Remission & Denial

Well, I’m in clinical remission y’all. No active inflammation in my gut. I still have the stricture, so I do have symptoms related to that, but all pretty minimal right now. All things considered, I’m doing really well! The best I’ve been in years. I’m doing more things I enjoy, I’m earning a little money with my dogwalking/sitting work and I’m able to help out around the house like normal again. Yay! I’m finally able to contribute to the housework again! I never thought I’d hear myself so excited about doing house chores, but it does feel good to pull my own weight around here once again!

The only problem is… as things have gotten better and better with my Crohn’s disease, I’ve been feeling more and more denial creep in. Surprisingly it’s pretty easy to forget that you have a disease, when things are going good. That can be good and it can be really bad too. Remission can fool you because it doesn’t last forever. It lasts for right now. And you never know how long that period of time will be… weeks, months, years… no one knows.

I don’t want to live in denial and just pretend that nothing is wrong when I’m in remission.

Talking & Listening

I’ve noticed as I’ve been feeling better, I don’t want to talk about the disease as much. And I have to get out of that mindset. It’s honestly why I haven’t blogged in such a long while and I feel really bad about it. If I don’t talk or write about my inflammatory bowel disease, it isn’t real. I can pretend that I’m not living with a chronic illness anymore… at least while my remission lasts. But I don’t know if that is healthy. I want to continue to educate others through my journey, remission or sickness. It’s all part of the journey. I can’t do that if I’m not talking and not blogging about it.

I’m not proud of myself for living in denial these last several months. Running my local support group usually keeps me pretty centered and humbled. I get to see and hear about the many effects of this disease up close and personal. But it can be difficult to listen to all the struggles when I myself am doing well. So much so, that I’ve considered canceling the group meetings and moving on with my life.

I gotta say I never saw that one coming. I can understand feeling like I don’t need the support because I’m doing great, even though I know that isn’t true. But I never thought I’d want to deny the reality of this disease, just because I’m in remission. It feels selfish and completely unreasonable.

Dear Brain, It’s also important to help others suffering with IBD. Support is needed through the good times and the bad times. That’s why it’s called ongoing support. So, we will continue to listen & share!

Ignorance is Bliss, Isn’t it?

I’ve tried eating trigger foods recently too, just to see if they still cause me issues. Some things I can eat now without a problem. However, that just adds to the denial; thinking I can eat what I want without reprecussions.

This disease is uncertain. It’s unpredictable and deep down I know I should always keep that in mind. I’m not in control, my body could decide at any moment that it wants to act up and I’d be at its mercy. Yet, I can feel my brain wanting to ignore all of this logic, because it thinks ignorance is bliss. It’s like my brain says “I don’t want to hear about what could go wrong, when things are going right. Can’t we just go on our merry way and enjoy the good while we’ve got it. Why do we need to hear about the bad things?”.

Dear Brain… life isn’t that simple. It’s smart to know what could and couldn’t happen with this disease. Pretending like there is nothing wrong will only harm us in the long run. In this case ignorance is not bliss. Knowing is wise.

I’m not sick

I recall my grandmother always struggling with taking her medicine because she didn’t think she needed it. She had a different illness, but I fear living in denial could lead to that kind of thinking, period. The general population takes medication only when they are sick, not when they are well. Unfortunately, I need to stay on my treatment even during remission, to better my chance of staying in remission and keeping the disease at bay.

We can’t see inside our gut and we can’t always feel what’s going on, so we need to keep up with the disease management, and that means all the time. I don’t want the denial to get to that point where I feel like medicine isn’t needed because that would surely be detrimental. I’m already stuck with a stricture for the rest of my life. I don’t want things to get worse.

Are we wired a certain way?

I think I’m beginning to see that our minds are wired a certain way. At least, mine. IBD is one of those “out of the norm” things that leaves our brains puzzled because it doesn’t 100% fit into the category of sick or healthy. I believe our brains are wired to think in very simple terms. “When I feel bad, I’m sick. When I feel good, I’m healthy.” Yeah… it’s almost funny how much IBD doesn’t fit into that line of thinking. Talk about a complicated mess of a disease! Sheesh! Chronic Illness fits somewhere in the middle between healthy and slowly dying, and it lives there in a very gray area. It will never be simple. That you can rely on!

So, I guess in the future I just need to be more aware of how my brain tends to think things through. It’s part of the coping process for the mind. The brain tries to put things into categories it understands, and Crohn’s disease just doesn’t easily fit into anything. But it’s all just a normal response to an abnormal life.

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