We Have to Do What’s Best for Us
Given how much has been going on in the world, especially with the presidential election consuming most people’s thoughts, I find myself retreating a bit. By that I mean, trying to focus more on myself and my goals. It is very difficult for me and I am sure other people who suffer from a chronic illness like Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis (IBD) to get through the day so when you layer on so many other things of which you have no control over, it becomes too much. For me, at least.
I wanted to bring this up today because it has been something I have been thinking and feeling for years but only recently have been acting the way I know is best for me and my health (both physical and emotional.) In truth, I was made to feel badly when I didn’t want to watch the news after something horrific happened in either our country or the world. After I knew the general gist of the situation that had transpired, I was never someone who could listen to story after story talking about so much devastation. To a close member of my family, that was looked at as me being “ignorant” which of course, made me second guess myself.
It took me a long time to realize that it didn’t matter what anyone else thought regarding this topic.
I was and am far from an ignorant person. I am always trying to learn. I am always trying to better myself. And I always care about other people and want to remain as up to date on current events as I can. However, I need to draw a line and depending on where I am with my health journey, that line may be different. For example, this year has been filled with trying to get answers, going through my 15th major surgery – after more tests than I can count, so many ER visits, a hospitalization prior to my surgery, as well as a drainage procedure. I truly feel beaten up and don’t have an ounce of space in my brain for other feelings of hurt.
I am not sure if “feelings of hurt” is even a term, or the correct phrase to use, but it is what comes to mind right now. I guess I just don’t want to feel anymore stress, emotional pain, or uncertainty about the future. I get enough of that from living with a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD.) I know that most of us, myself included, don’t have a choice about having to endure all of the things mentioned above but when it comes to what we expose ourselves to voluntarily – we absolutely have the right to make the best decision for ourselves.
I think most of us (chronic illness or not) can agree that the news can be incredibly depressing and make you feel like the world is coming to an end. That is not a great way for anyone to feel, let alone someone who is trying desperately to hold on by an inch of their life just to survive. I know that sounds like an exaggeration but when someone is truly in a severe state with their inflammatory bowel disease, every ounce of physical and emotional energy is spent on doing what needs to be done to hopefully become more stable all while making sure you remain grounded enough to take care of the other things and people in your life who count on you.
Having said all of that, I do recognize that watching the news and immersing oneself in things going on outside of their current situation can be a good distraction for some. We are all different and it is important that we not only recognize what it is our bodies and minds can handle, but act on those things as well.
I know it can be very difficult to ask someone to change the channel to avoid being exposed to certain things but it is important. I know it is very hard to not be able to just “go with the flow” with friends and family and enjoy what they want. It is never fun being the party pooper (no pun intended) in a way and not be able to watch certain television shows, movies, or world affairs. I also know from personal experience that comments made by people close to you regarding how you choose to handle your mental health as a person living with a debilitating, chronic illness like Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, can have a real impact on you and your actions.
I am in no way negating how challenging this all is.
If you feel this way in some shape or form, please know you are not alone. I have such a difficult time dealing with big things that go on in the world sometimes when I know there is nothing I can physically do to help anyone or change the situation. It drags me down and given most days I barely get any sleep as it is (I know many of you reading this suffer from insomnia or painsomnia also) which hinders my ability to focus and always makes days more challenging, plus dealing with pain on a regular basis, feeling as though I need to micromanage everything I put in my body, life is hard. Inflammatory bowel disease has the ability to impact so much of your life. It can change you and the things you can be a part of or want to engross yourself in – in ways you never would expect.
You are not alone. I know I say that a lot in my articles but I always felt like I was before I started connecting with other IBDers and reading articles/blogs. It was nice to know I wasn’t a freak and other people were impacted severely by IBD also.
At the end of the day, as hard as it may be, we all have to do what is best for us. And if other people don’t approve or understand, then so be it. It doesn’t make them bad people it just means they haven’t experienced all you have and can’t put themselves in your position. Stepping away from certain world events or even other people’s lives (or drama) does not make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you a selfish person. It doesn’t make you an ignorant person who doesn’t care. It makes you a smart person for putting YOU FIRST and ignoring the rest.