To The Newly Diagnosed, I See You

You’ve just been diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. You’re scared and a little embarrassed to even say the words. You don’t want to admit it because you fear announcing your diagnosis is the equivalent of admitting defeat. Your family will judge you. Your friends will flee. And maybe it’s true. Maybe people will look at you differently. Maybe people will judge you. Maybe people will consider you different, and maybe they’re right. The truth is there are some people who may look at you differently. You are different. You have a chronic, auto-immune disease. You have a condition with no cure. It’s different. Sure, maybe you’ll lose friends, but maybe you won’t. Maybe people will understand. Maybe they won’t understand in every way you need them to, but maybe they can empathize.

You have IBD now.

And that’s no easy thing to deal with. It’ll seem almost impossible. From trying to do everyday things, to simply trying to understand your condition. Things are harder. I understand. There will be days when everything seems impossible, so much so that you will consider not trying at all. And that’s okay too. You will learn quickly that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to need time for yourself. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to break down. It’s okay to give yourself permission to feel. There’s no perfect way to deal with your diagnosis. There’s no perfect IBD patient.

I see you.

I see you crying on the bathroom floor. I see you struggle to hide your painful, at times embarrassing, symptoms. I see the hurt you try so hard not to show. I see the fear in your eyes and the questions you’re ashamed to ask. I know the feeling. I know the feeling of helplessness. I know the feeling of shame and sadness. I know what it’s like to feel like the only thing you have to look forward to is pain and fear.

You are not alone.

As cliché as it may sound, you are not alone. It may seem like it for a while. It may seem like no one will ever understand what you’re going through. It may seem as if you’re fighting a never ending battle. But they will, and you’re not. There are good and bad days, but the bad won’t last forever, and in spite of the way it may seem, there are people out there who understand.

IBD is not like other conditions. It takes time. It’s not easy to talk about, but there are people out there who do. There are support groups. There are virtual groups online. There are professionals, bloggers, advocates and all sorts people out there who are ready and willing to help offer a helping hand.

Living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease is hard. It complicates things, but it’s not impossible. It’s possible to live and thrive with IBD. It takes a lot. It takes friends, a support system, it takes love and patience. It requires a lot and may require things to be done differently, but things are certainly still possible.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net 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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