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Don’t Lose Yourself To Your Diagnosis

After living with any chronic condition for a number of years, it’s easy to forget the person you were before it. Or if you’re anything like me, diagnosed as a child, maybe you were still finding yourself when you were diagnosed. Either way…

When living with a chronic condition it’s important we still keep our sense of self.

I spent my 25th birthday with a few other patients and advocates last year. They asked me what advice I would give them. In that moment I thought back. I thought back on my life, my experiences, my lessons, my mistakes. It was in that moment that I realized, at 25 years old, I hadn’t yet lived. It was in that moment I became disappointed in myself. Don’t get me wrong, for many of those years I was sick. Too sick. I just wasn’t physically capable of the things other people my age were doing. If you’re too sick it’s 100% okay to rest. It’s best to listen to your body and not put yourself in danger. I just wish I would have gone about things differently.

When I was diagnosed I didn’t have anyone in my corner cheering me on.

I didn’t have anyone telling me I could conquer the world. I had people telling me about steroids and colonoscopies. While that is 100% valuable information, it’s not all you need to hear. When you’re diagnosed it’s not a defeat, it’s a chance. It’s a chance for a new life. It’s a chance to feel better. Sure, you may not be able to do everything you imagined doing in the exact way you imagined yourself doing it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Don’t allow your diagnosis to defeat you. Don’t let IBD take away your sense of self. Remember your likes, your dislikes, your dreams. If you’re too sick to go away to college, go locally. Too sick to go in person? Try online! In 2018 there are so many accommodations for people living with disabilities. IBD took away many things from me, but some of those it didn’t have to.

I want to be the person for you that I wish I’d had.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s never too late to live your best life and become your ideal you. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Don’t wait at all. If there is something you want to do, I highly encourage you to do your research and find alternative ways to accomplish it (if the traditional way isn’t feasible).

You are more than IBD and you deserve happiness just as much as anyone else. I have so many regrets, but instead of dwelling on the negative I choose to focus on the positive. Although I haven’t accomplished everything I’d hoped to, my IBD has taught me so many valuable life lessons at such a young age. My IBD has molded me into the person I am today. I’m ready to use my experiences and lessons I’ve learned in my next phase of life: chasing my dreams.

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


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    11 months ago

    I definitely feel like sometimes we can allow IBD to consume us. Of course, dealing with flare ups and constantly being fatigued makes daily life hard and it is necessary to focus on health and treatment. But when you can, don’t forget to get out there and focus on other things when possible. Talking about illness all the time can be such a damper.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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