Lessons I’ve Learnt Since Having IBD.

You have to trust your body

I was always one that would just power through when I was ill and not take the time to let my body have the time to heal. I’ve now learnt how important it is that you listen to your body and what it needs. When you’re tired, take a break or have a nap, when you don’t think something feels right, question it, the worst thing you can do is ignore it.

Friends and family are the best support system you could ask for

I would not have been able to make it this far had it not been for my family or friends. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is ask for help or to ask for people to be patient with you, sometimes it’s the best thing you can do.

Rest days are very important

I used to make a joke about feeling like an old woman when I took a nap in the afternoon, but napping is now a regular occurrence. Some weeks I am absolutely fine and can function without stopping. But most weeks I’ll ache and get so tired that I simply have to nap just to make it through the day. When I have a busy few days coming up I make sure that the day before I don’t get up to much, I try and conserve as much energy as possible so that I’ll be on top form for whatever I have planned. Taking a day to yourself just to rest and recover is no bad thing, in fact it’s the best thing you can do for yourself.

People don’t tend to think before they speak

To most people, saying ‘get better soon’ or ‘I’m sure it’ll get better’ are not comments they think twice about saying or receiving. However, when you have a chronic illness, there is sometimes no getting better soon. And while I do appreciate the sentiment behind it, it offers me no comfort. Instead say ‘I hope tomorrow isn’t as difficult’ or just listen, often you don’t need to say anything, just listening to me rant for 10 minutes about how I’m having a bad day is enough.

Fuck anyone who gives you a dirty look when you use a disabled toilet

You’d be surprised how many times this has happened to me. I don’t often use the disabled toilet but when I have done I usually get very dirty looks. The only reason for this that I can think of is because I have no visible disability. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be allowed to use a facility whereby I will feel less judged and more comfortable. Having something like IBD means that we have little control over our toilet habits, and when there’s the possibility that I may feel uncomfortable because of the smell/sound/duration of my toilet visit I feel I have every right to use a toilet where I will feel more comfortable. Just because you don’t see the problem, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

EveryBODY is different

This is something that I try to stress to everybody that I talk to. When it comes to IBD, there are physically no two bodies that act the same way. Some people get tired and ache while others get sick and have stomach cramps. Some people get no symptoms while others get every single symptom under the sun. So while I am really glad that your sister’s boyfriend’s mum’s condition became easier to deal with when she followed a paleo diet, please don’t try and convince me that the same will happen to me if I do it too. While I do take on board what has worked for other people, it’s a long and often tiring process to find things that do work for you, the assumption that everything works for everyone is just bad practice.

 

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