I’ve been posting a lot lately, which hasn’t been the norm for a long while. Some of the explanation is because I hadn’t been inspired by much in the past couple months and my fatigue had been eating away at my free time as napping had taken over; but it’s most recently its been down to the fact I’ve been off sick.

Yes, signed off sick from work, yet again.

And funnily enough, this time, I don’t feel the guilt I usually feel.

Sure, I missed my job, the work environment and those lovely people I work and interact with in during the week; but that feeling of not being well and feeling awful that I did this to myself, how bloody stupid wasn’t there. Because, I knew that something was seriously wrong when I said these words: “I actually don’t want to be here on this earth anymore, it’s too hard, it’s too much”.

It was too much. It still is in some aspects but my ability to cope – and my new medication – is helping me through, helping me to navigate around those obstacles in a rational way.

My mental health has improved but it’s a work in progress. That’s all I can say; that I am progressing everything, one day at a time. Taking it as just that, one single day at a time. Thinking too much – worrying, basically – about more than what I can actually and realistically achieve in one day won’t help matters. So whilst my antidepressants (AD’s) slowly switch off my anxiety, one cell at a time it feels like at the moment, I focus on the important things.

Like taking a shower. Changing my stoma bag. Wearing clean clothes. Cooking wholesome meals. Talking and being honest. Being rational and proactive. Being positive and seeing the good, not the bad. Setting myself daily goals and tasks.

The not feeling overwhelmed part, that’s the big work in progress. And I see improvements in that in the last week, as I phased back to work. I can’t even begin to express how utterly grateful I am towards my employer for being so caring, understanding and accepting of my new challenges. I think in some ways, these ‘new’ challenges have been simmering for a while, maybe it was sometimes noticeable; a hint, a whiff of what was coming, but I’ve been treated with respect and without judgement.

So as I work back up to my full job role and tasks, I am taking time for me. That means, being active in my health care and with my own self care. I’ve finally had some testing done and got some new treatment for my rectal stump which will hopefully help. If not, going back and seeing them to go to the next step is a must. I’ve also had some luck with getting into seeing a more local liver specialist, as my blood work is still up and down and remains a mystery. Vedolizumab is working and I am feeling very well, just tired more than usual. At the moment, the pipeline of appointments keeps coming and keeping up with them all feels like a challenge, but I am used to this now. A busy appointment schedule is something in which I tend to thrive within.

With my time off, I got my blogging bug back. I also got my ‘getting involved in local support’ bug back too. I have some interesting adventures coming up within that but the blog has many projects and little aspects that are going to be tweaked and worked on this year. I have got a busy blog schedule and calendar; including all the time set aside to write! It’s getting back into it, that’s been the enjoyable bit – feeling invigorated by spreading more knowledge  – the proper knowledge! – and educating those who might need it, as well as sharing my experiences and raising the IBD and ostomy profile in the social media world. Let’s see where this year leads me, with regards to my words and online voice.

Life for me at the moment might read as being hectic, and I get asked a lot of the time “How’s it going?” or “Gosh, that’s a lot / how to do you cope / how do you have time?!” and honestly, I seem to do well when I am up against it. Despite all the things that seem to happen – ‘going wrong’ isn’t the right phrase here, but seems apt at times – I am here living the best I can with my invisible illness.

I choose to remind myself that I have achieved a hell of a lot in the last twelve months, despite set backs.

I choose to see the funny, weird side of my illness not all the doom and gloom I could see.

I choose to talk about it because not only is it a release for me but sometimes it sparks someone else talking about it. Talking gives me that connection that sometimes I don’t get with those who aren’t sick like me.

And not feeling alone with this illness, has no words, no comparison; it is simply needed.