In this world, no matter what you do you will always run into mental challenges and stressors. When you add a chronic disease on top of that, mental challenges and stressors become inevitable. Coming from experience, I would much rather take on the physical aspects of a disease than the mental and emotional sides of it. I will give you examples and reasons why but first, remember everyone is different; this is just what I went through.
When I was 10 years old, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, only to find out years later it would actually turn out to be Crohn’s, I was misdiagnosed. Both of those diseases are in the category of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, which are autoimmune diseases that attack the digestive tract. Crohn’s Disease can attack the entire tract where Ulcerative Colitis is just in the large intestine. Since I was diagnosed I have, so far, had a total of 13 abdominal surgeries, 2 Ileostomies, countless hospitalizations, procedures, transfusions, and more. Although these are all complicated physical things, they are nothing compared to the prices you pay mentally and emotionally.
When you have a disease you have a high chance of falling into depression, experiencing anxiety, and feeling guilty and disappointed because things are happening that you cannot help, and those things happen to be affecting all aspects of your life.
Recently I was hospitalized for around a week and my job had decided that due to this being my fourth hospitalization in three months they were going to put me out for a month. I was not happy, I felt disappointed and guilty because I had to leave everything up to my girlfriend to handle and being as prideful as I am, I did not take it well. It was like I was no longer contributing. She worked hard while I sat at home because my disease disabled me and prevented me from doing work.
I pride myself on how I manage my life, my disease, and how I work as hard as I can to make all of my dreams come true, but it is hard when things like that happen. You leave early from work or can’t come in because of your disease and that feeling in itself is difficult. I always get angry and feel unaccomplished. I can’t finish or do what others can because I am sick, it is not fair.
Before that I was in LPN school and about half way through it I had to have surgery and was forced to withdraw. I have a fear of not reaching my goals, which is why I work hard and stay as positive as I can. I became depressed. The fear of failing and not reaching my dreams settled in and this year I am still not able to go back to school because of being sick and needing another surgery. I was so angry and for the first time I asked, “Why?”
I believe everything happens for a reason, and I also believe that it is ok to feel those things because it’s a part of life. Getting up and doing as much as you can or finding things that make you happy or calm are sometimes all you can do to feel better. Something I did during my hard times and something I still do is dance. It has been a huge outlet for me. I can put everything I feel at that time into the song I choose and my choreography. Some other things I love to do if I’m feeling up for it include crocheting, writing, practicing yoga and working out. All of those activities are very relaxing and help me find a way to get my feelings out. Recently, I found that talking to someone is a really good way to get through the hard times. I was the type of person who faced everything on my own and only reached out only to my mother, until someone walked into my life and showed me it was okay to talk about it. It helps a lot.
When you feel like you are struggling with difficult feelings and emotions, do whatever it is that relaxes you and makes you happy. You are not alone and you will get past it.
Author Bio: My name is Sarah Rae, I am 22 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I was diagnosed at age 10 and had my colon removed when I was 12, leaving me with a J-Pouch. I am the writer behind Living Life IBD Style, where I share my experiences, stories and positive mental attitude with anyone who will take the time to read it.
Thank you for your time,