Our minds like to play tricks on us when we’re going through a Crohn’s Disease flare-up. Every patient has their own irrational thoughts, but we all tend to reach the same conclusion: I am doomed and will never get better.
Let me start by noting that this form of thinking is very common, but people don’t talk about it. This is why it is easy to feel alone during a flare-up. While these thoughts may be common, it is also important to identify irrational thinking before it spirals out of control. Our minds can conjure up a whole island of negative feelings like guilt, anger, low confidence, helplessness, and anxiety. The goal is to stop these negative feelings before they take over.
When I am going through a flare-up, I get stuck in the same negative thinking each time. In order to stop myself from burrowing into a deep whole, I follow these 3 steps:
- Do a reality check by recalling your past flare-up experiences. Remind yourself how you got through the last one.
- Talk to someone, or multiple people, about how you are feeling. Allow your friends and family to remind you of your strength.
- Recite positive affirmations every day and/or each time you feel the negative thinking start to creep in.
5 Positive Affirmations For A Crohn’s Disease Flare-Up
I am not a sick person. During flare-ups my mind conjures up images of me living in a hospital gown eating ice chips for the rest of my life. This irrational thinking is just that: irrational. I always heal from each flare-up and get back to normal life. You will do the same. The nature of a chronic illness like Crohn’s Disease is that flare-ups happen every so often. You are not a sick person. You are just sick right now.
This is not my fault. What did I eat? How stressed have I been? Am I taking all the right supplements? Every time I start to have Crohn’s Disease symptoms, I play the blame game. What did I do to make this happen? This thought process is dangerous. It causes guilt, anger, and self-loathing. Remember, you have a chronic auto-immune disease. Even if you did everything right, you could still have a flare-up because that is the nature of Crohn’s Disease.
I deserve love. Your mind will play so many tricks on your during a flare-up. It will say you are not good enough; your body is failing you; you would be better off alone so you don’t hurt anybody. These thoughts are irrational and simply not true. They stem from common flare-up feelings of low confidence and helplessness. It is important to remember these universal truths about yourself: You are healthy. You are whole. You are enough. Always and forever.
I am not a burden. It is vital to have a support system during a flare-up. You will need to lean on family and friends for emotional support, transportation, pharmacy runs, cooking, cleaning, and the list goes on and on. However, after one week of symptoms, I usually start to feel like I need to mask the pain with a smile so I don’t overwhelm my friends and family. Well, that is just silly! Your loved ones exist for these very times. They want to help you, so let them help you. If anyone makes you feel like a burden, they are not worthy enough to be in your life.
This too shall pass. It can be difficult to see the end of a Crohn’s Disease flare-up. You may start to feel like the pain is your new normal; you will never go back to your normal routine; you will never be able to eat your favorite foods again. This irrational thinking is usually the result of fear. It is important to do reality checks whenever you start to feel hopeless. Have you had a Crohn’s Disease flare-up before? Did you get through it? How long did it take? If this is your first flare-up, seek advice from someone who has been through it before. Remember, the symptoms are temporary. You will overcome this flare-up and get back to your normal routine.
For patient support, reach out to your local Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation chapter.