I have trained myself to think everything that I physically feel inside my body is related to Crohn’s Disease. While it is necessary to be hyper-aware of my body and in tune with any changes, it has caused unnecessary anxiety and fear. I want to share the following story with you to explain what I mean.
This past week I woke up in the middle of the night with terrible pain in my abdomen. For the next few days, my stomach felt icky and achy. I was having diarrhea and minor urging. In my mind, this was the beginning of a Crohn’s flare-up. My anxiety and stress went through the roof. I started preparing myself for the inevitable steroid regimen, weight loss, fatigue, canceling plans, and figuring out if Remicade has stopped working. However, by the weekend I realized the dull, achy pain wasn’t coming from my colon, but from my stomach. So I rested, drank soothing tea, and ate bland foods. Within a day the diarrhea was gone, and the achy feeling was slowly going away. In the end, it appeared to be a bout of the stomach flu.
I share this story with you because I realize I am too quick to jump to conclusions with my health and maybe you are also. From years of constant flare-ups, I now have trouble controlling anxiety related to Crohn’s Disease. By assuming that every physical feeling inside my body is related to my autoimmune disease, I am opening myself up to a constant state of fear and anxiety. When looking back at this past week it is now clear that the symptoms I was experiencing were not colon related, but the fear of a flare-up blinded me. I could not see the reality for what it was. In turn, I could not take the necessary steps to get better, at least not immediately. I also put myself through an enormous amount of stress that could have been avoided.
Again, it is essential for all of us to be hyper-aware of our bodies and any changes that may happen. However, we cannot let this rule our life or blind us from reality. How do we do this? Our first step is to lessen the fear of getting a flare-up. If we stop being so scared of flaring up, we won’t let anxiety blind us in every health-related issue. How do we lessen the fear of getting a flare-up? We look at the past. I have always gotten through every flare-up as hard as it may have been. I have continually come out on the other end a stronger and healthier individual. Life goes on. A flare-up is not the worst thing in the world after all. And if the past week’s symptoms were the beginning of a flare-up, that would have been okay. I would have gotten through it.
So I want us all to remember that we must not live in fear of this disease. This fear gets in the way of our physical and mental health. Our lives are too precious to live like that.
You may also be interested in “Why I Am Grateful For Crohn’s Disease” and “Crohn’s Disease 101: Everything the World Should Know”