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I hate my appearance after assault. How do i live with this for literally forever?

(22 Posts)
nello Fri 23-Sep-11 14:32:36

i've just realised that it's never going to go away and i can't stop crying. I used to be pretty, and look good in photos and feel confident, and look people in the eye when i talked to them. I was assaulted a year ago and my eye socket was badly broken. I've had a couple of operations to try and restore my vision and appearance to a degree. Now my eye is ok, it's not horrific, i am not severely disfigured, and i know it could be worse, but it still looks smaller and 'pushed in', like someone has poked my eye into my head and my lid is too big now that there is not enough eyeball there. A friend just sent me a photo on email of me holding my new baby, entitled 'gorgeous'. she sent it to make me feel good, and yet when i opened it i was so upset, and that's when i realised. I am going to look like this forever. i have to put up with it and i don't want to. i want to look like me, and feel ok about photos being taken and not to feel embarassed when i meet new people. I honestly hate what i see when i look in the mirror and can't accept it as me. I am not in the UK so i can't access any uk charities that deal with these kind of feelings. My partner thinks i need to start 'getting over it'. But I can't. and i can't believe that i have to live with this forever. that it is never going to go away. i don't think any one can really help me with this, because it is so permenant. But i thought i would write, just incase anyone had had a similar experience or offer advice. thanks.

mufti Fri 23-Sep-11 14:34:29

google katie piper. she has a website, can you look at that?

mufti Fri 23-Sep-11 14:35:07

prob a chat forum on there

CMOTdibbler Fri 23-Sep-11 14:39:40

You can get help from UK charities - Changing Faces have a lot of advice on coming to terms with facial differences.

Have you thought about getting some counselling to help you recover after the assault and your change in appearance ? My counsellor is helping me with my changed body image

saintlyjimjams Fri 23-Sep-11 14:41:47

Because it's permanent it will take time to adjust to, and it must be something that you feel a lot of anger about as well. Must might be the wrong word, but I mean it wouldn't be surprising if you felt angry about it.

Honestly I would look for some counselling. I think this sort of thing is hard to come to terms with without time and the chance to talk it through and work out why it affects you. I was 'made' to have counselling regarding my son's disability. I didn't think I needed it and didn't think it would do anything but it was honestly one of the best things I did and allowed me to move forwards (when I hadn't even realised I was stuck).

nello Fri 23-Sep-11 14:42:35

i live overseas and don't speak the language so don't know where to go. i did have counselling after the assault when i was in another overseas country, but only been here for 2 weeks and i don't know where to go for help. i'll check out these websites.

CMOTdibbler Fri 23-Sep-11 14:44:43

You could look into ecounselling - I'm doing mine by email, so you could use a UK based counsellor if that would be easier

PIMSoclock Fri 23-Sep-11 14:44:52

Nello, what you are feeling is completely normal and understandable.
Your injury is representative of trauma, of a situation where you had no control.
You really would benefit from some counciling. You need to grieve and deal with what has happened to you, then learn how to separate those feeling from the reaction you have when you see yourself in the mirror.
It can be turned into a positive reaction, to remind you that you are a surviver not a victim.
Cognitive behavioural therapy will help you recognise negative feelings as the arise and give you techniques for coping with them turning them into positive and giving you the power back.
This will be a long journey for you, but you have survived a terrible event and you must be incredibly strong to have done as well as you have.
It's time to let yourself be helped to deal with all the normal reactions you have and cope with them before they consume you
Good luck smile

nello Fri 23-Sep-11 14:57:43

thanks for the advice. i would love to have some counselling, but i am living abroad and becuase we have a new baby, i am not working and we are only just making ends meet and i don't know how to find a counsellor, or an e-counsellor or if there is somewhere i can get one for free or at a reduced cost. does anyone know where i could look?

nello Fri 23-Sep-11 15:03:52

...and i don't feel very strong, so as soon as something is difficult, (like trying to find a counsellor) i just feel overwhelmed. I wish i was in the UK where i couild go and talk to my GP and they would be able to give me something. I've emailed changing faces just now, maybe they can help.

