Selfimage

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    The Autumn Of My Years

    Frank Sinatra famously sang in “It Was A Very Good Year”—a survey of his life of sorts—observing that it was a very good year when he was 17, and again at 21, and 35. Later the days grow short and he finds himself in the autumn of his years. Frank doesn’t share with us what age he is, but it’s 2022 and I’m 42, and I feel that I have reached the autumn of my life.

    I am rooted in my bed. I can stretch my limbs as far as downstairs maybe once, twice, a day. I manage to water myself about twice a week, but even then, my trunk groans and creeks with the effort. Most things that I enjoyed when I it was in the summer of my life, have lost their lustre. And like the autumn tree, I have begun to shed my hair.

    My branches held onto my leaves as long as possible. For that I cannot fault them. The rings of decay from the physical—and emotional—stress that were forming unseen inside me just become too many, and without my awareness. I saw countless doctors, all of whom failed to identify the rot that had set in, declaring me a mystery with my inverse T-waves, shaking limbs, falling leaves, and general failure to thrive. Finally, after two emergency room visits, a hospital stay (2 out of 5 stars, do not recommend), I finally saw an endocrinologist after a two month wait. He was confident that I had most likely gone from a state of hypothyroidism to hyperthyroidism without knowing it, for at least a year. With all the stress this imbalance of hormones placed upon my body, my hair started to break and then fall out.

    So now I am in the literal autumn of my years.

    The forecast is hopeful in that with the right treatment, most of my hair will grow back. And, after having weathered an unrelenting storm for the better part of the past year, my body just wants to hibernate. I am grateful that we are approaching winter, which makes sleeping all day feel like less of an indulgence. But I think about my hair loss and how for the past two months I have been lost for the right words to talk about it… particularly in the absence of a diagnosis.

    There are things I can tell you though.

    I can tell you that even though I couldn’t walk, developed alarming peripheral neuropathy, and needed a wheelchair, the thought of losing my hair scared me more. Despite developing what the doctors repeatedly referred to as “concerning” cardiac symptoms, my concern remained with the loss of my hair and with each parting strand, a part of my identity felt at risk. I can tell you that after being admitted to hospital for observation, I became even more afraid when my body hair started to fall out. Making each trip to the bathroom into a turbulent storm of anxiety, grief, and depression, as my body continued to shed more leaves.

    This being a major outward sign of my condition, every day of increased hair loss made me feel like I was ever closer to being visited by the famed hooded logger, and thrust into the great wood chipper. And no Friends like Pheobe, Monica, and Joey to save me.

    As I fixated on my hair loss, I learned many things.

    I learned that there are all sorts of potions that you can buy, that promise to help regrow hair. There are wigs… so many wigs. But the choice really only comes down to two questions. “Can I pull off this radical new look?” Or, “if I cut this wig in a certain way, will it make me look like I did before?” Thyroid related hair loss apparently means any hair that does grow back, might not be the same colour as before. So that’s kind of like a present to look forward to, only it’s unlikely to arrive by Christmas. A full head of medium length hair apparently takes two, maybe three years to regrow. In that respect at least, I feel like I will be like a sapling again, with literal tufts of juvenile hair sprouting between what remains of my established leaves and locks.

    I can tell you that in addition to the emotional pain, hair loss hurts, quite literally. It hurts to pull on it, and my hair band falls out often—I just don’t have enough to bunch together anymore. So I’ve invested in cancer hats. Only I don’t have cancer, so I also feel like an invading alien species. And of course derogatory as the term is, it is accepted that cancer patients are “brave”. The only thing worse than this enforced bravery is that there is no accepted lexicon, or field guide for what I am.

    But I can tell you how I feel.

    I feel like the lonely tree in a forest that doesn’t look like, or feel like, I belong with the others. I’m not quite sick enough to be offered any support to help prop me up, even though every day is a struggle just to hold myself upright. Being my kind of sick is to be that lonely tree in a field that people are happy to shelter under in a storm, but quick enough to cut down at the first sign of disease.

    And I do not know when it will be spring again.

    But I hope that when that day finally arrives I will rush out into the wilderness and hug every tree I see. Even more so in winter—for I will know what it is like to be bare, and suffer from a lack of kindness or care.

