Why Do We Apologize for Venting?
I want to start off by saying that while this article is definitely intended for those people who suffer from a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), this also holds true in a lot of ways for everyone.
I want to talk about venting, or rather, sharing some of our frustrations in a somewhat “complaining” way. By that I mean, not necessarily looking for advice or a positive spin but just the very act of needing to get deep feelings and thoughts off of your chest.
Expunging emotions to another human being who you trust and can empathize to a certain degree is crucial for our overall wellbeing. It can offset the loneliness and isolation that can be all too prevalent among people who suffer from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, or even someone who is just going through something in their life that is very difficult.
The majority of posts on social media are positive
We live in a society that, while it has gotten better, frowns upon sharing the nitty-gritty details of life. With social media so prevalent in our society, the majority of the things people post are positive.
I joked with a friend while I was at a conference earlier this year about how all the photos we posted are happy, funny and uplifting... and meanwhile, both of us were going through a lot emotionally at that time and started laughing at the thought of “Instagramming our meltdowns.” haha! Sorry, still makes me laugh!
Anyway, while I know society has grown a bit when it comes to talking about vulnerable topics, it is easy to be labeled negative or a downer for expressing true feelings. I am not really even talking about on social media, but in person rather.
Why I hid my ulcerative colitis for so long
One of the reasons I hid my disease for over 12 years was because I never wanted to be looked at as a negative person. I didn’t want to complain or share how all of the trauma I was going through was impacting me because I didn’t want the person on the receiving end to look at me differently.
I didn’t want to be looked at as someone who only talked about illness or because my whole life revolved around that, wasn’t looked at as an enjoyable person to be around.
Life can be hard and we need to vent
We all need someone who we trust that we can vent to. But when you layer on Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (IBD) the complaining can truly be nonstop if you allow it to consume you and take over.
The impact of living with an invisible chronic illness
It is important for us to get some of our emotions related to living with an invisible, chronic illness out. So much goes on with us between medication side effects, surgeries, mountains of doctor appointments, life altering decisions, tests, procedures, unpredictable ER visits, relationships being altered/ruined, hospital stays, missing out on school/work/social events, isolation, pain, anxiety, insomnia, the list goes on.
How can we NOT have a ton of built-in emotions related to all of these things? How can these things NOT impact us in a very significant way?
If I am being honest, if you’ve had a severe case of inflammatory bowel disease and have been through the mill with your disease and it has NOT impacted you to some degree mentally, I would think you were a robot.
Why do we apologize for sharing the negatives?
I went a little off track here, but my main reason for writing this article is because I notice myself and so many others who I speak to about real things apologize and feel guilty for sharing. I/We think we are somehow bothering someone or complaining because we have these frustrations, fears, anxieties, etc.
I admittedly am super guilty of this myself - all of the time - so I am in no way trying to tell you all to cut it out. But really, we should cut it out! :) It is easier said than done, of course, but when you think about it... we do have every right to share how we are managing with such a complex disease. And I don’t mean all of the time, with everyone who comes across your path, but with those one or two or eight people you really trust and know aren't judging you or looking at things as you “complaining.”
Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed to have a person (or people) in their life and to those people, I truly do not know how you handle it! I hope you can find some comfort in our community online and knowing that even though you may not have someone to call or speak to in person, there are so many people who suffer from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis on social media or who follow our Facebook support page who understand you and are also looking for the same thing - someone who they can connect with, share all their frustrations to in a judgment free way, and basically just know they are not alone.
I always feel so guilt ridden and automatically apologize at least once during a conversation in which I am letting a lot of emotions out.
The guilt that comes with Crohn's or UC
If you can relate at all, you are definitely not alone here. We have so much guilt about being stricken with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (IBD) and the impact it has on the people we care about most.
So when you layer on our need to really get things off of our chest, it can make it seem like we are just a huge source of negative for our loved ones (even though we aren’t!) It can be a terrible feeling. I get it.
Do you find yourself apologizing for venting to someone? If so, what is the response of the person on the other end? If you are someone who is comfortable sharing vulnerable things without the need for an apology or the guilt afterward, can you share how you got to this point? Or were you always that way? I would love to know your secret :)
What is your comfort level disclosing your IBD to your employer?