“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” – Mulan. True or false? When do you bloom best?
As chronic illness sufferers, we have had to suffer through some tough times. What feels tough to one person, might not be the same for the next person. And that indeed is true within the chronic illness community and the Crohn’s community. It is all so individual. So, in some way, shape or form, we have all had difficult periods in our lives. Be it before illness, during diagnosis or through turbulent periods of ill-health.
For the most part, I am lucky. I was diagnosed within 6 weeks and put on to medication straight away. My toughest time, medically speaking, was going back and forward to the hospital for admissions because no medication would settle my symptoms down. Then Humira came along, changed my Crohnie life and I returned to the big bad real world.
My adversity came at work and being out in the world with people who no idea what IBD was or what I was suffering through. Being able to talk about those issues, in the first instance, and being able to talk about the frustrating moments in my daily interactions with others being the second, was extremely difficult to begin with. I felt as if I was complaining for being shocking that people couldn’t see my inflamed colon or my stiff joints. All I wanted was a normal life and I could never really get there. It took a long time to settle into my new crohnie skin and become comfortable with it. But as the Crohn’s is such a fickle beast, once I got happy, my symptoms changed and I had different things to deal with. It was a constant battle, a constant struggle.
It still is. But I am still here. I am still talking about it, I am still sharing and I am participating. I find more funny in some people’s reactions and conversations (especially if they are awful to me) because life is far too short to let them bother me for longer than a couple of hours and if you can’t laugh, why bother?
I’d like to think that I have bloomed under adversity, be it big or small, long or short-term, because Crohn’s and having an invisible illness is who I am. It will undoubtably change me and had made me stronger and braver than I ever thought I could be. I get used to (or got used to) pain and it just becomes a part of my life. It isn’t until someone asks how long I’ve been in pain or points out how much I do despite the pain, that I realise how fast time is and has passed by. And despite not having a solution to my pain, I am incredibly proud of my ability to deal with it. As it once felt so foreign, it now feels so natural.
I bloom when I least expect it. And I bloom because I am who I am because of my Crohn’s Disease.