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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am just interested to know how others regain self esteem and self belief after going through a rough time. I having been going through a bad patch emotionally and physically and am working on regaining my self esteem and self belief , things i always lose during a melt down. :worried: Does anyone have any tips on how they help themselves become strong again?
I'm working on i doing what i enjoy and do well to regain strength :rolleyes:

Love to all
Rachel
 

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Hi Rachel :hug:

That's a difficult and very good question. I'm sure many here can relate to it.

I'm lucky in a way that my down periods are usually very short though the first six months of this year were pretty bad. Even so, even in the bad, I would have the odd day where the old me resurfaced. I found that you have to hang on to the good days and continually remind yourself that it was good, that you were really you - the old you (don't know if you're following this).

Self-esteem is ever so fragile. Most people who know me can never imagine that I'm excruciatingly shy and, in the past, had the lowest of low opinions about myself. I was helped a lot by work related things. We did conflict management courses, communication and behavioural patterns - things like that. They taught me a lot as did all the people I had contact with - a lot of managers in important companies and when you see how others manage and how they are behind the facade it's a very good lesson. I wish people with chronic illness had access to that type of training course - it really is very useful.

I think one of our problems is that we lose so much. Self-esteem comes about in the things we're good at, the goals we work towards and achieve. When I was younger I wanted to go to the top as a horse trainer (rather than rider, I'm not competitive) - I did that. I started aikido and gained my black belt (by then I was getting pretty ill and did my test on lord knows how many anti-inflammatories). I was a teacher and it wasn't enough for me to follow books. I developed material, new programs, knew that if we had a very important client or an individual request (or a very high level student - diplomats were the worst :lol:) I would then be "the" teacher able to do the job... you get the idea. All that is gone and sometimes you can wonder what is left and that can be bleak.

After that I had to remind myself that I was still me. I still have my dreams, I'm still good at loads of things... and now that I can't do all those "physical" things that I did before then I have new goals. I have always wanted to improve my photography but didn't have time (can't "waste" time when you're working), so I'm working on that and getting pretty good results. To add to what I'm doing I have jut started photoshop classes as things have changed since the school darkroom. I have started drawing again and very importantly I have started writing again. Anything, a little bit every day, even if only to write how I feel in the here and now. And, do you know what, when you reread it a month later, it's shocking how good it can be!

I also look differently at how I "help" the household. I no longer bring in much money but I'm here to sign for hubby's deliveries. I can look up info for him if he needs it and, most importantly, when he comes home, he never has a wife that is so exhausted that she can't talk/listen. I'm much more present for my boys and step children. We have a fantastic quality of family life which we just wouldn't have if I was running around as I did before. I know that this doesn't apply to you yet but truly, there are so many ways to be useful.

I would also like to think that what I do here is important. It's not about being a moderator - it has always been about giving something back and that makes me feel "useful".

It's hard to say how to go about it but for me setting goals is important. They can be extremely small - aiming for something achievable but sticking to it and being able to say that despite my illness I got there.

Most importantly I once had the most wonderful head of department. When I started working with her I hadn't a clue about what I was doing. She nurtured me as she did every one and I remember - she always used to give out little presents from time to time - she painted a mug for me with a little flower on it and the phrase "Believe in yourself and others will believe in you". It may sound simplistic and perhaps stupid but that phrase is something I constantly go back to. It really works. Silly things like when you phone someone in an administrative function. If you phone with apprehension, the doubt comes across and 9 times out of 10 you'll get someone you feel like strangling after 5 minutes. If you phone sounding sure of yourself or "happy chirpy" in your voice, those same people are just not the same.

I've rambled again (need to work on that if I'm to publish a book one day :lol:) - it seems to be my trademark - but hopefully there'll be something you can use.

Just in case there's nothing you can use, here's another hug to help :grhug:

Katharine
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As always Kathrine that was very helpful

I was also a great perfectionist and completely the same type of teacher as you-the best teacher there could be to each individual student. This type of perfection though requires physical stamina which is in short supply at the moment. :rotfl:

However I have had two good days spending time with my mum, (who I am very close to), baking, walking in the local countryside, reading and wrting poetry, some of my favourite hobbies.
I also love spending time with my gorgeous one year old god daugther who is visiting today yipee!
And I have my fab 5 - 5 very understanding and supportive girl friends who have arranged a meal out for me on the 19th to give me something to look forward to and focus on as a positive

All this helps keep me fighting on:)
Rachel
 

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Hi Rachel,

It may seem silly but if I look good I feel so much better. Others perceive you differently also. Treat yourself to a new hair style or new outfit.

