Battling Insecurities and a Change in My Self-esteem

Battling Insecurities and a Change in My Self-esteem
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In my past life, I might have been a little vain. Never in an obnoxious way, but I was very secure in my looks and abilities. I have been told all my life that I am pretty, but I always say thank you, and I am gracious, as if it is my first time hearing it. I have lived my life unapologetically for so long that my confidence has grown over the years.

I would tease and tell people that my confidence level was just bordering on arrogance. I’ve never been a jack***, but if I was sure about my looks or my abilities, no one could change my mind. 

I’m the tall, thin one in a family of short, voluptuous women. But even as I gained weight, I never felt fat or in a hurry to be a vision of my former, thinner self. I never owned a scale because I didn’t care about the numbers — only how my clothes fit me.

Then, lupus came. 

Ironically, lupus did for me what many women wish they could accomplish. I lost roughly 60 pounds within three months. I didn’t even notice the weight loss until people started asking what I was doing. At my lowest, my nearly 5-foot, 8-inch frame was 98 pounds. I now weigh 100 pounds, and I am grateful for those extra 2 pounds. 

Many people want to be slim. For me, slim is fine, but bone-thin is not. While many of those around me say I look great, I feel as though I just look sickly. In addition to my baldness, I worry people see me and think I have cancer. (Some have asked.) I am often told that I don’t look 51, but I feel like I look 90. 

Many people used to describe me as vivacious, but now they probably consider me a chatty, lonely, old lady. At the beginning of the year, I was issued a mobility device. When the fella brought it into my hospital room, I told him, “I just went from 50 to 90 in the swing of a door.”

Since then, I feel I can no longer be seen as sexy, vivacious, or young. I often think people only spend time with me to be nice. The only thing I ever seem to talk about is being ill, and I have become really withdrawn. 

The sad thing is that I met my friends after I got lupus and moved abroad. They have never made me feel like they include me out of pity. These are my own insecurities. When a man flirts with me, I sincerely wonder why he is doing it. I also feel as if I carry myself like an old woman now, especially when I have the walker or require the electric cart in stores.

I hate feeling older than my actual age. I am trying to embrace the fact that I can still be the young, vivacious person I’ve always been. I just have new accessories. 

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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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.

Kellie is a lupus warrior who spends her time teaching many about the incurable disease she battles with a smile on her face. She travels the world, writes articles, has an active YouTube channel and creates coloring and activity books for both adults and children. She is known as Queen Bubbly Bee because no matter what is going on with her body, she always manages to find the silver lining.
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Kellie is a lupus warrior who spends her time teaching many about the incurable disease she battles with a smile on her face. She travels the world, writes articles, has an active YouTube channel and creates coloring and activity books for both adults and children. She is known as Queen Bubbly Bee because no matter what is going on with her body, she always manages to find the silver lining.

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8 comments

  1. Darlene McIntosh says:

    Kellie you have summed up my feelings in a nutshell abt feeling insecure. I have been battling Lupus for 15 yrs and have totally become a different person. Once I felt pretty and sexy and vivacious and did. things with friends. Now I need assistance in walking thank God for my husband. Every medicine they try makes me sick and adds more weight. My facial features and hair have changed immensely. My only salvation is for my husband family and friends to help me cope and your articles help me more than you will ever know. I feel like I am not alone with this disease. Thank you Kellie for helping us Lupus warriors cope. Try to have Happy Holidays.

    • Kellie McRae says:

      Hi Darlene, I always smile when I hear from readers who have a loving support system. That’s super important as we go through these transitions and with lupus I feel like there’s always some sort of transition. I’m glad my articles are helping as well, you are definitely not alone but I can understand that feeling from time to time. It’s not an easy disease to battle but know you have a tribe of warriors standing beside you…with help in some cases lol but it’s ok because at any given time, everyone needs a little help.

  2. Moe says:

    Awww Kellie! I feel ya! Once again I totally relate to your writing. I used to be a social butterfly, also felt very confident about my looks etc. but that all changed as my SLE worsened the past few years. I live alone and spend 90% of my time at home. I manage to keep busy doing little things around the house, small projects etc to feel productive but the isolation has become real for me. Between fear of COVID on top of folks just not understanding my illness restrictions I find it less stressful on my body to focus on my personal happiness a love my home, my peaceful sanctuary. Not to say that I don’t meet a friend for lunch or a visit now and then but overall…my life has completely changed. And yes, I too feel like I’ve aged but I think it’s more about having to slow down considerably. You are beautiful, strong, intelligent, adventurous, humorous, and a ‘real’ person… so let all of that continue to shine Warrior! Warm Hugs, Moe

    • Kellie McRae says:

      Hi Moe, you said you feel me, I read your words and looked at my giant bucket of pens, markers and crayons, the wine bottles that need to painted, the sewing machine on the table lol and I was like, I feel all those words about finding peace at home. I tend to spend time with a very small circle of friends who are more understanding than I thought anyone would ever be. It is much less energy than folks who don’t get it trying to tell me what to eat and how to think (mind over matter does not work with lupus, you can’t think it away). I thank you for your kind words and hope that you are finding great balance in how you manage. Covid fear is real and I thought at first since as a lupus warrior I was already spending so much time alone that I could handle it but it is definitely adding a different feel to the isolation. Sending you good vibes, thank you for the encouragement.

  3. Carol W Waldenburg says:

    OH Bejezees! I live in the body of a 70-year-old woman and I’m in my early 50’s! It takes its toll on your self-esteem, it sure does. Make sure you get enough sleep, drink tons of water, use hydrating facial creams and body lotions, if you can go for pampering facials once in a while … BE PROACTIVE. It helps in mind and literally all over your face. OH, and don’t forget to condition your hair and keep it as healthy as possible too – it keeps the youth in you!

    • Kellie McRae says:

      Thanks for the wonderful advice Carol, I am bald so the hair part will be really easy lol I definitely agree that we have to do our best to be our best. I look young, I just feel really old. In fact, my helper was surprised that I’m in my 50’s and now says I’m a vampire haa Now if I could get my aches and pains to realize I’m still young. Keep up the pampering, it is definitely a good thing and thank you for sharing some sage advice.

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