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Reggz's avatar

How to feel better about yourself?

Asked by Reggz (149 points ) May 29th, 2012

I have a brain tumor that has caused something called cyclic cushing’s disease – basically this causes weight gain, ugly deep purple stretch marks, a puffy face, hair loss, etc. I’m 20 years old and I’m not being conceited but I used to be quite a pretty girl. I don’t look like I did a year ago. Now, I’d consider myself horribly ugly. I can’t look in the mirror, I don’t want to go out in public, I don’t want my boyfriend to look at me. It makes me terribly depressed and I’m tired of living like this. There’s not much I can do about my appearance, but how do I make myself feel better? I really need help with this.

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14 Answers

Charles's avatar

What is your prognosis? Will your cancer be treated? Will you regain your healthy appearance? Meaning, is this a temporary condition? If it is temporary, then right there, that should give you something to look forward to?
What about the other things in your life? Career? School? Family? Finances?

bookish1's avatar

First, have you been to a therapist or counselor about your depression and your self-image? Maybe just having someone impartial to listen to you, whom you’re not concerned if they find you attractive or not, would help a lot.

One suggestion I have for you is to make a list of all the things that you appreciate or are proud of about yourself. You can write down one thing every day, or add to it as you think of it. I have struggled with chronic illness, depression and low self-esteem for much of my life and I found this was a very helpful practice for me.

Best of luck.

Reggz's avatar

I should clarify – my tumor is NOT cancerous (though I am a cancer survivor!). It’s benign, and secretes hormones. I’m not sure what the prognosis is really. Depending on how the treatment goes and whether or not I have surgery, I may or may not go back to looking like I used to. At this point I don’t think I will. Also, the treatment has nasty side effects that may do more harm than good. I haven’t started treatment yet. I’ve had to withdraw from school because I am too weak and tired and have some cognitive problems due to the Cushing’s. I’ve also had to take a leave of absence from work, so I have NO money. My family is great and I have a few good friends, including my boyfriend. But my finances, work and school make me very depressed as well as my appearance. I think it might be a good idea to see a therapist, I just don’t really know how to go about it.

nikipedia's avatar

One of your physicians should be able to give you a referral to an in-network therapist.

If the physical limitations of your illness aren’t too great, let me suggest taking up some kind of exercise. The physical effects make it hard for your brain to stay too down on yourself, and seeing yourself get stronger or faster or better at something is great for feeling better about yourself.

If you can’t take up a sport, can you become involved in any kind of volunteer work? Studies (and life) have shown that helping others is a good way to feel better about yourself.

marinelife's avatar

Your boyfriend is not looking at your outside. He is looking at your insides. Your sense of humor, your kindness, the things that make you you. Just as you do not see exteriors when you look at the people that you love.

Try affirmations in front of the mirror. I am still the same person. I am more than my looks. I am a kind, loving, lovable person. Repeat them out loud even if you don’t believe them at first. You will come to internalize them. Stop negative self talk whenever you catch it. Substitute some positive affirmations.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

First accept that you’re sick. You didn’t do anything wrong. Something went wrong with your body. It happens. You didn’t change. You are the same person you were before.

Mariah's avatar

Hey there, I feel a great deal of empathy with your situation. I’m also 20 and have had a lot of health struggles. At many times throughout my life I have also felt ugly due to the effects of disease on my appearance. Right now most of the effects are not visible to just anyone, but I am afraid of intimacy because of the state of my body. And at other times in my life, the effects were highly visible.

The biggest thing that helps me is to focus on what these “flaws” represent. They show you’ve been through something really hard. They show you are strong, you are a survivor, you are courageous. That in itself is so sexy – to the right people, anyway.

Feel free to PM me anytime if you’d like.

Check out this thread too for more discussion.

blueberry_kid's avatar

To start, PM me if this is a true issue. I feel as if I’m low confidence as well…I’m going through the same issues.

Whatever you do, you’re worth everything. You have to stop yourself from pointing out your own flaws, and mistakes. That’ll make you more upset. I would avoid ignorant comments, negative comments, or all-in-all negative people. Be around people that make you feel happy and let you be you. And also, I forgot…BE YOU. Cancer can’t ruin your life, it can in fact make you stronger.

bookish1's avatar

@blueberry_kid: While you obviously have very good intentions, to say categorically to someone with cancer that “Cancer can’t ruin your life” sounds kind of disingenuous to me. How do you know how cancer will affect someone else?

blueberry_kid's avatar

@bookish1 I know it can, but I meant emotionally.

noraasnave's avatar

Flaws in appearance are definitely devastating, especially for women. It sounds like you are stuck in a grieving process, you are mourning the loss of your physical beauty. Find which stage you are stuck on and work to progress.

The reality is that women have so much beauty and potential for beauty, that I am certain you are beautiful. You have to look for the other facets of yourself and develop those beautiful facets.

blueberry_kid's avatar

@bookish1 My sister has cancer as well. That’s how I know what it feels like. She has leukemia. she’s gotten stronger mentally, and knows that she will be this cancer.

I’m not saying stronger physically, but now she’s actually become more serene, nice, takes things more seriously, has learned to love life, and is stronger, mentally.

That’s what I’m trying to tell @Reggz , despite opinions of her boyfriend because he should love her no matter what.

chewhorse's avatar

I would say don’t be so self-critical.. You have something that you can not control and all your family and friends know this, therefore your looks (to them) will have no impression of who you are.. So your worst enemy in all this is you. If you must deal with this cursed disease then show everyone that you do it with courage and grace.. Refuse to allow this physical monster to sap your spiritual and emotional essence as well.

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