A man holding up a citrus-smelling bar of soap with a grimace while flare imagery is in his glasses

My Crohn's Is Attached to So Many Bad Memories

Last updated: October 2022

Perhaps I am just a peculiar person, but do you find that you get bad memories from being sick with Crohn's and find them attached to certain objects, places, or smells? 

I understand that we all have trauma from being at hospitals and the memories that come with those hard stays. The smell of alcohol pads, the awful fluorescent lighting, the non-stop chatter, the green latex gloves. I think that is expected, it is tied in our psyche as unpleasant.

But what about other random things that we associate with being sick with Crohn's? 

Clothes I've had accidents in

For example, I get bad memories attached to clothes. Is that weird? I literally have outfits that I don't want to put on because I either wore them when I had an embarrassing accident, or perhaps it was loungewear I had when I wore during a time of a severe flare. These items tend to sit in my closet and I just pass by them because when I see them they automatically remind me of an awful, sick moment.

Smells and places that remind me of Crohn's flares

How about smells? There was a certain soap bar I had during a period of flaring and I now hate the smell of it. It was citrus and now when I smell that smell, it takes me back to the horrible times when I could barely shower on my own. I would have to sit in order to bathe and I would cry as the water ran down my body because of how awful and tired I felt.

Another bad memory I have of Crohn's is attached to my dad's house, unfortunately. My dad is practically retired, so when things get bad, I stay with him so he can offer me support.  Unfortunately, however, I now associate his house with some of the worst times in my life, due to the fact I was so sick with Crohn's there. 

Specifically, the guest room where I would stay in. So much suffering went on in that room. Days and days of endless fever, sleepless nights, awful pain and just tons of crying and depression. Is it weird I don't like to stay there?

Bad memories from a period of time

Another unpleasant memory is my time at my old apartment. Whenever I drive by it, it takes me back to my sick days.  Same as my father's house, this apartment was a bad time for me and my Crohn's. I would be in bed all day and I could barely keep up with the household chores. Such sad memories are attached to that address.

It's amazing how we can associate an object, place, or smell to such big, intense, and complicated memories. Just by being near an object or smelling a smell, memories can flood in hard and overwhelm us.

Do you have Crohn's associations?

I recently decided to purge my closet and when I came upon any clothes that I had a bad memory attached to, I immediately put it in the bin to donate. No use in keeping those things around, right? Out of sight, out of mind.

Do you associate any bad memories with anything in your surroundings? If so, how do you manage? Comment below, we love to hear from you.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

Have you entered our Epicured Giveaway to win a $100 Gift Card?