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Self-Inflicted Pain

Having Crohn’s disease is like I’m spinning out of control and my physical pain is in someone else hands. Having Crohn’s Disease is like someone is using me as their special voodoo doll and I’m a human pin cushion. It’s like I’m being slowly poisoned by my own body and I’m having all this pain inflicted on me and yet I am unable to control it or anything around me.

Crohn’s disease isn’t just a physical change.

It changes you mentally and emotionally. It’s taken more than just my bowel, it’s taken employment and occasionally my own self worth.

As an angry teen I used my disease as my own crazy little eating disorder. I didn’t starve myself but I occasionally self induced vomiting – I was bound to vomit it up at some stage anyway, I’d tell myself. I also refused to take my medication. My Crohn’s pain I was used to and I could control that but I didn’t want to be fat and puffy like the medication made me. It was my own twisted way of controlling what was happening to me.

I just wanted to control something.

Years and years I kept that ridiculous notion in my mind! I say ridiculous because I’m past it now, but it didn’t seem so silly then. I just wanted to control something. I kept it going until I just couldn’t bare it anymore, I couldn’t control the disease as much as I liked to think that I could. the pain was unbearable and my job was on the line. I needed that job so that I wasn’t just another statistic living on the government – well that’s what I told myself.

I am not completely covered in tattoos but I am coming pretty close to running out of space to put them! I love tattoos and piercings! They have been a means to express myself and inflict pain that is manageable and controlled. Tattoos have been my therapy!

I have never experienced pain that has hurt more than my Crohn’s Disease! And I’ve given birth naturally twice – with no drugs!!!! 😉

My tattoos are my self expression and a way to artistically honour myself and the strength I have had to get through the tough times. I have butterflies that symbolise my rebirth after my first surgery and Greek writing that says ‘New Life’ in Greek. I have tattoos that honour my son and the time that he was born and I have a tattoo down the back of my leg that honors myself in that I am delicate, yet striking and strong at the same time.

IMG_3296I see this as a controlled and beautiful way of taking back some of the pain that was inflicted on me and I am making something beautiful out of it. I have designed all of my tattoos and they are all so meaningful and beautiful. Do you honour yourself? Do you also feel how I felt when it felt like nothing was mine, not even my body?

Honour yourself and treasure yourself.

You are spectacular and have suffered more than you will probably ever admit. You are a warrior!

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
    2 years ago

    You are definitely not alone in feeling like nothing was yours even your own body. IBD makes you feel so out of control and it can become incredibly overwhelming. To cope, I would also do little acts of rebellion just to feel like I was in control. For example, I would reach for a really bad trigger food that I loved, but knew would make me really sick. I would do it regardless because I just wanted to feel like I was in control.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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