Lupus Cannot Have My Self-Esteem

Lupus Cannot Have My Self-Esteem


I have been single for many years. Initially, I was enjoying a few years of my kids being home before they would take off to college, and then on to lives as adults. I transitioned to a new job in a new city, and life never seemed to slow down long enough to consider dating. However, once my kids were gone and I settled into the new city, I started thinking perhaps it was time to jump back into the dating scene.

However, shortly after the move, I started dealing with symptoms of lupus, and that consumed my life. During the really hard times I have thought about how nice it would have been to have someone at my side. Especially as I dealt with the things lupus was doing to me mentally, physically and emotionally. As I’ve become accustomed to the diagnosis and learned ways to try to find comfort, dating again became a thought. Unfortunately, as I shared in a previous column, my concern was that lupus would leave me without love.

Recently, I did something super scary and I cut off all of my hair. There wasn’t enough to grip it if you tried, so I basically opted for bald over handfuls of hair falling out in the shower. When I did it initially, I was working to control the things that I could that were causing me stress. I had no idea it would create a new issue for me.

I immediately started to feel as if I were no longer pretty, no longer feminine. So, to deal with that, I have been making sure that I have makeup on whenever I leave my apartment. With long hair, I could go without it because I still felt feminine. I shared this feeling with some very close friends and family so they were aware that even if I was presenting a confident smile to the world, I was really feeling quite insecure on the inside.

I recently went to the opening event of a new business, and a gentleman there was talking to me and a young woman. He had been quite rude throughout the evening. He hugged the younger woman later on, and told me he was interested in her, and just felt sorry for me – implying that I was not attractive. Although this man held zero appeal to me, what he said ripped right to my core. It hit a nerve, and although I stood up for myself, I left feeling quite deflated, ugly and as if that was how all men would view me.

Lupus has stolen a lot from me and I have battled to keep as much as I can. I came home and tried to keep lupus from stealing my self-esteem. I know I will struggle to accept my new look, but I have no desire to watch my hair fall out slowly, causing sadness and anxiety. I could always grab a wig, and go back to looking the way I did before.

But because dating has been something I have thought of, I want to be 100 percent me. I will  have to eventually explain lupus to whomever I date. So, I don’t want to explain that and a wig; I want to present myself to the world as I am. I came home, I looked into the mirror and I said, “I am beautiful, and I am enough.” I will continue to remind myself of that daily until it sinks in.

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Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.

13 comments

    • Kellie McRae says:

      Hi Liliana, I don’t know if I want to say “I’m happy to tell you” but you are not alone. Part of the reason I decided to share on social and here on Lupus News Today is because I recognize that many of us think we are dealing with things that no one else is dealing with. In my past life (my nice way of saying before lupus) I used to say I didn’t want to be like anyone else. However, battling lupus has shown me that there is a certain peace in knowing that others are dealing with the same things I am dealing with. It shows me that not only am I not alone but it gives me a community of people I can talk to that really get it. If you have not joined a support group, I would highly recommend it. There are some good ones online so when you’re battling fatigue, you can still talk with kindred spirits. You are not alone and there are others who can help you through when you are feeling all alone.

  1. Very nice indeed Miss Kellie, more power to you, I have always said this: Don’t let anybody take the beautiful smile away from your face, that is why I always smile and no one is worth to make you mad or sad, keep smiling &’shining my dear, you are an inspiration and beautiful in & out, never give up 😘

    • Kellie McRae says:

      Thank you my friend, I def do my best to keep smiling. Some days are easier than others but we do get to decide don’t we? I love that you are always smiling, I don’t think I have ever seen you without one 🙂

  2. Dalila says:

    Hi!
    Try to date a doctor or a male lupus patient! 😉 (joke)
    I liked your article. I’ve been there. For many years I just wanted to hide. My facial skin changed very much due lupus and I had horrid bleeding blisters that I couldn’t hide with makeup and people would make not very nice comments and questions about it. This affected my self confidence and self esteem, very much. I still get the blisters, much less, but after so many lupus flares, I’m just so happy to be alive that this doesn’t hurt my confidence anymore.

    And about dating, you really have to want it because it will be stressing. As lupus patients we have a lifestyle that can be difficult for others to understand. The diet, the flares, the hospital visits, the sun avoidance, the immunosuppression/high hygiene required, the constant pain, the brain fog, the moon face, the tiredness, etc. I thought that explaining my condition (briefly) soon would make a difference, but it didn’t bring anything positive.

    Take care!
    https://tvmoviefix.com/selena-gomez-lonely-road-self-recovery/
    “She made sure she was surrounded by people she respected and like-minded people”

    • Kellie McRae says:

      lol, I would probably fare better with the male lupus patient, sometimes the doctors think its all in our heads. Def don’t need that kind of negativity in my life haa I am sorry that you had to endure the ugliness of the people who can’t understand but I am coming to think back over the years that I was healthy and even then you still have people who are just mean spirited. I feel sorry for them because they are deeply sad in my opinion that they would openly hurt another person without provocation. I hope to one day date but if it doesn’t happen, I will still find happiness in other things as I have done in the past. Don’t give up hope Dalila, the fat lady hasn’t sung yet and we may both find ourselves walking off into the sunset with our male lupus patient, doctor or just a man who just couldn’t help but love us because we’re awesome!

  3. Kathy Swindell says:

    In our society that promotes beauty, people do not look at the beauty within which is so sad because you miss so much not knowing people regardless of their looks. I have had some problems with my Lupus but nothing compared to yours. Age has done more harm than Lupus has. It has done more damage to my face than Lupus has. Lupus has lowered my immunity so I have had to deal with a few things there. But I consider myself lucky. I hope someone discovers your inner beauty!

    • Kellie McRae says:

      Thank you Kathy, you are so right. We tend to judge the books by the covers all the time. I will be honest, lupus has caused me to rethink a lot of that. I won’t deny that I have had times where I decided I knew someones story based on their outward appearances. Someone asked me just last night if I could go back to my life before versus now with what I know, I said if I had to get sick in order to learn some of these lessons, then I would be sick. I know that sounds crazy but I’ve learned not to take myself for granted and I also learned to mind my own business as well because I know I am judged by my frail appearance and now no hair but if they knew my story…I think our inner beauty will shine to those who truly matter, not to the masses but just to a small group who REALLY matter. Thank you for commenting.

  4. Claudia says:

    Dear Kellie , thank you for this blog! I received the diagnosis Lupus, last year. And I lost a lot. Last june I decided to cut my hair because like you , i didn’t want to watch my hair falling out. Untill now I felt like, i was the only one in the world with these kind of emotions. But thanks to you, I am not feeling alone anymore in this struggle with lupus. So thank you , you are beautiful inside and outside.

    • Kellie McRae says:

      Oh Claudia, I read your response and tears started flowing. Isn’t it strange how knowing we are not alone really does provide some relief? I’m so sorry that your hair also started falling but I am proud of you for taking the empowering move to just rid yourself of one more thing that could be a trigger…the stress of watching it fall out. I’m sure you are rocking your look and battling on. We are not our hair! We are warriors! 🙂 Thank you so much for your comment.

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