An exercise in self confidence.
A Patient's Story: One of the things I’ve noticed as someone living with pulmonary hypertension, is how much my body image has changed. It was challenging before I got sick, but now I have new and unusual additions such as wearing oxygen, and being attached to a permanent medicine pump with tubing coming directly out of my chest.
It would be really easy to hide away at home, and initially that’s what I did. Every time I ventured out people would stare at me, make comments such as “you’re so brave to be out in public”, even pat me gently on the arm. All well intended and coming from a place of human compassion. But then there were the people who actually tried to touch my chest where the tubing comes out, shudder, screw up their faces and make very personal comments like, “what have you done to yourself”, somehow implying that this situation was of my own making.
Words are are very powerful and they can have many different types of effect on you, for different reasons, depending on your individual life experience. If you’ve ever experienced bullying, low self esteem or child abuse, these words can paralyse you. It’s not enough that you are trying to cope with a new chronic progressive illness and a massive change in body image, but now you have to deal with insensitive or ignorant comments too.
Most of of us have heard of self affirmations. "Self talk" can definitely take up a lot of your thinking time, both negative or positive, generally with a slant to the negative... They say “you are what you think”, so we would like to introduce you to our first confidence building exercise, “Mirror Mirror on the wall”.
We are already really well practiced at being critical of ourselves, so let’s turn the tables and try this for a change. Your super power is that you are unique, you are you, there’s only one of you, a limited edition if you like. In a world that can be so exhausting and self critical, try building your new mental health tool kit by starting with this exercise.
Some examples as as person living with PH, are as follows: