Table 4

Image of self; subthemes and direct quotations

Image of self
3.1 Self loathing ‘I look in the mirror and I just don’t see myself anymore, you know what I mean? I just …see someone else. It just doesn’t look like me. My face and a big double chin, and all that, it depresses me’ (ID10/F/46)
3.2 Acceptance of self ‘I still love you’, he said, ‘because it’s the person inside, not the outside’. ‘That’s just you’, he said, ‘you are inside there, fighting to come out all the time’ …; and that’s what he’s always said about me, I’m a fighter’ (ID9/F/47)
3.3 Carer vs lover ‘I love him as my lover, but I struggle with him as my carer… One minute they're wiping your bum and then the next minute you're ripping each other's clothes off. It does vary’ (ID5/F/32)