positive
Another helpful thing is to change the negative to a positive. Easier said than done, but our brains automatically go to the negative, it's just how we are.
For example, if you think "I can't go to the gym. I'm so unfit and just way behind everyone else at the gym. They're all gonna look at me like I'm crazy." Instead, you should be thinking, "I'm at the gym today, I'm here to be healthier, and I got out of bed today. I'm doing this."
If you can't complete a task that day because you're in too much pain or too tired, just remember that you're doing the best you can that day, and maybe try doing it another day.
Set Small, Achievable Goals
Another thing I started doing was to set goals. Start with small, achievable goals.
So, for me, I decided that "Hey, I'm not drinking enough water," so I started marking in my planner that I'm gonna drink more water every day, and I'm slowly increasing week by week. And that, right there, is an accomplishment.
One other thing I found helpful was telling myself positive affirmations, such as, "I am strong," "I am healing," "I am powerful," "I can do this." Words, even though they seem silly when you're saying that out loud, they can be so helpful and sometimes, they're just enough to get you out of bed.
Today, I want you to remember that you're stronger than your disease and you're fighting it every day.