Moving On, Moving In – Moving With Crohn’s
Over the last month, my fiancee and I began the painstaking process of moving into our new home. This is my third move since this Crohn’s flare began in 2012. I didn’t think a move could bring about so much anxiety. I suppose that’s to be expected when moving with Crohn’s.
The Catalyst – the First House
My first flare started in the ‘90s around the age of 14. This current Crohn’s disease flare started in 2012 and it really hasn’t left me. Because I went for many years, without receiving a proper diagnosis or treatment for Crohn’s, my body hit a wall in 2012. By the age of 31, Crohn’s imploded my life. When I was forced out of my job, my boss said I was a liability to the team. Shortly after, I was forced to choose between affording health insurance or my home and its contents.
In the blink of an eye, everything I worked for had to go.
Being forced to put my home up for a short sale, along with every single item I had worked so hard for since graduating college was devastating. I’d always prided myself on being fiercely independent.
For the first time since childhood, I had to rely on friends and family to help carry my burden. I hated it.
I felt like the biggest failure. Like I had let myself, my family, and my neighborhood down.
How did I let the neighborhood down? A short sale on a house affects the property value of the entire neighborhood. This was not a decision I took lightly. I had to choose between using savings to pay for the mortgage or my health insurance.
Shortly after my home’s short sale listing went public, a neighbor made a snarky comment about short sales in the neighborhood. It felt targeted and I took it personally. I wasn’t the only one to have a short sale listed, it stung. Still does.
Moving back in with my parents was the right thing to do at that time. During that time, my Crohn’s flare was at its worst. I’m forever grateful to have a family that is so giving and accommodating. They are the reason I was able to battle back from all of this.
Just as I was getting comfortable living at my parents’ home, they decided to downsize. I crave stability in certain situations like a home environment. This might be because, since 2000, I moved approximately 10 times. The last two moves, previous to this most-recent one, took place while I was at my sickest. It might be clear why my cage rattles at the thought of moving.
Luckily, the smaller house turned out to great for all of us. Economically smart, the home was also a decent size for aging adults responsible for a sick adult child. And it didn’t crowd everyone on top of one another. The view of the lake was pretty lovely, as well. I think the gator inhabitants would agree.
It’s now four years since my parents moved us into the smaller home. The stability I gained while there began to slip as the fiancee and I moved into our new-to-us home.
We’ve lived in the house since July, and each day has brought about a new struggle. My anxiety has amplified despite best efforts to reason with my subconscious. Due to living through one loss after another courtesy of Crohn’s, worry has easily consumed my brain.
To be honest, the phrase “the struggle is real,” is legit.
It hasn’t helped that within the first two weeks of living in the home we had an electrical issue, the AC broke, the washer stopped washing, and the toilet began to leak in two places.
Yes, the toilet! Why do these things happen in the middle of the night?
I found water on the bathroom floor on my first night sleeping in the house. There were two separate leaks, one from the wall and one from the toilet. I ran out of the bathroom and shrieked across the room at my half-asleep fiancee, “This is my worst nightmare. Do something!”
It was midnight and he’s not a plumber.
Is It Me Or Is the House Trying to Kill Us? It’s Me.
We are lucky. Our great realtor gifted us with a home warranty. However, it has co-pays, just like health insurance. Whenever something broke, another co-pay charge took place and my nerves were frying a little more. I began to fixate on our expenses outside of the house, what could break next in the house, and how much it would cost to fix or replace.
Since it’s rainy season in Florida, the roof became my newest obsession. Sure the home inspector deemed the roof in perfect shape. I still search the house for leaks during and after each storm.
It’s no secret that for many, anxiety and Crohn’s go hand-in-hand. I do try to control both. However, my psyche and guts suffered during this move. Bathroom trips increased, while hours of sleep decreased. For those unfamiliar, sleep is very important for those with inflammatory diseases. During a chat with an IBD specialist, I learned that missing a few hours can up your body’s inflammation process; stress doesn’t help the situation either.
I was unable to stop feeling as if “the house is trying to kill us.” It flooded my brain.
“Are you ever going to be able to be happy?”
As the words flowed from the fiancee’s mouth, it registered that his tone was snarky. Even though it stung, I needed the verbal sucker punch. I became so hyper-focused on the potential shoe dropping that I couldn’t see the win. Or wins, I should say.
A happy relationship, better health for us both, health insurance, and the fact that I can contribute to the move and the household — all wins.
Recognizing triggers and mitigating them as needed, has helped. Rather than waiting for the next thing to go, like the roof, I added “roof patching” to the home warranty. Yes, it cost more money. But I felt relief, rather than forced to spend more money.
Becoming consumed with worry over the next crisis rendered me useless to this family. I needed a reminder of that.
I tell people all the time to, “Take the win!” Yet, I couldn’t seem to take my own advice. It’s about time I do, and move on with moving in already.
Have you found yourself so engulfed by negatives that you can’t see the positives sitting right in front of you?