    #HairLoss #Hypothyroidism #Hyperthyroidism #GravesDisease #Grief #Loss #Depression #Loneliness #ChronicIllness #Alopecia #MyCondition #Anxiety #Stress #MentalHealth #MightyTogether #SpoonieProblems #Selftalk #Selfimage #Selfesteem #PeripheralNeuropathy #Neuropathy #WritingThroughIt #Disability #Homebound #ChronicFatigueSyndrome #Spoonie #Hope

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    New change #Depression #Selfimage

    Does anyone else feel like they need a new look whether it's a new tattoo a new hairstyle? I had my septum pierced for 4 years and the other day I decided to take my septum ring out. Today I really looked at myself in the mirror for the first time in weeks and I can't help but to think that I'm missing something and I need a new look to help my self esteem and my confidence. Is this normal

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    #Selftalk #Epiphany

    One of the things I always hear about treating #Depression is to learn to recognize and start to change your negative self-talk. To be honest, I have had a difficult time with this. I know that I don't have the most positive self image and that I carry a lot of #Shame , but I rarely seem to catch myself saying nasty things even in my head. I thought that maybe I was just unaware or paying attention to my thoughts in the wrong way or something.

    Today, I was getting ready for work. I'm in my 30s, but I'm having trouble with breaking out on my forehead lately for some reason, so when I saw a large red zit on my face, I turned away from the mirror and said aloud, "Lovely. That's so nice." And I suddenly heard it. I suddenly recognized it. I suddenly understood.

    When I was growing up, my parents policed our word choice quite strictly. We weren't allowed to say anything that even sounded a bit like a curse word or like taking the Lord's name in vain. I remember my siblings and I making up some of our own words to insult each other. At one point, "plum" was the worst insult in our home - no clue how that developed! Anyway, what I think happened is that we just started using positive words sarcastically to express judgment, scorn, and anger since we weren't allowed to say the negative ones. And I think we were imitating my mom when we did this.

    So I've grown up with this self-talk that is more like, "well, that was clever!" or "nice try," or "looking good," all expressed sarcastically to mean the opposite of the words themselves. It's no wonder I haven't been able to identify words like stupid, ugly, or useless in my self-talk. And maybe it's no wonder why I have such a difficult time accepting a compliment at face value if it includes words like smart, beautiful, or amazing. I just thought I was self-conscious when I actually learned to distrust anyone who used these words since they were used as insults when I was growing up.

    Has anyone else discovered this kind of self-talk in themselves? How did you overcome it?

    #Selftalk #Epiphany #sarcasm #Selfimage #MentalHealth #Depression #Anxiety #CPTSD

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    Embrace your uniqueness. Society has enough copycats. Be original. #MentalHealth #Selfconfidence #Selfimage #Selflove

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    Spicing it up #Selfimage #Selfesteem #Selfcare #c -PTSD #Anxiety #Selfcompassion #BipolarDepression #ChangingMe

    I can't help but be taken by the things Serico does. A few weeks ago he changed up our game " ball " . I didn't understand at first and wondered how I couldn't, it was so obvious.
    Our game of " ball " consists of me tossing it and he retrieves. He was master of " ball ", leaping to get in front of the ball or catch it in the air. Sometimes bouncing off the walls, literally! On occasion he'd lay down to chew on it or run as I reached for it, so he could be chased. Of course his attention is easily caught at 4 months, still.
    Then one day I toss it down the hall, as he runs towards the ball he stops picks up a rawhide and continues. Unwilling to let the rawhide go, but also wanting to bring the ball back. Not an easy task when you only have your mouth to grab&carry& limited space. I'd watched, giggling at his attempts and sometimes shake my head, how silly he was. It soon became like an obsession or so I thought!
    It's been so long since I've challenged myself, I had no idea he was doing that very thing!! Everyday he'd grab whatever was closest and then go after the ball. Using his paws to bat the ball rolling in my direction. Sometimes going in circles and getting no where, but reluctant to drop whatever was in his mouth!😅🙃
    Serico has been so much more to me than I ever imagined. He opens my eyes, my mind and even reminds me of the important little things I miss in the big picture.

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    Daily Inspiration

    Misery loves company but don't allow other people's sadness depict how you live your life #MentalHealth #Confidence #Selfimage #Selflove

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    Daily Inspiration

    Your struggles are not who you are. What you are is a fighter. A survivor. #MentalHealthHero #fighter #Survivor #Selfimage

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    Daily Inspiration

    I have learned you have got to live for yourself not for somebody else. Don't live worried over someone else's approval. They don't really care. They are focusing on themselves. Just live how you want to. #MentalHealth #Selfconfidence #Selfimage #Selflove #InspirationalQuotes

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