This article’s headline may not be what you’re used to hearing from me; it might be dark and harsh. If such phrases make you uncomfortable and trigger you, please read some of my more upbeat and uplifting writings.
The goal, however, is not to terrify or disappoint you but to find beauty in life's ugly side.
Finding a bright spot, even in the darkest portions of life, is a fantastic ability. I’ll tell you why living with pectus excavatum wasn’t easy for me. Still, I think this article has a humorous and upbeat side.
When we accept the ugly sides, the beauty will immediately surface, and everything will be more accessible to us instantly.
We all have this power deep inside us!
However, we can’t pretend that living with the pectus excavatum chest deformity is easy. If not treated appropriately, it may hurt our lives and make our daily life more difficult.
I must state that I want to believe in people’s generosity and compassion. It is essential not to lose faith in the existence of good people and to know that you will always find someone who will not only look at you only physically.
However, one of the most significant issues that someone with a pectus excavatum faces is the possibility of getting bullied because of the chest indentation.
We are often more terrified by the thought of getting bullied.
When we go somewhere for the first time in the summertime, we constantly think that strangers will notice our chest hole and abnormality. That may or may not be the case.
In this scenario, hiding the abnormality with clothes can be positive and helpful.
Bullying may occur at any age, although it is most widespread in elementary through high school.
Those with pectus excavatum or carinatum are more likely to struggle with poor self-esteem and a negative body image.
Bullying may negatively impact body image because an individual may begin to believe what a bully says.
There are many memes on the Internet about pectus excavatum or pectus carinatum. They can have an impact on a person with low self-esteem too. But, if people know their worth and are comfortable with themselves, they may use memes as an ironical defense mechanism and way to communicate.
Due to bullying, some people can develop many disorders, such as eating disorders. We all know nutrition is essential to keep a healthy mind and body. This is vital for a person with a sunken chest.
People with low self-esteem usually believe something is wrong with them and try to find a coping mechanism.
Please remember that it is not your fault if you are experiencing bullying. Be honest about your feelings and talk with someone you trust. Please share your thoughts and feelings.
2. Mental Health Issues and Low Self-Esteem
I feel that all of the issues associated with pectus excavatum are interconnected. So, next on the list of side effects of a physical look deformity is hurt mental health and low self-esteem.
Unfortunately, our self-confidence is often based mainly on our physical appearance.
There is no easy way out of that circle. The physical appearance of the individual is constantly changing. We all get older, have challenges, and our physical appearance changes.
That is why it is critical to work on ourselves and our personalities. Only then will all challenges be much easier to conquer.
As I mentioned before, the chain goes on. Low self-esteem leads to various mental problems in people.
There is compelling evidence of a correlation between depressed mood states and low self-esteem. Low self-esteem is a common symptom of major depression and depressive subcategories.
Joking about yourself in a negative light might be beneficial at times. Learning to make fun of yourself can occasionally lead to self-love. Still, it can also be detrimental to your inner peace.
So, please be careful and know what serves you!
Therefore, try to surround yourself with the appropriate people. Someone who will not make you feel inferior and accept you for who you are!
3. Meditation Problems and Dizziness
Meditation is beneficial when we feel uncomfortable and bad in our bodies.
Whenever you find yourself stuck in hopelessness and your gaze is only through a negative prism, please try meditation!
But in addition to the great help of meditation for people with pectus excavatum, there’s a problem that plenty of us others experience while meditating.
The problem is certainly not so big and scary compared to its positive impact, but it is good to know.
The issue occurs when we breathe deeply while sitting in an upright position. During meditation, improper inhalation and exhalation can cause mild dizziness, automatically distracting you from those relaxing moments.
I often experience this too, so I would like to warn you to expect this.
Meditation can be a remedy for pectus excavatum patients with follow-up deteriorating mental health caused by it.
I guarantee that if you practice daily meditation for at least thirty days, you will see a difference, even if it takes five minutes.
That is not simply a quote from one of the many scientific studies available on the Internet; this is my personal experience and the experiences of others.
This obstacle with dizziness is just a bump on the road to becoming the strongest version of yourself.
