1-31-97  20 years old.  I have been at IUP for 3 weeks now and I am still feeling lonely.  No one seems to stay around up here when the weekend comes which leaves me by myself.  I am not that social and so that adds to the loneliness.  It is during these quiet times on the weekends that I really get to examine myself and how I am feeling about my new found disease.  Struggles continue with walking up stairs and bending over but I mainly hide these activities from other people.  I guess the reason I do this is to not be laughed at or looked at.  Having muscular dystrophy brings attention to you.  The attention it brings can be uncomfortable at times and so I try to hide myself from other peoples views whenever I have the chance.  Sometimes I think about are people really going to make fun of me because I have a muscle problem.  I know the answer is most will not but there might be one or two who look and may laugh at me.  My self-esteem is low right now and I feel that I may not be able to handle someone laughing at the way in which I bend over or walk.  I know I have to work on improving my self-esteem in order for any improvements to take place.  The problem is that I often go back to the same old destructive thinking patterns whenever I am confronted with being in public.  I know I use my disability as an excuse to stay hidden from other people but what is it really doing for me?  It is almost as if I am at war with myself internally.  Part of me wants to grow and be alive in the sense of learning new things and getting out
there meeting people while another part of me wants to hide from outside judgments.  The part of me that wants to hide is the part of me that tells me to wait until no one is looking before getting up from the table.  It is also the part of me that tells me to walk to class before anybody else is out there so that no one sees you struggling.  It is also the part that tells me no one would
want to be with you because you struggle with physical activities.  As I write all of these negatives down, I cannot help but see the problem within me and that is I have low self-esteem.  I do not approve of me and until I do, no one will accept me as me.  In a way I blame muscular dystrophy for this low self-esteem.  Muscular dystrophy is the very thing that is preventing me from
being everything I want to be.  For now though, I will work on being aware of the thoughts I think when in social settings and hopefully break free from the bonds that I have created for myself.