Pulling Yourself Out of the Lowest of Lows
It's hard to have a good day when every day seems like the worst. Experiencing repeated Crohn's or ulcerative colitis flares can take a toll on your mental health as it ravages your physical health. Everything feels overwhelming and even the smallest of movements can seem daunting.
I would often try to trick myself into feeling better, telling myself lies that this feeling is only brief. When the reality was that I could be sick for weeks.
However, I found there were some tactics that helped me get through those tough days, regardless of how long they seemed to last. Below is a list of mantras and techniques I practiced that helped get me survive my lowest days of IBD.
How I get through the worst days of my Crohn's
I make a list of all the small things I am grateful for, start with, "I am grateful for:"
- Being in my own home with access to my own bathroom
- Knowing that I am not feeling this way while in the middle of a 3-day hike
- Being able to lay in bed if I am not feeling well
- Having access to clean water and hot showers
- Comfy clothes
- Food delivery apps
- Streaming services
- The ability to eat (and name 3 safe foods and/or beverages)
Saying it out loud
I repeat the following mantras:
- It is just a bad day, not a bad life.
- This is only temporary and I will get through it.
- Better days are ahead.
- My disease does not define me.
- I am strong. I am capable. I am fearless.
Thinking about better days
I would also close my eyes and meditate or focus on happy thoughts like:
- The last time I felt healthy and how I felt mentally and physically
- My favorite destination (any beach in warm weather, listening to the waves and reading a good book) – free from pain
- My favorite scenes in movies that make me laugh
- Quality time with my friends and family
- The best, most delicious meal that I will enjoy as soon as I feel well
Celebrating small wins with Crohn's and UC
It was always important for me to focus on the positive, regardless of how small that may be. Maybe the only thing that went well for you this morning was that you didn't run out of toilet paper, and that is OK! Celebrating little wins is important in order to get you through the dark tunnel when no light is in sight.
I know that it can seem like your world is closing in on you and that you will never feel happiness again, but that is not true. You will be happy and healthy again. And even if it is only brief, you know you can withstand the storm and make it through to the other side – again and again like the warrior that you are.
How open are you about being diagnosed with IBD?