Lipoedema and Mental Health
Lipoedema is a physical condition, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t impact your mental health.
You might have been battled for years knowing that something was wrong with your body, trying to persuade doctors you weren’t just fat. It takes a mental toll on you to be constantly fighting your body. Diet cycles , perhaps exercise cycles always trying to eat less and move more because that is what we have been told we need to do. It is that simple you are constantly told. When you go to the doctor your are told you just haven’t tried hard enough. Some may even say you have been secretly eating. The food diary that you have painstaking kept to share with your doctor is not even taken seriously. It takes so much energy to continue to work against the battle that rages in your head. Lipoedema is so much more than a physical condition, it can be a mental battle as well.
Then one day you finally get the diagnosis of lipoedema, but then what do you do with that? How do you come to terms with how you have been treating yourself, your body for all these years? It is not just a physical acknowledgement it is a mental acknowledgement. To re-train your brain on how you think about yourself, your body, your relationship with food. It is not as simple as flicking a switch and accepting your new diagnosis, however welcome it is.
Lipoedema can effect everyone differently. Around 85% of people say lipoedema affects their mental health. So what does that look like?
It could be binge eating disorder, body dysmorphia, low self esteem, depression, anxiety, suicidal feelings, self harm and a lack of confidence. As lipoedema progresses mental health can be further impacted as mobility can decline in later stages.
Mental health can be further impacted when it comes to social aspects of life. The thought of trying to find something suitable to wear and feeling comfortable and confident in what you are wearing at the same time, can be a step to far. This can mean making a decision not to attend social events which can further affect your mental health.
Protecting your mental health is key with lipoedema. It is important to fInd out what helps you and your mental health. Some things that can help are connecting with other people. Physical activity can really help your mental health, any movement can help especially getting outside and into nature where you can.
Pay attention to the present moment and appreciate the moment you are in. Think about what your body can do for you. Mindfulness or being in the present moment practised regularly can help you understand yourself and get more out of your life and your mental health. Gratitude journals where you look for the positives in your day, no matter how small, are a great tool to support you.