Where did my confidence go?

I’m currently in my first month of recovery following an emergency surgery, which has resulted in me maintaining an ileostomy bag. It has so far been a complete roller-coaster of emotions. Each day unpredictable, my brain is irrationally confused with whether I want to laugh or cry. I want to be brave and strong and write my first blog post as someone who can deal with anything life throws at them but I can’t pretend to be something I’m not. Yes I believe I can be strong-willed and there have been days throughout recovery where I have woken up believing that this day will be better than the last, but I can’t pretend I smile when I look in the mirror. I can’t pretend I don’t wince when changing my ileostomy bag. I won’t pretend I don’t feel a little bit crushed when my friends avoid talking about what’s happened because they’re either too scared or too awkward to approach the subject.

Don’t get me wrong; there are people in my life who haven’t reacted at all. They’ve treated me the same as they always have and I can’t thank them enough for that. That’s all I want – normality; though it’s a little difficult to maintain that normality which enduring the early stages. I’m in a relationship and I’ve been out with friends for drinks and dinners, but it’s not the same. Before, having sex would be a spontaneous thing, it would be romantic. Now, I have to deal with draining and changing the stoma bag beforehand, and hear “are you okay? Am I hurting you?” consistently throughout. Dinner has turned into me hoping my stoma behaves and I don’t have to deal with any public embarrassment, whilst late night drinks have ended up with me having to leave early and hearing about the rest of the night the morning after.

These are all such minor things and I feel guilty complaining because my stoma saved my life, but at the age of 19 I still want to have a social life. I want to enjoy myself and I want my self-confidence back. I must admit I am really feeling the need for attention lately. I just want to be told it doesn’t matter what’s underneath my shirt. That I don’t need to hide anything, that I’m still beautiful. I wish someone could just shake me until I wake up and realise how lucky I am to still be here. I feel so selfish complaining about such meaningless things. I know I need to be strong and I know I need to help myself. I need to drill my confidence back into myself. From here on I am going to look at myself in the mirror each and every day up until my next post and point out something I like about myself. I am going to compliment myself. I am then going to document how I feel inside when I do so. Lets do this.

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