Fear of Sleeping with Crohn's.

Fear of Sleeping with Crohn's

I have really grown to dread the night time. I always LOVED sleep, but for so many years, it has been something I really struggle with. It has to do with so many factors which include: worrying about my ostomy, free-floating (or oftentimes pin-pointed) anxiety, disturbing thoughts related to past medical experiences and just an inability to really be able to let go and feel safe.

I hate that in order for me to be able to let my guard down enough to sleep, I need to have such perfect conditions. I just want to be able to sleep like a “normal” person.

In order for me to fall asleep:

  • I need to feel like my ileostomy isn’t filling up with each passing minute
  • I can’t feel my stoma pushing food out… it is just so unnerving and causes me anxiety
  • I need to be in a calm environment where I can’t anticipate possibly being startled or woken up unexpectedly
  • My pain level and discomfort needs to be manageable

Plus, a cooler, dark room with nothing but soothing sounds playing helps.

Sidenote: I have a sound machine and it is so nice to be taken out of your environment for a bit. I also use a couple free hypnosis apps to try and get me in a better place. It doesn’t always work since I have such a wandering mind but at the very least, it makes you feel like you have some company when the rest of this side of the world is fast asleep.

I know what you are probably thinking… I overthink and worry too much, right?! Yes, I do but deep down I know I have a good reason and I need to keep reminding myself of that. One of the things I am trying to work on is validating all I have been through as an Inflammatory Bowel Disease patient. I know we can all be so hard on ourselves sometimes and I believe it is because we/I lose sight of the fact that we have had to overcome insurmountable things.

...and it is all cumulative. We need time to heal and there is no clock on that. Remember that. We all need to process things at different times and given the fact that Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic conditions, we never truly get any kind of closure.

We just have to keep adapting, accepting, and moving forward as best we can.

Just know that however you are emotionally is OKAY and how you are supposed to be. I am not saying you shouldn’t constantly be working to improve yourself because we all should! I am merely saying that between dealing with a chronic illness that impacts every ounce of your existence in some way, battling the need and want to just be free to live the life you want to, coupled with pain and lack of sleep, I find it amazing we are all still here.

The inflammatory bowel disease community is one of the strongest I know. I wish we didn’t have to be so strong but it is nice to know we aren’t alone with some of the behind the scenes struggles that can go alongside life with an invisible, chronic illness.

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