We all think about what’s happening in our lives. It’s natural to want what’s best for us and would like to know the best way to handle a given situation in order to reach that outcome. When does thinking, become over thinking though? This is something that changes from person to person, even situation to situation.
Recently I’ve taken time to think about some things that need to be thought about more properly then I have in the past. It’s important to take the time that is needed to think about a given situation and handle it properly. While doing this I realized something. When having a chronic condition it’s natural to not just think about things, but analyze them to a point that could easily be consider over thinking them.
Why do we do this? It’s natural because when sick or even just trying to figure out what our bodies are doing when healthy, we need to think about what’s going on. As patients we need to be in tune with everything our body is doing. While doing this we analyze all the messages our body is sending us. This makes us prone to not just thinking about things, but over thinking them.
Once we do this to handle our disease, it then finds it’s way into our lives. We then can take any given situation, big or small and analyze it. This way we can understand something just as well as we understand our bodies. This can be a good thing with certain situations and a bad thing with others.
The key is to know when you are thinking about something to much and if it’s upsetting you. If someone has given you something to think about or has wronged you in a way that makes you think about things constantly, you have to not only think about what has happened but also think about if it’s going to affect your health.
You don’t want to be involved in something, that thinking about it will affect your health. If a given situation is stressing you out to a point were you think that it might hurt your condition, then take time to think about it and if the situation is worth it. Then make a decision on how to handle it in a quickest way possible in order to resolve the situation. Don’t waste any time if you think your health is at risk
In the end, take time to think about something but try not to over analyze it. Give yourself the time to break it down properly, decide on what the best way to handle the situation for you is and then act.
Never Stay Quiet!
Today was the first leak that I’ve had in 5-6 months. I can’t remember the last time that my ostomy actually had a problem. Funny part is that I was going to change it very soon too. Recently I found the process which I believe works best for the wafer to stick to me and even with my level of activity going up, there have been no problems.
The great part about today and the change of attitude that I’ve had to my health, is that it didn’t bother me. I told my client that I would have to reschedule, told my co-worker that I’d be back in about 30-45 minutes and went home to change it.
Usually in the past I would let something like this get me down. I’d call someone to talk to them about it and have to hear them tell me that things will be okay and that it doesn’t matter. Now I just took care of it myself and went back to work, which is where I’m back at now. My mentality about it had to change. Each time I’ve had a leak it has gotten easier and bothered me less. This was the first time I think that I didn’t even have a down moment about a leak.
There is really nothing I can do about it. This is going to be my life and few times a year its going to happen. No one cares and everyone is supportive about it, because they know that this is what has given me my life back. And the fact that something like this may happen a few times a year is not a big deal to me or them now.
Right now I’m feeling great about things. I don’t know if its because I’ve had a great weekend already, maybe its because my health is good, that I’m exercising well right now, or that I still have plans tonight to look forward too. But things aren’t bothering me as much and I think this is the perfect example. It happened, it was taken care of and now its time to continue the day.
Never Stay Quiet!
We all go through times in our life when we lose focus on what we should be doing on life or what’s important. Sometimes it’s because we have to much going on, other times it’s because we’re distracted due to relationships or illness can get in the way of us losing focus.
Recently I’ve found that I lost focus on who I am and some of the foundations on which I live my life by. The distractions for me came from many different areas. One was the end of a relationship that I was in, that I wanted to continue to try to make work. Another was family circumstances. Lastly was of course my Crohn’s disease.
It’s not easy to stay focused while dealing with an IBD. The daily battles can make it hard to wake up each day and know what’s in store or how you’re going to be able to deal with it.
Focus is something that I have to stay on top of. Usually I have many systems to motivate me on a daily basis and try to stick to a routine in order to make life easier. Having post-it notes with saying that motivate me and keep me on track is something that I stopped for some reason. I love being able to wake up to see some of the quotes which I’ve found that keep me going and parallel the foundations that I want to live my life by.
One of these is “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment” which was said by Buddha. Not living like this recently has led me to make poor decisions and make mistakes that I usually wouldn’t have.
I was doing exactly what it tells me not to do. Everyday was spent dwelling on the past and trying to figure out what went wrong and how I could possibly still fix it. At the same time I found myself thinking about what the future could have been and how I still wanted what I saw in store for me if things continued the way they were.