But, if that is a real difficulty for you, try any other body activity that will help you stay calm and delighted!
4. Army Disqualification
Usually, an obvious obstacle for men with pectus excavatum is a limited opportunity to join the army due to the deformation.
You will most likely get excluded from the military if you have difficulties with chest deformities during physical exercise.
However, that shouldn’t discourage you from creating and working on your healthy physique and lifestyle.
On online forums, we can read the different experiences of people with the same or similar health problems. They share their journey and claim that disqualification is the most common outcome.
5. Shyness While Being Shirtless
Thат may sound crazy to someone who has confidence in their physical appearance. I know the fear of taking off the shirt, especially when “necessary,” such as at pools or beaches. I experienced this when I was younger.
Even though this issue is resolved now, it took a lot of dedication and self-improvement to fix it. Even today, insecurities can come back sometimes. To counter this, I immediately try to remind myself of my true worth and ignore the ugly side of my thoughts.
I know how hard it is to fight with all the thoughts focused on our deformity.
That can be such a bad experience for a person.
Being naked and bearing in mind that anyone can judge us is a burden for anyone. Thanks to social media, we all have different insecurities, which is a fact!
What we can do is make sure that we’re not the ones passing judgment on others.
Know that hiding behind wide blouses and piles of lies you would tell only to not go to the beach is nonsense. It will only shorten your chance of creating memories and beautiful moments with friends.
You’re on the beach for yourself, not to impress anyone else.
I know that such anxieties are tough to overcome, but there are ways you can do to feel comfortable and self-confident.
6. Insecurity when Dating
Many people who have pectus excavatum experience stress when dating. They are afraid that their possible partners will evaluate them adversely based on their looks.
If that thought is your starting point when dating, know that it will scare you additionally, and you will act weird and not like yourself.
Many studies show that body issues are hard to overcome while dating, but evaluating yourself and knowing your good sides can help.
We must know that people have many forms and build in the real world away from social media, where everyone is perfect.
Beauty is a subjective characteristic, and everyone has their criteria for attractiveness. Still, the human bodies are not a competition.
Rather than obsessing about negative ideas about your physique, seek to build a good self-image with actual values and date individuals who appreciate you for who you are.
Having pectus excavatum and dealing with low self-esteem can endanger our love life.
I also had those thoughts and problems, but I realized that if I respect myself, others will surely appreciate me. Then this deformity can remain unnoticed in the eyes of our partner.
7. Expensive Treatments
For people with more severe pectus excavatum, treatments can be costly.
Unfortunately, people often cannot afford the treatment, which may change their lives. I consider that as one of the major flaws of this deformity.
Of course, despite the high cost, I am still grateful that there is a solution. The medicine alleviates the whole trouble with chest malformations.
Around the world, prices can vary for operation processes, equipment, and aids, such as the vacuum bell. Therefore, I recommend that you research well before committing to any help.
That research process should be the most extensive about surgery. Before taking such a step, look for the best medical team and be 100% sure that this is the right solution for your health.
Do not make a mistake and then complain about the lost time and money.
Of course, suppose your health situation is aggravating. In that case, there is no room for thinking, but thoroughly researching and discovering a more favorable price can be only a plus.
Those with chest deformities know that those conditions can create additional health obstacles.
One of the most obvious is the difficulty in gaining weight in these patients. Pectus excavatum can manifest itself in different ways, from minor to severe.
Patients with pectus excavatum often have lower weight before surgery than “normal,” according to a study. There are a lot of difficulties while being skinny, having pectus excavatum and protruding ribs peeping through the shirt. It affects our minds and self-esteem.
Of course, there is a chance that will change.
You need to exercise and eat a combination of foods that will further speed up the gaining weight while being healthy.
9. Work Out Problems and Exercise Intolerance
Although exercise is our best friend, it can still be a problem for people with pectus excavatum.
Those with severe pectus excavatum deformities have very poor endurance. That is linked to decreased cardiac output and tidal volume responses to exercise.
