Lacking Trust and Self Confidence with IBD

Since the majority of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are diagnosed between the ages of 15-35, there are a lot of young people suffering. Studies are starting to show that people are being diagnosed at younger ages now. Whether improved diagnostic tests and education have anything to do with it remains unclear, but the fact remains...

Many people are diagnosed with this debilitating, life-altering disease at a very pivotal point in their lives.

I am not saying that anyone who was diagnosed at an older age doesn’t have their challenges and hardships. They do! I can think of about ten challenges off the top of my head that people who are diagnosed older have to face that younger people do not. Point being, it is awful to be diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis at any age so I am in no way trying to compare.

I just wanted to talk about my experiences having been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of 13.

Trust issues because of ulcerative colitis

It makes it hard to trust yourself. Or, at least it has for me. I feel like I have had to make insanely hard life-altering decisions at such a young age that it changed my thought process about a lot. Given that I was mostly under my parents care too, those decisions had to be made with them. That made it harder for me to feel independent. We also did not always agree given there was only so much they could understand not living in my body, and there was only so much I could explain.

I never got to choose my own path in life

One was sort of handed to me and I know that is the case for a lot of people. And in many ways, I am very grateful. You’ll never see me say “I am so glad I got sick because it made me the person I am today” because I just don’t have that mentality. But, given that I HAVE been dealt this hand, I am thankful for some of the opportunities that I have had.

The limitations of life with UC

I just wish I was given a choice in so many things. I didn’t have a chance to go away to college or even choose where I wanted to go. I didn’t get to study abroad. I never had roommates; I only was able to live with my parents. I wasn’t able to travel and figure out where I wanted to live. There is just so much and I am accepting of the majority of it since it has been going on for so long.

I wanted to bring this up because I know a lot of people who suffer from a form of inflammatory bowel disease are lacking in self-confidence and self-worth. How could they not be? Oftentimes, we are very dependent on others. We feel like we need to be people-pleasers; especially to the people who have cared for us. We worry about being judged because of all the changes in appearance and body alterations that can occur when you have IBD. We have had to make huge, huge decisions that not only impact us but those we love most in the entire world. A lot of us feel like it is our fault that things aren’t different with our relationships (family, romantic, friendships or otherwise.)

So many people with this disease have been told their pain and symptoms are in their heads by doctors and loved ones - only to find out later on that, of course, it wasn’t. But that time spent going from doctor to doctor, trying to prove that something was wrong, so that it can be treated and you could have a better quality of life (for you AND your loved ones,) can cause you to feel like maybe there is something wrong with you. It can cause doubt, frustration, and confidence issues. I could go on and on...

We have a lot of reasons to doubt ourselves

Or rather, it is understandable why a person who has suffered from such a tumultuous disease for years would have issues in the area of confidence and being able to trust that the decisions you are about to make are good ones. It is completely and totally understandable!

If you feel this way in some shape or form, please know that you are not alone. I always thought I was until I started talking to other people who suffered from an invisible, chronic illness. That is why I try and bring up some thoughts I have that may seem random - but ones I know have been on my mind for so long, and do impact other people with IBD.

I have said this in other articles I have written but I will reiterate... I don’t bring up topics to sound negative. I want to talk about it so anyone who may read this knows they aren’t alone. Personally, watching certain things online and reading different blog posts had the power to change my entire day. It was amazing to me how much better I felt knowing there was {at least} one other person in the world who understood me in a way most can’t.

Do you ever feel like IBD has taken away some of your confidence or self-worth? Do you find yourself doubting a lot of the decisions you make and you aren’t sure why? Do you think it has anything to do with being diagnosed or were you always that way?

How old were you when you were diagnosed? Do you think the age you were diagnosed contributes to the way you think and feel about certain things?

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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.

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