Sunday 28 January 2018


Reader Taylor has struggled with self-esteem issues, gender dysphoria and eating disorders - but a conversation with an understanding nurse has helped him to see things in a different way...

Taylor says:
I’ve got two separate eating disorders and also gender dysphoria, so it’s pretty safe to say that I definitely have self esteem issues. Until recently, I didn’t understand how someone could look down at their body and not want to cry, but things have begun to change for me and perhaps some of what has triggered that may help other readers too.

Five months ago, I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, and I was discharged just under a week ago. For most of this time, I didn’t really make much progress self esteem wise. Then something happened that changed my life. Eight weeks ago, we got a new student nurse who was in her second year of uni. I’ll call her Lauren. To start with, I felt quite awkward around her, but after a couple of days, we talked more and then gradually got incredibly close. I learnt that I could trust her, and she started to trust me too. We talked a lot, I opened up to her properly about how I felt about myself. She broke down and cried during the conversation, and kept on hugging me - this was seen as unprofessional by other staff - how dare nurses have feelings! 

She kept on apologising, and I didn’t get why. She then told me this: 'I had this same conversation when I was a bit older than you, with one of my teachers. We’re not so different, actually.' Side note: this seriously shocked me, as Lauren seemed like the last person who would have self esteem issues. 'My teacher was not the sympathetic kind, I have no idea why I went to her,' Lauren continued. She wiped away tears and laughed a bit at this point. 'She didn’t really help me at all. You know what I found out on my own, though? Every human being is special. Everyone has potential. Look at you...' - meaning me - 'You’re young, you’re so young. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you. Man, I know that I’m going to switch on the TV one day and see you in a movie, or on the music channel, or on stage...'

She actually thought I’d be good enough to become an actor/ musician - I’m still not sure what she was basing that on seeing as she’d never heard me sing but oh well! 'Even if you don’t go down that road,' Lauren went on, 'You’re still going to do amazing things, and how you look isn’t going to change that. How you look defines nothing other than what the mirror shows you.'

That was it. Life changed forever. After the conversation, I went and watched TV with the other patients. When I went back to my room that evening, the photos covering my mirror had been taken down, and I could see myself for the first time. Well, partially anyway. Lauren had written all over the edges of my mirror. She had put down loads of positive things that she thought about me, things like she liked my hair colour and my glasses suited me. Of course, that didn’t instantly solve everything. I had to (and still have to!) work so, so hard to get to where I am now, where I’m able to look into a mirror and not breakdown in tears, and sometimes actually like what I see! To some people this may not sound like much, but honestly, for someone who from the age of seven had cried almost every time there was a mirror, it’s a lot.

So, my advice to other people? Get yourself a Lauren. Or listen to her advice. YOU are capable of doing amazing things. YOU are capable of doing amazing things. How you look (or how you think you look) does not define you.

Cathy says:

Wow... such an honest post, and so simple and life-changing too. I think there is something we can all take from this, myself included! Have YOU got any tips on boosting self-esteem and confidence? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!


  1. Every human being is special. Everyone has potential. Look at you...' That is such a lovely line.😁 Aw, lovely advice. I'm glad your self-esteem has raised.

    #sweetreats xx

  2. Wow, this story is so inspirational! Lauren sounds like a true angel. I'm sure you look fab anyway - everyone is different, so nobody can really be defined as 'fat' or 'ugly'. I agree with Lauren, you will go far!

    There are still ways to change your looks if you have something specific in mind - different clothing combinations; some makeup; a new hair style etc. and many people have written songs and books about why it's fine to alter your looks in minor ways. Loads of people completely cover themselves in fake tan/tatoos/colourful clothes. And you know what? That's ok.

    It is still really important to be able to accept youself the way you are. You are beautiful, and I know that lots of people including Lauren and, most of all, you yourself have helped to develop your confidence and help you become you.

    Well done for getting so far! No matter how far you are from the top, it's not moving so as long as you keep going - you'll get there!

  3. I struggle with low self-esteem and gender dysphoria and I know how difficult it can be to fight against your mind every day. Taylor is very brave and I'm glad she met Lauren to help her on the path to feeling alright enough to look in a mirror without hating herself.

  4. Just a quick reminder that Tay uses male pronouns- I'm not sure if he ever mentioned it in previous posts and I know he meant to message you about it when this one got published but he might not have got round to it so just thought I'd mention that <3

    1. I didn't know... glad for him though. Hugely inspiring as I know a little of the pain he has been through. Wishing him all the best, and have removed the 'she' from the title intro. Cheers Manda! xxx



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