Secrets from the Stall
Last updated: March 2023
I recently came across a quote on Instagram that made me pause and reflect. It said:
"I am the type of person that will sit in the bathroom and cry, but then walk out like nothing ever happened."
Safe to say anyone with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis can attest to this feeling. I'm talking about the feeling of isolation and despair while you sit in the constraints of the bathroom stall and may wonder "Why me?" or "How am I going to get through this?" The feeling of worrisome thoughts that creep into your mind and make you ponder the possibility of taking on another flare-up. The inner dialogue that goes on as you try and escape the pain with happy thoughts, affirmations, and prayers. Constantly comparing the pain to how it's felt in the past and if a hospital visit could be on the horizon.
Putting on a front with chronic illness
So much of battling this chronic illness is putting on a front and standing tall in front of those around us. Whether it's strangers or those close to us. If we cried and showed emotion for every pain and rough day... There wouldn’t be any tears left to fall.
In my nearly 12 years battling Crohn's, I've spent more days pretending I was fine than actually being honest about how challenging the struggle is. Sometimes it’s easier that way. Nobody wants to be seen as weak or as less than. There's something to be said about the vulnerable state you put yourself in when you let others know that it's simply not a good day.
Pushing through the pain of Crohn's disease
This week I celebrated my first wedding anniversary. Unfortunately from the moment, I woke up and throughout much of the day, I was in a lot of pain. Instead of staying in a ball on the couch and letting it rain on my parade, I kept pushing the thoughts of pain to the back of my mind. Telling myself I wasn't going to let it interfere with me making the most of our very special day.
After we opened gifts and watched our wedding video, I gave in and took a Tylenol with codeine. The pain pill helped me get through a birthday party and dinner out with my husband and 9-week-old baby. Luckily, the pain didn’t return until we returned home. While we reflected on our magical wedding day, I couldn't help but compare how much better I felt that day compared to now.
The fight against Crohn's and colitis
Those who battle Crohn's and ulcerative colitis often call themselves "IBD Warriors." Warriors is a great way to describe us! Our fight is neverending and we fight tirelessly. Each day you wake up and take on the day and your chronic illness you are winning and overcoming the challenges before you. Give yourself credit and know it's ok to say when it hurts and when it isn't easy.
There's no reason we all need to suffer in silence. While the bathroom may occupy some of our time, it's not all of our time. The true battleground is pushing ourselves to live just like everyone else—whether it's for work or play and doing it all while looking healthy on the outside.
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