I was recently at a baby shower and was chatting with a new friend. It was lovely because it was the first time I was able to get out of the house in weeks! I actually felt WELL! Woohoo!!!! Anyway, we were chatting about what we do for a living and I mentioned starting this new blog about Crohn’s disease in conjunction with my Origami Owl business. The SECOND I mentioned I had Crohn’s disease I saw her mood change. I felt like I had just put a damper on the situation even though I was talking about this really cool meaningful thing I wanted to do with my business to raise awareness. Essentially turning my struggles into a good thing to help others! It didn’t seem to matter though. I got the sense from her that she was now uncomfortable or it was just “too real” to talk about. Which is just a shame.
This isn’t the first time I have experienced this either. I have noticed this on a few different occasions. I feel immediately disconnected or like I’m an alien all of a sudden, because they don’t understand how to relate to me. And all I did was answer a question they asked me! What their reaction really shows me, is that everyone responds to things differently based off of their own life experiences. I’ve come to understand that some people just don’t know how to react when confronted with serious issues like chronic illness. Perhaps they just haven’t had to deal with something like this before, so they are unsure or uncomfortable about how to proceed. And you know what– that isn’t a problem for me, it’s a problem on their end. I know I’m perfectly comfortable with the fact that this is my life now, so it certainly isn’t a problem inside of me. I don’t like it but I’ve accepted that I will have Crohn’s disease for the rest of my life, and I have no problem talking about it because well… it’s part of me now. Just like my big toe is a part of my foot. It’s fact…it’s there and it isn’t going away.
Do I get uncomfortable every time you talk about your 3 kids?! No. I’m not a mom, but I am happy to hear about that part of you and your life! And I’m happy for you and your accomplishments! Why should it be any different when applied to my life? Just because I have a very different life that involves a chronic illness and my world revolves around managing symptoms? It’s my life, none-the-less. I can’t control that. This is just the hand I have been dealt and I’m trying to make the best of it.
Sadly, it makes me want to talk less about my Crohn’s life, because I don’t want to feel like a buzzkill. No one does. But this is me y’all! Crohn’s is a big part of my life whether I like it or not. This is what I want to do with my new lifestyle is share! I want to spread awareness and help other women! Part of being an advocate for women with Crohn’s disease means I will run into people that can’t handle “real talk”. And that’s okay. That’s on them, not me.
So NO WAY will I quit sharing what I am passionate about! Sharing helps me get through my struggles and it helps others know they aren’t crazy or going through all this stuff alone! What really counts is when I share my story and my words fall on someone that GETS IT!! I’m doing this for those people! For YOU! So it’s totally worth it!! Even if it is just one person that reads this blog and I never even know about it—it’s worth it!!
Anyway, I think the lesson here is to LET GO of any feelings that you are the problem, ladies! That is not the case at all! Instead surround yourself with people that get it! You will see that there is nothing wrong with you at all. You just need to be surrounded by people with like minds, going through the same journey as you! Engage with other women that have Crohn’s disease and you will be amazed! You are always welcome to reach out to me! I also invite you to join my brand new Facebook Group that is an online community just for women with Crohn’s disease. We will share, laugh and keep each other thinking happy thoughts!
Bottom Line–We can’t go through life isolating ourselves or de-socializing because we don’t feel understood by those around us. That’ll drive ya crazy! And we deserve a better life than that! Connect with the online IBD community on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, wherever! Ongoing support from people that get what you are going through is crucial in coping with this life.