Give Yourself Permission to Live
So, you’re living with Crohn’s Disease, a chronic illness that plagues your life with stomach pains, exhaustion, strict diets, and urgent trips to the bathroom. Each day is a new struggle, and every activity is a constant reminder of the pain you endure. When life is this tough, it’s easy to let Crohn’s and its symptoms be a roadblock and a reason not to do the things we love. When even the smallest thing leaves you feeling exhausted and worn out, it’s no surprise that the days slip by, each day blending into the next. It’s hard to get up and force yourself to go out when you’re not feeling well.
But that’s why we have to try that much harder than everybody else.
We can’t let Crohn’s become an excuse not to live our lives. We can’t let life slip through our fingers simply because we don’t feel good. If we lived like that we’d never do anything because, let’s face it, we rarely feel good. We just have to face the facts: life is harder for us. We have to try that much harder to fake a smile and act “normal” just to get by. But, just because we are sick, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still live life to the fullest. We still deserve happiness, so give yourself permission to live, despite your illness.
Find Your Happiness
First and foremost, know your limits. On the days you need a break, take it. Allow yourself that. There will be days where getting out of bed is nearly impossible, and doing the bare minimum just to get by is all you can manage. On these days, do the best you can, that’s all you can ask for. Just like clouds disappear after a storm, some days will be sunny, and you will feel good. On these days, celebrate that by living the best life you can by doing something for yourself. Find something that makes you happy, whether that’s doing yoga, seeing friends, going for a walk, eating your favorite food, or having a celebratory drink.
When plans arise, don’t be afraid to go for it.
You may have to push yourself a little harder to do it, but it will be worth it. Realize that sometimes you may have to make sacrifices, knowing that eating or drinking something you love is going to end with you in the bathroom, but sometimes you deserve to splurge. You can’t always play it safe, life is too short. Occasionally, throw caution to the wind and break the rules. Of course, the midst of a flare-up isn’t the best time to throw the rule book out the window and splurge on something crazy, like corn, but when you’re feeling “ok,” don’t forget to live.
Enjoy the Little Things
Living with Crohn’s is difficult because every action has a consequence. We know, as “crohnies,” that we have strict rules for everyday life that we must follow just to get by. Every splurge comes at a price, but sometimes we have to just go for it and take that risk. It’s all about finding a balance. We can’t always go all out and have everything plus the kitchen sink, but we can indulge in little things that make us happy. By counting your blessings, it helps the bad days seem a little brighter. Expressing gratitude for the little (and big) things brings you one step closer to happiness. It speaks volumes about you if you can find happiness amongst all your suffering.
Which aspect of awareness week are you most excited about?