These dreams of the future and thoughts of how my recent past wasn’t what I wanted it to be, put me into a tail spin and I wasn’t finding my way out of it. Now I’m on my way because I know what I want NOW. Not what I’d like in the future.
It might take a little bit of time to get back to normal, but I know that I have to focus on the good things in life that I have going for me and what I can control. Making myself stronger so I can beat my Crohn’s is high on the list, with continuing the work for the Intense Intestines Foundation as well. Lastly is slowly righting the wrongs that I’ve created. But that has to happen naturally, it can’t be forced and thats were not dreaming of the future comes into play.
From this day forward I’m going to be focusing on the day in hand again. Waking up and knowing that right now I can take care of whats ahead of me today. In time I know that this will get me back to the man I want to be and aspire to be. I’ve gotten way from who I try to be and it’s time to get back to the man I was, and try to continue to go from there and create an even better person.
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From the day a person is diagnosed with a disease, that person is going to change. No matter what a persons mindset, outlook and more changes about the world. You live your life day by day, then all of a sudden things change but not in a small. From that day forward you know things aren’t going to be the same, its important to try your best to still be the person you’re and hopefully only allow the disease to change you in a positive way.
Recently, I’ve noticed how my Crohn’s disease has changed me in a very big way. Of course some changes are obvious such as my career choice, how I handle adversity most of the time with a smile and that I’m a glass half full kind of guy. The largest change of all that I noticed is that I’m open about everything now. When it comes to my life their isn’t much that I don’t mind sharing. I think this is mostly because of my IBD.
My theory is that once a person takes down there guard and talks about their Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis what else is their to hide, at that point you probably will feel comfortable talking about most topics. If you can talk about the symptoms that go along with an IBD such as pain, fatigue and especially the bowel movements, you can talk about anything. I now talk about food that I don’t digest well and how they go straight through me, if I can discuss that what can’t I discuss.
When I look at my life now I see this as a good thing, because now when I have to talk about something chances are that I will express how I feel and share whats going on. It can be on any topic from what I can and can’t eat, to being open in a relationship. I have no reason why I can’t share my feelings or whats going on about pretty much anything.
This is a good thing in most cases because I don’t have to regret not sharing something thats on my mind or let something eat me up inside for an extended period of time. Being passive aggressive usually doesn’t help many situations and I believe that I’m not due to the openness my IBD has given me. At times I maybe share to much, but I think that is something I can deal with.
My Crohn’s has changed me in many ways, but this is the biggest way that I’ve noticed. Due to the fact that I don’t hesitate when it comes to talking about my disease anymore, I don’t believe I hesitate about talking about others things as well. Being open makes life a little easier. Your IBD will change you, but you have to find the good things that come from that change to help feel positive about your disease.
Never Stay Quiet!
With Inflammatory Bowel Disease a big challenge in dating and starting a relationship is when to discuss your condition. How do you tell your love interest about something that can affect your relationship from the start as well as something that you might feel awkward talking about. It’s not an easy topic to start, but being open about your condition will open the door to a happy and healthy relationship.
Here are some suggestions that will hopefully make it a little easier to broach the subject and make it less stressful to talk about with someone who you’re hoping to be with.
Don’t wait very long: While you may not want to or need to break the news about your condition right away, waiting to long might make it more difficult. If you wait to long the stress of not discussing it with someone you love might even lead to a flare which will make it harder to discuss.
Waiting to long might also show your partner that you aren’t willing to be open and that you have the ability to hide topics of importance from them. This is no way to start a relationship off.
In my experience talking about it in a casual setting is best. I usually discuss it while relaxing on a couch or when you’re in a comfortable setting. When you bring up your IBD is up to you and depends on your partner as well. Now that I have an ostomy, I don’t have the ability to wait to long at all. I believe within the first 5 dates is good timing.
Discuss the basics: When starting a relationship off keep the discussion short and to the point. Covering all the basics of what your disease means. If you have good knowledge of your disease and body, it’s something that in time you will want to share. When starting a relationship off there may not be a need to discuss all the in’s and out’s of IBD, which can scare someone away.
