Stop Looking Back; Look Forward
Last updated: December 2019
It's so easy to think about life before diagnosis. Reminiscing about that precious time of invincibility. Whether you were going to have a "feel good" day was the furthest thing in your mind. You just expected it. You were different then. Chances are you took that health for granted, because you didn't know any better. You are a better person now. Let me explain why.
While none of us want to have a chronic illness or battle a condition that leaves us uncertain of what the next hour is going to bring, it opens our eyes to the world around us and provides a unique perspective.
We need to stop looking back remembering the "good old days"... there is no point.
We need to look forward and use our past as experiences that made us who we are today. There's no sense in wishing to go back in time or wallowing about the "new" person you are now. You didn't lose your identity when you were diagnosed with Crohn's or ulcerative colitis. And it's important to note the disease is not your identity. Rather, this disease has shaped and will continue to shape who we will become. It's in your hands how you want to look at the cards you've been dealt. For me, I find being positive makes me feel better. It's amazing what a positive mindset can do for stress levels and overall well-being.
When I think of myself at age 21, in the months leading up to my diagnosis, I looked at the world and those around me in a much different way. I've always considered myself to be a thoughtful person--but after battling Crohn's for 12-plus years, I've developed a much more compassionate heart.
Instead of looking back - let's look ahead to all the possibilities before us.
As your patient journey evolves and you live through the twist and turns of IBD you will get a better sense of yourself, what you can tolerate, what your needs are and when you push yourself too far. Take those tough moments and those pain-filled days and think about what you did to overcome. Give yourself credit for what you endured, but don't stay focused on the hard times. Think about the beautiful moments in life that haven't been robbed from you.
There's no sense in dwelling on what could have been or thinking that life is unfair. Celebrate your reality. Embrace that this is part of who you are, it's not all of who you are. The only one holding you back from accomplishing what you want to is yourself. Since I was diagnosed when I was 21 I followed my dreams of being a news anchor, worked full-time both in the TV business and in corporate America and didn't allow my hospitalizations or flare-ups to sideline me from doing what I loved.
I knew I wanted to be a mom, I didn't let fears of flaring while I was pregnant stop me from having a family. Yes, there are going to be times when you need to put those dreams on the back burner, but it's not forever. Think about what's important to you, keep your head up and keep your eye on the prize. Then, one day as you reflect on your journey you too might see those bumps in the road actually helped you get to where you are today.
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