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How Do You Practice Self-Love When Your Body Doesn't Love You Back?

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I’m allergic to myself, in theory. I have systematic lupus erythematosus, which is a hyper-active immune system. My white blood cells are always attacking healthy cells, including muscles and joints. Even my skin. The pain can be pretty unbearable.

I have days where I am pretty good. I can pretty much do anything with little pain or fatigue. Then there are other days I have to take an extra pain pill or rest just a little more. Unfortunately those days happen a lot and I have grown accustomed to them. It’s when I have a complete flare that I tend to have the roughest time.

A bad flare consists of extremely limited energy, widespread pain and muscle spasms and great discomfort. Most of the time, I’m so doped up from all of the pain meds and muscle relaxers that I just try to stay functional and try to move once in a while so my muscles don’t get too tight.

So while lying in a hot bath, trying to relieve my most recent flare, I got to thinking. How can I love myself when my body is constantly attacking me? How am I supposed to stay positive and look past this? I try to take care of myself to the best of my ability. I take my meds ritually and give myself plenty of rest and sleep. The flares seem to just get worse over time and harder to recover from.

I have tried to stay positive. I have tried to convince myself that this will pass and I will feel better soon. I try things to get my mind off the pain like writing and some light crafts. I keep in touch with my support system and hope they can take me out of the negativity. I even try holistic therapy and mindfulness.

So how can I practice “self-love” when I’m so mad at myself for all this pain and agony I’m going through? When can I find comfort in myself? I can’t trust anything my body does. In a blink of an eye, I can be in excruciating pain and I just have to deal with it? I’ve already lost all control over my body.

I am so resentful of myself and what my fate has become. I try to shrug it off and think it is what it is, but is it really? How many meds do I have to go through till I have an answer? How many side effects do I have to endure to live pain-free? Just like many other people having to battle with chronic illnesses, we didn’t ask for this.

So to answer my question, I don’t have an answer. I just live day to day and hope the next day is not going to be worse than the day before. I work, I take care of my family and I take care of myself. Hopefully, one day, I might actually develop the “self-love” I think my body should get. But for right now I’m just trying to live.

Photo via PhenomArtlover on Getty Images

Originally published: January 17, 2018
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