My journey through disfigurement.(donít be fooled by the title its not that boring lol)
I should actually change the name of the article to my ďcontinuing journey through disfigurementĒ, as itís going to be an ongoing process in my life. I wasnít born with a disfigurement, I was involved in a house fire in 2006 where I was severely burnt and as a result have got visible scars.
Right first things first anyone whoís reading this I donít want you to get an impression that this article will tell you that everything is going to be fine and thereís nothing for you to worry about, because of course living with a disfigurement is very difficult, upsetting, sad, and sometimes hard to come to terms with. BUT we all have to realise that life still goes on, we canít just make our lifeís come to a stand still because we have a disfigurement. Iím not saying that I came out of hospital and lived my life how I used to, but it did take me a long time to realise and come to terms with what had happened and think about how Iím going to cope with it.
Itís been 4 years since my accident and there are still some things in my life I donít do because of disfigurement, for example I donít go out in my area because Iím scared of seeing anyone that used to know me and how much of a shock it would be to them to see me like this. I know I know, the really confident people reading this right now are thinking Ďwhy do you care about what people think of, as long you think you look good then whatís the problem?í. Yeah I know, but you see my point is that even after 4 years I havenít fully gained my confidence on meeting my old school friends. However I have gained a lot more confidence in meeting new people and talking to strangers (ok, people I donít go around talking to random people on the streets if thatís what you thinking) but before my accident I was a very timid, nervous girl and I would have never even imagined moving out from my comfort zone and going to a new college away from school friends, travelling on the trains, and most important making new friends.
I still remember the first time I looked in the mirror after my accident, yeah it was horrific I just didnít have any words to describe myself and how I looked, I just cried and cried and thought how am I going to leave the hospital without people seeing me like this. But I obviously knew that this wasnít an option I couldnít hide from the fact that this has happened but I had to find a way of living with my new face and body. The biggest help for me was my physios; it was like army boot camp lol. Up at 7am breakfast eaten, tablets taken and off to the gym for a 2 hour work out. 12pm lunch, 3pm more physio and intense scar management (trust me at the time I hated them all for the pain they put me through, but if it wasnít for the intense physio I donít think I would have been able to manage the emotions I had towards my disfigurement). While in hospital I did also have counselling (and this was major OMG, because when I first heard that Iím having counselling I just felt like why???? Thereís nothing wrong with me). At the beginning I refused to talk to the councillor, but after a while when I realised I was feeling lonely and decided to tell her how I felt, and she used to set me mini targets, to begin with it was dealing with going home. After that hurdle was over it was how Iím going to face people, what Iím going to do about my education. Slowly I completed the targets and Iíve never looked back. I mean I do get my down days as wells and I sit back and think of all the things Iíve achieved and how far Iíve come.
I was on over 15 tablets a day and in the space of 2 months I went from a size 8 to size 18 (yeah I know girls it calls for major dieting lol however it wasnít as simple as that) I gained the weight because of the tablets I was taking and because I had to eat like a pig lol to speed up the healing process. But you know us girls weíre like zombies when it comes to dieting ĎI must diet, I must lose weightí lol. So at this time that was my main issue I didnít want to be that big, so slowly the doctors started taking me off the tablets.(psst thatís only because I have a love for food and I could eat for England and that helped heal my burns quicker lol). The weight started dropping of and I was feeling more confident and starting wearing clothes that I liked and that I felt comfortable in, so yeah that definitely put a smile on my face. But I realised I still had my face to tackle with which was the main part of my disfigurement, so when I went back to my councillor I discussed with her how I felt about my face, she then suggested Changing Faces and how they will help me and how I can meet other young people with disfigurements.
I had my first Young Peoples Council meeting, I was very apprehensive about the meeting and how the other members would see me, I had a thousand questions running through head. But as I arrived, there were a couple of other members there already and we started talking and they were very polite and made me comfortable but I still felt a bit nervous. But as the activities started and as more members came, I felt totally at home I opened up to and I felt like the old Sofi. Changing faces made me feel like there was a place for people with disfigurements and I didnít feel lonely or isolated again and most of all Iíd found new friends. Thereafter Iíve been attending most YPC meetings and getting more involved. Now Iím a Changing Faces volunteer, and its great to get a feel of an office environment I absolutely love it!
I now have come to terms with the way I look and to be honest I actually like the new me! Lol. You know before my accident I knew nothing about make up, I was never into make up or even a girly girl. But now I donít walk out the house without the foundation, compact powder, eye liner and my spider leg eyelashes lol. To be honest I guess thatís my way of dealing with my facial disfigurement and itís a way that works for me because I can walk out that door feeling so confident and bright.
Iíve probably wrote way too much about my life and most of you probably looked at the length of this and thought Ďits too long for me to read Ď lol I know but oh well, hey its not that bad lol. Actually I think itís pretty good (not boasting or anything lol). But have a read and write comments, tell me what you think. I just hope people reading this can relate to it and feel that itís not only them that are/have been going through it, because trust me your not alone. The most important note just be happy with who you areJ .