It's tough when illness takes away your looks. People may tell you you’re lucky to be alive, but there’s no gratitude in your heart – only loss, resentment and grief. Maybe you have lost a breast to cancer, or an accident has cost you a limb. Possibly you’ve been disfigured in a fire. Whatever the case, you just don’t feel like ‘you’ any more. Often there doesn’t seem to be any point in life. You feel like covering all the mirrors and spending the rest of your days with the door locked – is there any point going on?
Strategies to cope with the loss of health and beauty
Take what’s useful to you from the following:
- You have suffered a loss, and like any loss it takes time to heal. It may be impossible to imagine that you can ever move on from this place of despair, but accept that you can and will, even if it takes ages. Life is full of amazing twists and turns and there will be good days ahead for you.
- Remember, you may have post-traumatic stress. This is a condition separate from certain other issues you may be coping with, so look into it and ask for help.
- Forget trying to feel what you ‘should’ feel. If people expect you to be glad you’ve survived and tell you to count your blessings, tell them (nicely!) that they cannot possibly understand. Show them this blog if you like, so they can be more empathic.
- Friends need to know you don’t want their pity, but that shouldn’t stop you accepting help. Think of it this way – you have a gift to give. That is the gift of making people feel useful. Why withhold it?
- It is natural to feel a range of ugly emotions like rage, envy of others and all sorts of fears that may never have arisen before your disfiguring event. You need to share these and if there is no support group or counseling available, our caring readers at TheCircle will give you real help. They won’t demean you by feeling sorry for you, for they will see your true potential.
- One of the most devastating side-effects can sometimes be a threat to your spiritual beliefs. How could a loving God do this to you? Or maybe you’ve always been enlightened and wise-living, regularly meditating, trying to spread positive vibes, and this is how you get rewarded? Not only have you lost part of your body, you now find yourself pitched into that ‘dark night of the soul’ where you can’t believe in anything, and the Universe is empty. But this too shall pass! It may be best not to strain for meanings, for one day the song of a bird or a ray of sunshine will open your eyes again.
- You are learning fabulous lessons! If you believe in Karma, you are now chalking up the points. Maybe you can’t see it at the moment (and if you’re very angry you won’t want to see it!). However, life is about learning, and a Cosmos held together by love, has a drive to help you progress. Could this disfigurement be ‘tough love’? Is your spiritual self preparing you for a jump towards enlightenment, to becoming a shining being, a healer or such like? A huge proportion of the world’s population believe that this, or something like it, could be the case. So, when you are ready, picture yourself en route to transcendence!
- Eventually you will get to a more positive place. That’s when your determination will take over and you’ll find ways to overcome even the most hideous difficulties. You may draw inspiration from celebrities – for instance, one of the most admired beauties in the world, Angelina Jolie, has lost both her breasts. There are super-fit athletes who have no legs. Stunning paintings have been created by people with no arms. So forget what you can’t do and focus on what you can. You will find that it is more – far more – than you thought.
- If you hate the way you look, concentrate on the bits that you can make attractive. For instance, I have patients who have been through a mastectomy and whose hair is thinning because of drugs, yet they take pride in manicures and pedicures, flashing their brightly-painted nails. Invest in nice clothes and jewellery, a smart watch, quality shoes. Or you could treat yourself to something lovely to look at, like a painting. Learn not to dwell on what you hate – look at what uplifts you.
- Maybe you were fit and active, possibly even an athlete, but now that’s taken away from you. If you had the self-discipline to do those things before, you can now find other challenges to which you can rise.
- Keep up an interest in your health – don’t give over responsibility to the doctors. Get your proper vitamin intake, research appropriate supplements, consider alternatives such as acupuncture, homeopathy, reflexology. Just because your poor bod is damaged, doesn’t mean it doesn’t need love and attention. Think of it as a vintage vehicle that will benefit from a few extras!
- Do kind deeds, even if you can only manage small things. It’s amazing how that boosts you, and makes you feel you still have power and influence for the positive.
If all of this fails and you can’t seem to drag yourself out of a pit, there is always a place you can go for help. Our readers at TheCircle have so much insight. Give them a chance to turn you around by calling without delay.
PUBLISHED: 3 November 2014