I Feel So Indebted To My Parents
Living with ulcerative colitis (UC) since the age of 13 has really altered the course of my life. And in more ways than I probably even realize at this moment. One of the things that is on my mind now is how much inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has impacted my relationship with my parents.
My support system
Since my health was so poor and I couldn’t support myself, I lived with my parents until the age of 27. Throughout those years, they have helped me through unimaginable times. I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better support system. I feel incredibly lucky to have them. I do, however, feel completely indebted to them for all they have done for me. While I rationally know these feelings come from me and me alone, I still can’t seem to shake it. I feel like I owe them so much for being there for me through everything I have been through. Both physically and emotionally because of my health.
Visiting them now
After many failed attempts, I was finally able to visit my parents and brother last week. The plan was for me to come Saturday and stay till Wednesday. When I visit, I usually come Sunday-Wednesday, but I made a point to come early. I wanted to see my brother and dad in their softball game the following morning. I used to always go to those games. I know it made my dad happy that I was so involved. It made us both happy. I was the team's scorekeeper and it was something nice I did with my dad that wasn’t about terrible health crap.
I am sure a lot of you reading this can understand. When so much of your life is filled with trying to manage your chronic illness, it can leave little time for other things. Life seems to then revolve around medications and doctors appointments and surgeries. So, to share this activity with my dad was very special to me.
After the drive on Saturday, I was so proud of myself that I managed the long ride there. I wanted and needed my parents to see that the times I don’t show up are truly for reasons outside of my control. I am always worried that my parents will think I don’t care about them. Or that somehow I have “moved on” just because I don’t live with them anymore. I know that is a silly way to think. But again, because they have been there for me through so much, it is difficult to feel any other way.
It is difficult to manage my health away from home
Instead of leaving my parents on Wednesday as I had planned, I decided to leave a day early. There were a few reasons for this. It all boiled down to that it became increasingly difficult for me to manage my health away from home.
After that trip, I really felt like I let my family down. It was a nice visit in every other way. The fact that I wasn’t feeling well enough to stay an extra day felt like it took away from the entire trip. My parents told me after that they weren’t upset at me but upset for me. While I understand those feelings, it is one of the reasons I prefer to be alone when I am not doing well. I hate when my loved ones see me suffering when there is nothing they can do to help “fix” things.
Anyway, I wanted to share just one of the many, many ways in which life with Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis can impact relationships. If some of the relationship dynamics in your life have shifted because of your disease, please know you are not alone.
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