Try to judge the person that you are talking with and how much they can handle. When discussing my situation, I don’t hide much. I’ve found that discussing the disease with confidence will help the other person know that it’s not a disease that will keep them from having a normal relationship. If they ask a question, don’t hide anything. Take a deep breath and think of the best way to answer, they know that it might be hard to talk about and if they’re a good person will give you time to discuss it.
Suggest informative sites: If they seem interested in the condition offer sites that you know to be credible and have good information on IBD. You don’t want someone to go home and do a google search which comes up with all the horror stories about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Suggest the sites you know to be good, so they can become well educated.
Start your sex relationship off right: This might be hard because you’re excited to be with this new and exciting person you like. Make sure that the timing is right for your body before taking the physical jump. You’re the best person at knowing your body and how you feel. If you know that a flare up is coming or aren’t feeling well, be open and hold off on being physical. You want your sex life to start off right with the person you are going to be with.
Being open can allow growth: You and your partner know that your IBD is going to be a topic of conversation. Don’t ignore this, use it as an opportunity to grow not only for yourself, but for your relationship as well. Being open and discussing you Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can allow growth in your relationship and bring you closer with the person you are with.
In the end try to take your relationship day by day. You can’t hide your disease (Especially if you have scars) and you shouldn’t feel like you have to. In the age that we live in, health conditions are in everyones lives whether they are affected directly or have a loved on who is. People are understanding these days, so don’t let your IBD keep you from having a normal and happy relationship. Your Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis doesn’t define you as a person, so don’t let it.
Never Stay Quiet
One of the hardest things with an Inflammatory Bowel Disease at times is opening up to others about whats going on with your condition. Whether it’s Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis, from the start we usually train ourselves to not talk about what we are going through and how we’re dealing with it. Even people who are healthy and go to the bathroom once a day, usually don’t talk about there stomach, how they’re digesting food, and how many times a week they’re going to the restroom.
As IBD patients though, we don’t talk about how many times we go a week, we talk about how many times a day, even sometimes how many times an hour during a flare. Even then our mind set in not to discuss it at times, because before we are diagnosed with an IBD, society tells us not to talk about what we do in a stall or behind the shut door in our bathroom.
I’ve taken steps to change that about myself, but I have to say it’s not easy. During the earlier years of my life with Crohn’s I never talked about it. What was I supposed to say while in middle school or high school to a friend? “Hey I have this disease that gives me bloody diarrhea all the time.” If you talk about it with most kids that age, it will be minutes till the entire school knows. (As a side note I look at high school kids now and I think that has changed. Even teenagers are more open to the thought that disease can strike anyone now.) But at the time I grew up it just wasn’t something you can feel comfortable doing. Not to mention, when I was absent for so many days in high school, I had rumors already about me. I even heard one once that I had Aids.
It’s ingrained in us to not talk about it, but its fine too. As I grew up I slowly started to talk about it at times. But still never shared everything. The last thing I wanted was for my Crohn’s to define or run a relationship I was in. So I discussed it the minimum amount in my first relationship and I hid it from the girl I dated next, even lying about it to make it look like I was never sick. Both relationships ended partially due to my Crohn’s Disease. It was hard to take knowing that something I couldn’t help and did everything to control might keep me from having a successful relationship.
As an adult now I’m finally learning that sharing what I’m going through is fine. Since I’m trying to be an advocate for Inflammatory Bowel Disease it would be hard if I wasn’t able to talk about my condition. Now that I’ve been through so much I look at my past and see that it can help others. After 25+ surgeries and dealing with everything Crohn’s can throw my way, I can reach out to people and allow them to know that things are going to be okay. I even talk to people openly about my ostomy, even people that have just met me. It’s something that I’m proud of and want to work at to take the stigma away from. When some one comes to me and says “I don’t mean to pry and tell me if it’s something you don’t want to talk about”, my response is “I will tell you anything you want to know.”
Now I’m not perfect at it and it’s still taking some work at times. I just want to have a good time and take a break from my IBD for at least short periods of time every once in a while. Sometimes I even just take the time to make sure I know exactly what’s going on with my body before I bring it to someones attention. It’s a process we all go through. I trained myself for years to never discuss my Crohn’s Disease, now I’m training myself to never stay quiet about it.