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woman concerned about what people are saying behind her

What Others Think

For those people who do not have IBD, they can’t say, “I understand the feeling.” That goes for the same, when IBD patients say, “I know what it feels like to have COPD.” It just can’t happen. So why do people say it? Is it embedded in our minds that we have to say something encouraging? Even though it’s a lie? Do they really understand what it means to have Crohn’s? It’s not just having an upset stomach. If that was the case it would make having Crohn’s or Colitis easy. I always think to myself “what are other’s thinking when I am not around?”

What is going through other’s minds about my IBD?

I mean, when I excuse myself from a work function or my classroom, what are the kids thinking? Is this teacher going to go talk with his friends down the hallways? What are other’s thinking? Even though my friends are all about understanding what IBD is, and how it affects me, I always wonder what they are saying when I am not there. I have backed out of many trips, because of the use of the bathroom, that I am sure people have talked. “How come Paul can’t come with us?”  Others might think: “He is OCD about this disease.” But I have to keep a clear mind to keep me going.

I always took a different driving route with bathrooms

For a while, I was taking the long way down the shore. I was so scared to take the main road, because of the limited places to stop for the bathroom. I remember that I felt so bad because I would take the local route down the shore. The local route had tons of bathrooms for me to stop at. I felt bad because my friends wanted to get to the beach. Look, it was summertime, and we were 21. They wanted to drink and get to the casino. I think I overthought things because my friends are great people. I often just drove by myself. This way I was not inconveniencing anyone. I would stop at many places on the way down the shore. I think it was mind over matter because I always felt better taking the longer route.

Why do I care so much about what others think?

So should we care what people think in general? No, and I know that’s what you are thinking. So why do I care so much? Is it my pride? Is it that I haven’t really accepted the fact that I have Crohn’s? It’s always on my mind. It is always a big part of every decision I make. I really need to let go of the pressure I put on myself. I have to realize that this is what it is and accept me for what I was dealt. IBD is no joke. It affects more than what is on the surface. I think over time, understanding this disease will become much easier as more research is being done. I would love to study what people think as they go through the different stages of the disease. This can be a small substudy within the bigger realm of Inflammatory bowel disease.

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
    5 months ago

    Thanks for sharing Paul. I would totally sign up for the study if you need people! Count me in.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • Julie Marie Palumbo moderator
    5 months ago

    Thank you for sharing this, Paul!
    I feel the same way re: how people think of me, but I think most of the time we make it a bigger deal in our heads than it really is. I don’t think people pay attention to us when we are in the bathroom a long time, or have to cancel an event–I think it is human nature to assume others care about what we do wayyyy more than they really do 🙂
    And, I love your idea about the study on patients as they live with the disease and how they think. Our mental state plays such a huge role in this disease and changes based on how we feel physically, so that would be a great study! Sign me up 🙂

    –Julie (Team Member)

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