Connecting from Across the World

Ever feel like you’re all alone in your battle with Crohn’s disease or that those near and dear to you can’t quite grasp your struggles? I think it’s safe to say throughout each of our personal patient experiences we’ve felt this way at one point or another. There’s something special about finding someone who lives it, and gets it. It’s like you have an instant connection that brings you close and makes you friends instantly because you can relate to one another.

Over the last few weeks I’ve built a friendship with a 24-year-old young woman in Spain, who was recently diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

She felt alone, scared and like her world was caving in. She came across my blog on Instagram and private messaged me. Her words brought tears to my eyes:

Hello… I don’t really know how to start or even if I will ever get a reply, but here it goes! I have just been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and it’s turned me upside down and I’m really struggling to get my head around it all… 24 years old with a lifelong illness. How did you cope? What is everyday life now actually going to be like? How long did it take before you started feeling normal again? I just can’t seem to stop crying at the moment, I know I need to be strong… but, I don’t feel like I can. Anyways, sorry to bother you! I really do hope you reply. XX”


In the past few weeks, we became Facebook friends, messaged countless times and most recently did a live Facebook chat with one another.

It’s amazing in the inflammatory bowel disease community how we are able to open up so quickly with people who only moments ago were perfect strangers. There’s something special about never meeting in person and looking in the eyes of someone who’s fighting your same battle over a video chat. My new friend was talking with me from her hospital bed. It felt unreal to be talking with someone across the world, who’s grown up in a completely different environment, but who’s current life experience mirrors yours in such a way that you feel like lifelong friends.

When you hear the worry and pain of someone going through those dreadful days that follow diagnosis, it brings you back and reminds you of how far you’ve come.

It shows that there truly is life after diagnosis and that by sharing your personal story you have the ability to calm down the fears of others and offer newfound hope. We all can learn so much from one another, it’s not a one-way street. Whether you’ve had the disease for one month or 50 years, each of us has a unique story to share.

Rather than trying to take on the disease alone, think about all the people out there fighting the same battle who would give anything to pick your brain and learn about how you live your life. Rather than think you’ll be judged or that a stranger won’t want to open up to you, think about how quickly you’ll be able to relate. Talking about bathroom trips, drug and diet tips and what it feels like to be on prednisone, are just a few examples of conversation starters that may seem TMI for some, but are second nature for us.

So the next time you look in the mirror and wonder “why me” or “how am I going to overcome this flare,” take a moment to check out social media, reach out to bloggers, listen to podcasts and surround yourself with people near and far who wake up each day with your same burden and your same battle.

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.

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