Athletic performance may be lower due to the pectus symptoms. It often leads to a loss of confidence and avoidance of exercise and sports activities in people with funnel chest malformation. Some pectus patients avoid sports like swimming, where people may see their chest because they fear being stared at and bullied.
But on the other hand, swimming benefits all patients with pectus deformities. Not breathing normally, rapid breathing, and shortness of breath are the initial obstacles to sports with chest deformation.
To choose the proper exercise for you, seek professional help. That applies to people who have additional health problems due to chest deformity. But if your condition is mild or moderate, please do not look for excuses and start immediately.
I promise exercising is what you need to be happy and healthy.
10. Difficulties in Finding Suitable Clothing
For someone with poor self-esteem and pectus excavatum deformity, anxiety in the dressing room, confusion, and questioning if you like what you’re seeing are concerns and problems.
Trying to hide or camouflage your chest hole with clothes can be exhausting.
But please keep it in a normal range of care. Yes, you will shop for your appearance to some extent, but if possible, avoid focusing on it.
Pectus excavatum might make you have a nervous breakdown in the dressing room, which won’t help you get the appearance you seek. Our deformations need essential changes.
Yes, comfy and wide blouses can help you hide the sunken breastbone, but we need to address and work on the root of the real problem.
11. Bad Posture
Bad body posture is unpleasant and unattractive and can make a poor first impression. Our poor posture can give the impression that we are fearful and insecure during social events.
Pectus excavatum is associated with poor posture. The pectus posture represents shoulders pushed forward while the upper spine is bent unnaturally forward.
However, numerous other spinal disorders, such as scoliosis, are noted.
Patients’ sternums are also pressed inwards to a certain depth, and all of these combined create an unwanted body image. The pectus posture can improve with physical therapy and proper exercises to strengthen the chest muscles and the overall body.
Yoga workouts are also helpful and very welcome in those cases. If you know your posture is not the best, start with exercises that can help.
Because poor posture can intensify the severity and appearance of the pectus excavatum, strengthening your postural muscles will be very beneficial.
Possible Everyday Problems and Obstacles
Individuals with severe chest malformations can have worse physical capabilities and quality of life than those without it. Early treatment of chest-wall deformities seems to improve workability, health-related quality of life, and inner fulfillment in patients.
Individuals with pectus excavatum or pectus carinatum may struggle socially due to internal or external causes.
Treatment should aim to enhance their quality of life and capacity to work.
Pectus Excavatum and Empathy
It is undeniable that having pectus excavatum is a tiresome experience for many people. It tires us mentally and physically and can impede many things.
It teaches us empathy, a vital virtue that means we can understand other people based on our experience.
The world would be much worse if empathy did not exist, and I’m not sure we’d want to live in such a harsh and judgy world.
Peace of Mind
When we live with a chest deformity, we appreciate the peace that may come and go or remain with us forever once we improve our pectus excavatum.
That happened when I started seeing improvement from working out, wearing a brace, and using a vacuum bell. I understood I could treat my longtime pectus problem, especially the aesthetic aspect.
Pectus deformities may hurt our well-being, whether mentally or physically. However, we feel better when we continually work on our physique and keep peace of mind.
When we cultivate hope in ourselves, we are ready to do new activities that we couldn’t do when we were suffering and unsatisfied with ourselves.
Those small new steps always make us smile and make us move on.
The Bottom Line
Problems that arise as a result of physical deformities, in my opinion, should be recognized from a young age.
That can help future generations and give them hope in the face of adversity if they are aware of them.
Of course, I’m referring to psychological obstacles here.
It may be simpler for a young person to accept the consequences if they are prepared mentally for what is ahead.
Unfortunately, this is how our world is. Bullying exists as early as childhood, and those with deformities are targeted by bullies as early as kindergarten.
In that way, this article might serve as a message to all parents, informing their kids of the sunken chest and reassuring them that that is normal.
Even if children may not want to offend when they comment on anything, their comments might cause harm to the other kid.
However, it’s critical to understand that some consider pectus excavatum a life problem. Please know that everyone with this condition knows their challenges, so please be nice. Thank you for reading!