PIMSoclock Fri 23-Sep-11 15:11:42

www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfoforall/treatments/cbt.aspx
this website might be able put you in touch with someone in your area.
Victim support may be able to help too. What country are you in? Will try and find some more links xx

nello Fri 23-Sep-11 15:12:53

i'm in italy. Rome.

SweetestThing Fri 23-Sep-11 15:14:03

Hello nello. I have severe facial palsy on the left side of my face following cancer surgery and my left eye has been sewn to make it slightly smaller (and less vulnerable to corneal abrasions) with the result that I have one eye smaller than the other, with a heavy eyelid and eyebrow because there's no facial nerve there, and can't move the left side of my face or mouth at all. It's only been about 5 months since my surgery and I am still getting used to looking in the mirror and seeing this very different face, so I know what you are feeling.

I am going to my first support group for people with facial palsy tomorrow and wonder if you might like me to pm you if there's anything I find out there that might help you? I don't know what it will be like, but there may be a few ideas or coping strategies that might help.

nello Fri 23-Sep-11 15:16:10

thanks sweetest that would be really great. thank you smile

nello Fri 23-Sep-11 15:20:04

your 'change' sounds a lot worse than mine, a lot more to cope with. My partner reminds me of this often, how lucky i am that it is not worse, but i still find it hard to cope with mine, even though it could be worse. i think just having your appearance altered for the worse affects you, and the severity doesn't affect the negative feelings, you stiill have them. i hope your support group goes well for you.

PIMSoclock Fri 23-Sep-11 15:24:04

www.envisvictimsupport.eu/?tag=victim-support
perhaps these guys could point you in the right direction?

PIMSoclock Fri 23-Sep-11 15:27:00

Ignore my last link meant to post this
www.victimsupporteurope.eu/

nello Fri 23-Sep-11 15:32:05

thanks very much PIMS i'll email them

AgentProvocateur Fri 23-Sep-11 15:42:15

Nello, no advice about your appearance, I'm afraid, but I wanted to empathise with you about moving to a new country. It's very hard at first, isn't it? This sounds patronising - and it's not meant to - but I'm sure you look much better than you think. We're usually our own worst critics, and I'm sure that other people are as unobservant as me, and probably wouldn't notice that your eyes are different.

Do you know anyone in Rome? I'm sure there's a thread somewhere for people living in Italy. Maybe you could post there and see if there are any other English speakers with a baby in Rome.

Why don't you have a look on Amazon and see if there are any books that might be useful?

Good luck.

Snuppeline Fri 23-Sep-11 15:44:06

I gather from what you say that it wasn't your current partner who assaulted you? Being attacked by another human being (if that is what you were) leads to worse trauma than being unjured by natural disasters. What your feeling is normal. If your from the UK and currently staying at home with a baby could you go back to the UK and live with family/friends while you seek some councelling? Your injury sounds difficult to deal with on so many levels and I hate to think that your isolated in a different country with a new baby. You say you feel overwhelmed easily right now, I'm not surprised! New baby, new country and this horrifc trauma in addition. I hope you can return to the UK for a while to get someone to talk too and get your strength back.

nello Fri 23-Sep-11 16:27:38

no, my partner didn't assault me - it was somebody who i knew though. I agree that returning to the UK could be useful...not sure if possible but i will look into it. thanks.

nello Fri 23-Sep-11 19:23:31

Thanks AgentP kind words. smile i have managed to make a few friends with babies so things should be looking up.
Thanks Snuppeline too. You are right, in that it is hard to deal with the trauma along with the isolation of being in a new country with a baby. Unfortunately my partner couldn't get a job in the UK which is why we ended up here, closer to home, but not close enough really. It is nice to know that my feelings are normal. sometimes i feel like i am going crazy, not coping, and not being a good mummy for my little baby.

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