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IBD Life is Not a Sprint; It’s a Marathon

Chronic illness has a way of hurting you not just physically, but mentally as well. It’s trying and exhausting to constantly feel bogged down by the fear of your next flare or how you’re going to function like a normal adult some days. There are times when the thought of taking on the day is so overwhelming. You wake up in a fog, feeling fatigued, despite the number of hours you slept.

I recently came across a heart-wrenching video on Instagram of a young-20-something girl crying in a parking lot, talking about how she felt her life was stagnant and that she lets everyone down. Mind you—she battles ulcerative colitis and has undergone more than 15 operations since she was diagnosed seven years ago. Now, she has a permanent ileostomy. As I watched this video, which was viewed several thousand times—it truly seemed like a cry for help. It shook me to the core.

It brought me back to how it felt to be so young, facing such a big disease.

Overwhelmed by the future, petrified with thoughts of the past. People are moving and getting new jobs, getting married and starting their families…and then there’s you…trying to make it through each day. At times, you don’t know who you will end up with for the rest of your life, knowing that having a chronic illness is oftentimes a deal-breaker for many. More than you would think. That worry of “will I ever be good enough?”, “I am damaged goods”, “will I ever be able to be a mom?” races through your head. Friends fade to the back, you lose and gain friendships and relationships along the way.

Oftentimes you get so busy comparing other people’s lives and experiences to your own that you set up unfeasible timelines and put pressure on yourself to keep up with the Jones’. I am here to tell you, we chronic illness folks don’t need to look at those who have no idea what it’s like to endure an invisible illness.

Instead, we need to rally around one another and not wonder ‘why me’…but ‘why not me.’ You may think you want someone else’s life or situation, but in all reality…

…there are probably many people who would give anything to be just like you.

Just because we have a chronic disease doesn’t mean we can’t fulfill our goals and follow our dreams. Sure, the journey to get there may be more trying and a little rocky, but overcoming obstacles and not looking back is what we’re best at. Been there, done that. Think about how you’ve rolled up to the ER and then been rolled out in a wheelchair to come home. You’re stronger, right? You were a survivor in that moment. Don’t lose sight of the baby steps. Just like life, our disease journey is a marathon, not a sprint. While you may feel like you are moving slowly, or aren’t enough, you are a hero to so many. More than you know. There are people young and old who look at you as a role model. So instead of being inpatient with your present, pause. Take a deep breath. And know that the best is yet to come.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    12 months ago

    Beautifully said. Thanks for writing this!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • kvanbeek
    2 years ago

    I REALLY needed this article today…THANK YOU!

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