‘’Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve’’
If there is one thing I can take from being diagnosed with UC is that I have found a strength within me I didn’t know I had. It sounds very cliché! I didn’t think I’d be capable of dealing with a lifelong illness, the complications that come with it, or the threat of surgery and the very fact I have proves just how strong I can be.
In the beginning I felt like I was drowning; my head was full of so much overwhelming emotion that I couldn’t breathe or see clearly. Lost in a sea of confusion with millions of things running round my head, I struggled to organise it all and make sense of it. I couldn’t put all those feelings in any sort of legible order and this left me feeling very vulnerable. I was trying to heal a shattered heart and now had to fix a broken body. I didn’t quite handle my break up in the best way and tried to fill a void with meaningless things. I distracted myself rather than accepting it and moving on, leaving my head full of thoughts and feelings I hadn’t been able to come to terms with yet.
I felt very weak and totally alone.
My ex-boyfriend and I had the same friends so, naturally one of us was going to be chosen over the other, and I happened to be the one left high and dry. I don’t blame them for that, and I don’t have any hard feelings towards any of them. I knew it would happen and I’d rather be left all on my own than the possibility screaming arguments and awkward situations. Regardless it meant I not only lost a boyfriend, but I lost a lot of contact with my friends too, and trying to put yourself back together after all that is hard enough, even without a chronic illness thrown in there for good measure.
It has almost been a year since the break up and my heart has just started to heal. Thanks to the diagnosis so close to the break up, it meant I had to forget that it had even happened and focus on my health. I didn’t give myself the time to deal with that part of my life and nearly a year on all those feelings of heartbreak and loss has come back around to flood my heart once again.
I was so broken emotionally and now physically, I didn’t believe I’d be capable of getting better. I wont lie, IBD has been incredibly hard, but it has given me a strength that I didn’t think I had at the time. I now see my illness as an empowerment rather than a weakness. I have been able to deal with so much over the last year all seriously unwell. I’m not one to blow my own trumpet but I think that’s pretty good going! I’ve been knocked down more times than I care to admit in the last year and I’m proud to say that every single time I’ve fallen to the floor, I have managed to get back up and fight even harder than I did before.
One way in which I’ve managed to harness that strength is through the community of IBD warriors I’m now part of. It is one of the most powerful groups of people I’ve come across; a body of incredible individuals who understand each and every person who is new to all this. They provide a little glimmer of sunshine amongst a world of darkness; all of them willing to listen no matter how small you may think the issue is. It can be a very lonely position to be in when you are diagnosed with UC or Crohn’s, and to have so much support from so many is very impressive. I have been introduced to some incredibly tough individuals who have helped me as much as I’ve tried to help them too. It can be hard when you’re admitted to hospital, when you don’t know where to turn for help, or when you’re just having an awful day, and every single person in this little community knows and understands what we are all going through. There are times when it gets too much, and they are all there to help every single one who needs support.
If it wasn’t for the IBD community and warmth that I have received then I don’t think I would’ve been able to harness the strength I have found within me.
It takes the strongest people in the world to be chronically and invisibly ill. It’s about showing the world that having this diagnosis and others like it isn’t a weakness, it’s actually empowering. It’s about ensuring that if you are diagnosed then you are far from alone or different. You are now part of a huge community, who are there to help each other through the toughest times.
We are the strongest people on earth, and I want to thank every single one of you!