How kidney failure can hurt self-esteem

The year was 1997. I was in my final year of chemical engineering. I was on my way to top my class. I had got admission into a college in the US for my master's. I would not characterise myself as egotistic but I was confident in my abilities, pretty sure I would do well in life.

Cut to 27 years later. Life turned out very differently. Dependent on a machine that keeps me alive, my self esteem is in tatters. For someone who looks at my life from the outside, the fact that I am so low on self esteem would probably come as a shock. When I think objectively and consciously, even I believe I have no reason to be low on confidence.

However, this works at a deeply sub-conscious level. The things that play out in instantaneous reactions to events. The thoughts that flood the mind without an intent from the thinker.

This is something that happens very gradually. There is a realisation, bit by bit, that sinks in. That I have absolutely no control over my body. And this possibly plays out at a macro level. I expect failure all the time. I expect the worst to happen all the time. I catastrophize every situation in life. I do not believe I can do anything well. 

Mindfulness has helped me to an extent. I have tried to watch out for such emotions and consciously moved away from them. The trouble, of course, is that I am not mindful all the time. Often, I don't realise that I have got into the negative spiral of thought until I have got too deep into it.

So, while some people do very well physiologically on dialysis, the mind is often, still a struggle. So please don't assume if everything is calm on the surface, things are calm below as well. 


Vikas said…
Hi Kamal
Very brave of you to share these thoughts. I am sure other people struggling with similar problems will identify with them. However most do not express them and suffer silently. Do remember you are a role model as a person who has turned an adversity into an opportunity . May God give you the strength to continue striving and succeeding.
I read your book and believe very few able bodied people would have been able to achieve what you have done in your life.
Do continue writing and share your inspirational journey.
Kamal D Shah said…
Dear Vikas, thank you so much for your comment. It was heartfelt and made my day.