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Realizing You

Realizing You’re Not Invincible

Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis (IBD) tend to affect people in their earlier years of life. The average age of diagnosis is between 15-35, although the age is getting younger and younger. Researchers and doctors aren’t sure if the advances in diagnostic testing and education play a hand in this. Regardless, many people who are initially diagnosed with a form of inflammatory bowel disease are adolescents and young adults.

Given many teenagers and young adults believe they are invincible, a diagnosis of a severe, chronic disease can really alter a person’s mindset about life.

The older we get, the more we are faced with health challenges OR we hear about others who are facing difficult times. When you are young, you believe the world is ahead of you and nothing bad can or will ever happen to you. It is a wonderful feeling to be that free. I can’t remember that feeling and I would love nothing more than to go back to a time when I was more naive to the realities of life.

I recently had a conversation with a fellow IBDer about how her Crohn’s diagnosis really made her feel like life was short all of a sudden. She also mentioned that she felt odd about it because it wasn’t like she received a terminal diagnosis or something.

I think when many people are sick and searching for answers, hearing the words “You have Crohn’s Disease” or “You Have Ulcerative Colitis” presents a relief in some way.

I think many people’s initial reaction is “well, thank God it isn’t cancer” – and yes, thank God it is not.

However, inflammatory bowel disease is still a severe, lifelong chronic illness.

I have thought about this a lot and also recognize that it has taken me years to understand how to balance the mentality of “life is short so do what you love and forget the rest” with the fact that I do have to plan for the future and do things I may not want to do (damn being a responsible adult! ; ) )

Being diagnosed with a form of inflammatory bowel disease is no easy feat.

There is so much to process, so much to learn, and so much to try and navigate. There is often a ton of adjustment; both physically and mentally. Relationships tend to change a bit. And your outlook on life might eventually shift. I don’t know for a fact that every person diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis has a shift in mindset about life, but I do believe the majority are impacted in this way.

I used to feel envious of my peers who definitely had the mentality of “nothing bad will happen to me.”

I wanted to be like them in many ways: spontaneous, adventurous, more of a risk taker, not afraid of things, not worried about being places where medical facilities weren’t, could just eat and drink whatever and whenever, etc.

While it is awesome to feel like you are invincible, it can feel like your world has come crashing down when you are suddenly struck with an illness you never heard of. This diagnosis can also change your whole being and world seemingly overnight. This is beyond difficult.
I hope you know that your mind has to process things on its own time frame and it is very understandable and “normal” to have some of these feelings that I shared.

Do you ever have some of these feelings? We would love to hear them in the comment section below! Remember, you are not alone!

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
    9 months ago

    I can definitely relate with you on this. When I was first diagnosed my way of coping was through denial. I couldn’t wrap my head around that fact that I had a “disease.” It was the strangest thing for me and I was always that naive girl that never thought anything bad would happen to her. The diagnosis definitely changed me, but I have to say, in some ways it has given me a new found perspective on life that is so valuable. I see and view life in a much different way. I appreciate the small things. I am thankful for every opportunity and I have found that my heart has softened and I am much more compassionate to others.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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