inside a woman's head, her brain is sinking in muck

Feeling Stuck in the Muck

This has been a really hard season for my IBD.

I've been having flare-like symptoms, but they've been associated with other health issues too.

Sometimes I'm sure it's my Crohn's. Other times, I wonder if it's dehydration (due to diarrhea, or even my adrenals), if it's because of Addison's disease (a condition I have that affects hormones), if it's anxiety, if it's an infection, if it's from the hernia repair surgery I recently had. You see – there are a lot of options, and they easily get twisted.

Endless symptoms... Where do I even begin?

I find myself trying to determine if I need to message my GI doctor, my primary care physician, my endocrinologist, or my surgeon – and what exactly I need to ask them. Am I inquiring about new or persistent symptoms, medications, refills, questions, or concerns? Do I need a message reply, a telehealth consult, or an in office visit? And most importantly, can I avoid the emergency room?

This summer, that's been the hardest thing for me. Avoiding the emergency room.

I've been admitted several times in as many weeks – for dehydration, for testing, for IV nutrients, for IV antibiotics, for IV pain medication – you name it, and I've likely experienced it this season.

Feeling stuck with Crohn's

I've now been back home for 2 weeks since my last hospital stay, and although my body is working on healing, I'm finding that my mind is very much as one would say "stuck in the muck."

It's hard to trust a body that is as unreliable as mine.

It's hard to think about getting back into a routine when I don't know if I'll be stuck in bed or even back in the hospital as soon as I do. Nothing feels normal.

How I'm coping with feeling stuck

If this is something you relate to, I want to share some tips I am currently working through:

  1. Journaling: Lately I've been hating this practice because it puts on paper and in black and white all of the hard things both my body and my mind are going through, but it also provides so much validation to me, and a physical record of what I've experienced when I try to minimize in my mind the things I've been through.
  2. Moving: I'm talking baby steps here. Like – some days when I feel like I'm going stir crazy, I switch from my bed to the couch. It's a tiny movement, 1 room over, but it does honestly give new perspective and makes me feel less trapped. Plus, I use different pillows and blankets which freshens things up a little bit.
  3. Talking: If you live alone, send voice memo notes to a friend or use an app like Instagram Stories or TikTok. Hearing my own voice sometimes reminds me that I'm still here, and not just a shell of myself which it's easy to let my mind think sometimes.

What has helped you cope with Crohn's or UC?

If you've ever felt stuck – mentally or physically – what has helped you to move through that tough period? Just waiting it out hasn't worked for me, so I'm trying to focus on the 3 small suggestions above.

I'd love to hear anything that's worked for you in the comments below!

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