Being Productive with IBD

Living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease is very complicated. On one hand, you want to defy the odds. You want to do the things you never imagined doing. You want to do things you always imagined doing. You want to do things others take for granted. Point being, you want to do things. It’s not that we don’t have a desire to do things. We do. Our flames of desire to live probably burn much hotter than those of the everyday healthy person. Unfortunately, we’re not always able to act on it.

Being productive is difficult

Living with diseases like Crohn’s and Colitis is not an easy task. As if the physical aspect of our disease isn’t enough, there are the emotional rollercoaster and lifetime limitations we have and must constantly address to even attempt to live a semi-normal lifestyle. Being productive is a difficult one for me. While I don’t completely blame this on my Ulcerative Colitis, I must admit it does have a major role in it.

I’m a procrastinator

I always have been, but hopefully will not always be. I’ve always waited until the last minute to get my work done, no matter what the circumstance. I try to work on that, but it’s hard after essentially becoming a professional over the past 26 years. It sucks, but I find that on the rare occasion that I would like to be productive and get things done in advance, I can’t. For some reason or another, something always comes up. I know stress does play a major role in the exacerbation of symptoms in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, so this may be a part of the reason why it seems I always feel some sort of EK when it is time to get work done.

Some examples

For example, a few months ago I had a project due for school. It was a pretty big project, I’d worked on it a bit, but not the way I should have. I still had time, but I decided to dedicate a day to this project. A free day where all of my attention would be focused on school and nothing else. I woke up that day at 3am. Not particularly off for me considering I am always up at odd times of the day (because of my J-pouch) using the bathroom. However, when I laid back in bed, I noticed a shift. Nothing was technically “wrong.” I just couldn’t go to sleep. I was uncomfortable and unable to go back to bed. I laid in the dark for hours trying to trick my body into drifting off but it just didn’t happen. Soon it was sunrise.

Need another example? One day I was actually supposed to go to the school library to get some work done. I was excited to go because I really needed to get out of the house. I had my bags packed and ready when I decided to go to the bathroom quickly before I left. That same day I ended up rushing to my doctor’s office teary-eyed. After going to the bathroom and seeing a decent amount of blood in the stool, I was terrified. I found out I had Pouchitis (inflammation in my J-pouch) that same day.

There’s always something that comes up

It’s hard to be productive with IBD because there’s always something we can or should be doing. It’s hard to be productive because even on our best day there’s always something. It’s hard to be productive because we can’t plan our disease in the same way we plan our day. We can plan to take our medications: where and when, but we can’t plan a flare. We can plan our doctor visits, but we can’t plan the Emergency Room.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but sometimes IBD and productivity just don’t mix.

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.

Comments

View Comments (1)
  • Grady Stewart
    5 days ago

    Wow, this is super accurate. I totally agree that it’s difficult to get stuff done with IBD. I have to also admit that I’m a bit of a procrastinator as well. The unpredictability of IBD is a challenge. You have to constantly be thinking of a backup plan or an escape route. You expressed all of that so wonderfully. Thanks for sharing!

    – Grady (team member)

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