IBD, mental health

10 Reasons why IBD Makes You a Better Person

So I’m back! I have been seriously AWOL from my blog for the last couple of months. Mostly working and sleeping, but there’s been a little bit of play too! I am finally settling into my job and loving it, and adjusting to only seeing my better half every other weekend. I successfully ventured abroad again, for a weekend in Venice. Health wise I have been having ups and downs, but that’s the nature of the beast that is IBD, and at the moment, I am coping well. I guess that has been the main reason for my lack of posts – as there is nothing new to report, just me still trying to accept and adjust (I know you’re thinking, ‘it’s been bloody ages, she should be used to it by now!’) However, there have been a few things that I’ve wanted to blog about for a little while now, and I’ve finally found the spoons to do it!

A few weeks ago I travelled down to St. Neots for a refresher training course with my fellow CCUK volunteers! It was indescribable to be surrounded by so many inspirational and lovely people. People who just GOT it. Apart from finally feeling like I didn’t have to explain myself, or feel guilty, for feeling tired and being in pain; I felt so inspired by everybody’s stories and experiences with IBD. Every single person seemed to be making the most of what they had been given in life and it made me feel extremely humbled. To hear of other people’s experiences with IBD made me feel even more inspired to keep sharing mine via this blog and every other way possible. I want to raise awareness of IBD and help others who feel isolated and alone. Seeing as it is also Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness week, I think it’s a very fitting time to get back to blogging!

I very often feel guilty for being poorly, and for holding other people back with the things that I can’t do. I feel frustrated that things have been taken away from me. I feel like a failure, like I can’t be the successful person I’ve always wanted to be because of the overwhelming fatigue that plagues me. I am very often ashamed for more than just the physical symptoms of Crohn’s disease. And for a while, I felt that I had completely lost the old me to IBD. This feeling of ‘loss’ was something that we spoke about at the training, and I was surprised by how many other people felt like they had lost something due to an IBD diagnosis. Loss in so many ways. Loss of hair, loss of organs, loss of friends, loss of understanding, loss of identity, loss of a former life or self. Finally hearing how I felt put into words brought forward a lot of emotion that I didn’t realise was there. Despite this, I felt a revelation that I really wasn’t alone. At many points in our lives, we think that we are the only person in the world to be feeling what we are feeling. Sometimes, we feel like nobody else can help us, because they don’t understand. Nobody can take away my IBD, nobody can cure the pain or fatigue that I experience. And I often feel helpless that I can’t do that for anybody else, either. But, lots of other people in the world really are feeling what you are feeling; and knowing that is enough.

We were also all asked to share something positive that we felt had come from having IBD. Everybody had so many different reasons why IBD had been positive for them, and I wanted to highlight some of these in a blog post – to show that having a chronic illness might change your life. But change isn’t always bad. (Yes, I have cried until no more tears would come out. Yes, I have wondered what I ever did to deserve this disease.) But, along with this, IBD has also made me a better me. So, here are 10 reasons why I think IBD makes you a better person.

  1. You become less judgemental and more empathetic – You know how to really listen to other people, and you feel their pain with them. You know what it is like to struggle, and you understand that you cannot always see what people are going through.
  2. You appreciate the little things so much more – You don’t take anything for granted. You appreciate the days where you can get out of bed and do everyday things. Health really is the greatest wealth.
  3. You meet people like you – You meet people who are going through the pain that you are too. You meet people who have been through much worse and made it out the other side. You meet people going through the same bizarre stuff that you are, and you can laugh about it (and cry together too!)
  4. It makes you more motivated and dedicated – It makes you even more motivated to do the things you want to do in life. Even though things may be more difficult, it may take you longer – you can still achieve the things you want to achieve.
  5. You don’t waste time on things that don’t matter – You never know what is around the corner. IBD is unpredictable and you don’t want to waste time on things that you don’t want to do.
  6. You realise that you are loved and supported – Whoever it is, you are thankful for your support network. Your family, your friends, your IBD team.
  7. You love and respect your body – You may not always like it’s appearance due to weight fluctuations, stretch marks and scars. You may feel like it hates you – but you realise that you need to look after it. It’s the only one you’re gonna get.
  8. You are stronger than you ever imagined – Undoubtedly, there are times where you feel mentally and physically weak, exhausted. But IBD makes you stronger and more able to deal with life’s hurdles.
  9. You realise who in your life matters – It becomes extremely prevalent that tough times show true friends. And although that may seem hard at first, it is one of the best things that will happen.
  10. You feel lucky – This may seem really odd, but you feel lucky for all the mentioned things that IBD has given you.I feel lucky for the life that I have been given, and in spite of everything, lucky for the journey that IBD has taken me on.

Love to you all,

Anna

xxx

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