The Things I Keep Hidden Living with Crohn's
There's a lot of things I keep hidden with my Crohn's disease, to feel a little more normal, as well as appear normal and to make people feel more comfortable (no, you’re right - I shouldn’t have to do this).
But when you live with chronic illness, it’s a constant battle of people thinking you “don’t look sick enough” to be struggling or “you look terrible.” No one wants to hear either of those things - especially when we don’t ask.
Minimizing and hiding symptoms
In order to feel like an actual functioning adult, I keep a lot of things hidden. Sometimes I get so good at hiding my symptoms and the traumatic daily events that come naturally with Crohn's,
I end up minimizing my symptoms for periods of time and actually get sicker and end up in the hospital.
We shouldn’t do that. So I'm “outing” myself a little bit here by telling others things they may find relative to them as well.
The pain and difficult things that I keep hidden from others
How long it takes me to clean out in the morning when I'm sick before I go anywhere.
How long it takes me to get ready - just because my clothes are laid out doesn’t mean I'm ready to put them on. The pain that comes along with certain pairs of pants is awful.
What actually just happened in the bathroom as I exit and pretend I didn’t just lose it, didn’t have extremely painful cramps and cry, wishing I was in the comfort of my own home instead of feeling like crap in someone else house, which will never be as comfortable as my own.
How many times I've soiled my pants.
How many times I've emptied out spare backpacks with underwear in plastic bags after being in the hospital and having accidents.
How many times I've binged on food I'm not supposed to have and paid for it.
How many times I've cried not being able to enjoy the foods I used to love and haven’t eaten in 16 years.
How many times I downloaded and deleted dating apps even before I used them because I never thought I was worthy enough or healthy enough to have a partner that would actually understand.
How often I'm awake at night, sick and laying on the floor.
How sick I am when I get my labs back and know I'm on the edge and teetering between my home and a hospital.
I'm tired of hiding and struggling in silence
I’m tired of hiding all these things. It would be so much easier said than done if I told you “I’m going to stop hiding all of this today” because a lot of this has to do with humility - or what I have left of it.
Sometimes hiding things helps me feel like I am less ill, but we all know that’s just not the case. I wish I could say I thrive off of hiding, but that would be a lie. I struggle in silence a lot and I know that many of us do.
I’m trying every day to change that and be a better person for myself so that I don’t have to tell others white lies. I want to be honest, but I also want to keep some things to myself and continue hiding it to protect them.
Do any of you feel the same way?
Does exercising regularly help in the management of your symptoms?