Exercise not only helps my body but my mind also. Walking relaxes me. I soak in all the wonders of nature, things I don't notice normally in a day. Yoga has helped me learn to relax. The art of relaxing comes in very handy on stressful or painful days. Listening to music is helpful in that regards also. Things just don't seem as bad once you are in a relaxed state.

Staying in touch with others is so important. You are fortunate to have your fab 5. Have fun on your outing on the 19th.

Take care,
Lazylegs
 

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Hi Rachel

I'm pretty new to this site but not to the after effects of a 'melt down' which leaves me physically, emotionally and mentally drained. And of course as you say very low in self-esteem. I'm at that point just now. I've had time off work to rest and I'm due to return on Monday (I work 35hrs a wk) but feel extremely apprehensive that I won't have the energy physically or mentally to be able to do my job. When I think about my job I become quite overwhelmed by it and I feel extremely inadquate. I should take some encouragement from my past experiences since I have been here before - many times. (I've had lupus symptoms for 26yrs) But it's funny how whenever this happens it's as if it's for the first time and I know it's not.

I apologise if this is not making much sense - not much is at the moment.

I also have friends who are a wonderful support to me. One of my friends also has a chronic illness and I try my best to support her when she feels this way. I know what I say to her is what she and others say to me - it's not that I don't know what may help me.

I have recently had a meeting with my employer to reduce my working week to three days. I hope in the long term this will work out but at the moment even 3 days seems like a mountain to climb. Something Katharine said about setting goals - I need to have a goal, a purpose, something to motivate me but sometimes all I see in front of me is the impossible. I think you used the right word Katharine - 'achievable'. Accepting what is difficult at the moment and focusing on what is achievable. The accepting bit is one of the difficulties I have, I've never really accepted I have limitations. When I visited my GP recently I was telling him how hard it is to explain to others how I'm feeling and how I believe they've not accepted I have a chronic illness and he said to me, ' They won't until you do.' I was quite shocked. Of course I've accepted it.......... Now I'm beginning to see what he meant.

I also tried Yoga and attended a weekly class but as the pain in my neck, shoulders and arms increased I gradually withdrew and haven't went back. I also love to walk - I live in the perfect area to go walking but at the moment I just don't.

Apologise Rachel - I've ranted on a bit which is not helpful. It's just you struck a cord with me. I sincerely hope you get back to your old self and I think spending quality time with those who mean the world to you will help immensely. Hope you have a lovely meal with your friends.

Take care.
Lainy
 

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I don't think you have ranted Lainy :)

Your experience is very valuable and one thing you said about accepting enough to actually "tell" people is very true.

I didn't "tell" anybody for a couple of years. Now I do and suddenly I find that I'm not so isolated. People don't understand but they WANT to. In some ways this was forced on me by having to use a rollator when I go out anywhere so people can see that something is wrong and acquaintances then ask.

At first I thought that that "weakness" would make people flee and that they would be awkward about it. I've been pleasantly surprised by their reactions and where I would walk through a shopping centre shoulders rounded, eyes to the ground, I now walk tall and look people in the eyes. Can't quite understand what happened through all this process but it has changed my life for the better and I feel as if I have a place in society again.

you see, I ramble/rant/wander too... :lol:

Katharine
 

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I painted my nails the other day.. which made me feel sort of "girly" and then I took a hot bath and pulled my hair straight.. even put on some mascara.. and even though that took all my energy, mentally I felt happier.. because I felt pretty.. :p
 

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I have to agree, I always try to make sure I look ok, hair done, nice clothes etc, so that even if I am really rough, I still look presentable. It makes me feel better. I find having my hair done and a manicure to be a real treat and a definite pick me up!!!! My real treat would be a pedicure, and I am going to have one soon!! :) I can't wait!!

I hope you are well today and planning something nice for over the weekend, you have your meal don't you. I hope that goes well, I find a laugh with my friends is a real tonic. Have a lovely time.

Deb x
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
yes deb i'll be making myself up 'girly' for my meal out with my fab friends!!!:)
Rachel
 

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Hi Marshmellow


Thought a previous posting might be helpful.

http://www.thelupussite.com/forum/showthread.php?t=74343

Its not an easy thing to build up ones self esteem as typically a chronic illness is known to strip one of many things. There are things that we grow from our experiences spiritually as having to face so much forces us to face things about ourselves and things around us that others may take for granted .

I think that renewing our self esteem involves implementing the tools of life that we learn or stuggle to learn along the way.

It just takes time .
It all seems so easy when we are well.

Sorry the answer is not more structured but I would write pages and pages.
You have been given good advice here already.

Nicky:)
 
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