Trigger warning: this piece discusses themes of body image.
Body image. Unfortunately, this is something a lot of people struggle with. That person you wish you could like more like? They're struggling, too, and probably want to look more like someone else.
The thing is though, body image is something that people from all walks of life struggle with, including those with disabilities and chronic illnesses. I say this because I've recently seen a lot of body image posts (which is awesome, don't get me wrong!) that might not be all that relatable for people with different capabilities. So I'm here to fill in the gap!
When you face health issues, your body image might take a hit. It can feel like your body isn't yours as you've so often been poked and prodded by doctors and specialists. There are chronic problems that might create obstacles to living the life you want.
Body image posts might state things like 'my body allows me to jump for joy,' to 'climb a tree' and that's so important to remember; our bodies do allow us to do so much. I don’t want anyone to feel like these aren’t great examples. But for those with chronic health issues, this might not be an option. As someone with a disability or illness, you could say that your body allows you to fight. It's fighting to keep you alive. It's fighting to let you continue living your life and do things that bring your joy.
In terms of self-care, this can also have gaps in terms of accessibility. Maybe you can’t go for a walk, maybe you can’t make plans to meet up with someone today, but you can take it easy. You can let yourself rest. You can have a day where you watch a comfort movie or series. It doesn’t have to be a huge activity, just something that allows YOU to refresh and reset.
I think, even if you don’t have any chronic illness or disability, that realising each day can be different from the next is so important. Maybe yesterday you couldn’t get out of bed, but today, you’re able to get up and eat something. Perhaps today you’re able to go outside for some fresh air, and maybe that’ll be enough for now. As well as this, realising that our bodies do a lot for us, even if some of our bodies can’t do the same things as the next person. They still allow us to enjoy experiences, to enjoy opportunities and to live.
Voices of Hope wants you to know that you do not have to do this alone. Click here to ‘find help’ - it’s not weak to speak!