It is no secret that since I became sick and was stuck on prednisone for months that I began to hate my body. After all, I’m up about 30 pounds from where I was nearly two years ago and I lost a lot of muscle that I had worked so hard to gain. I never acknowledged to myself how much I hate my body until I was out for a walk tonight. My hatred isn’t just for the weight gain or loss of muscle. It comes from a feeling of betrayal: my body tried to kill me. My immune system malfunctioned and for some miraculous reason, I survived months of physically challenging work in heels without internally bleeding to death.
The part that really got to me was that my body would not fix itself. It would go back and try to kill me when the prednisone dose was tapered. It would bleed in different ways each time. It cost me my job, it forced me to research and take matters into my own hands. I had to outsmart my own body. If I can’t trust my basic life sustaining functions, how can I truly love myself?
Every few months I promise myself I’m going to work out more, eat better, attempt to sleep, etc. I always end up falling off the wagon. It wasn’t about the lack of self control, it was anger that I had been brushing off and refusing to acknowledge. Every challenge that came my way that was the result of my rare disease made me angry. It made me not want to be nice to my body because after all, I am in this situation because it failed me. With every bruise and each day of pain, the anger flares.
I can relate my feelings to the scorn of a cheating lover. The endless brigade of “love your body” movements only made me resent my body even more. Never mind that I don’t want to dress up or accentuate any part of my body whatsoever. It is a traitor, it deserves to be shunned rather than celebrated. It is why I am in pain most of the day, the reason I have to take medication, worry about infections, wear a mask on airplanes, adjust my life around a rare disease that I didn’t want nor did I deserve.
And then I realized, it wasn’t my fault. There was nothing I did to deserve Immune Thrombocytopenia. I couldn’t have done anything to prevent myself being unknowingly poisoned at work. But I had the right to hate my body and I had a right to be angry and I should indulge and work through those emotions in order to overcome them. If I don’t, I will self destruct.