Sometimes, it can feel as if you are all alone with your problems.
It is easy to compare yourself to others when social media is and can be a highlight reel. When images are smoothed out, positives over negatives are drawn. It can be really hard, to be honest and raw, when it can be lost behind everything else that is deemed more important and more relevant.
Something some removed from ordinary and normal life as being chronically ill can be hard to fit into every day meaning. And that can hurt. A lot.
But that doesn’t make it any less important. Doesn’t make it any less personal to you.
And within the community, we are in boats, sailing the same ocean – the one where we live as sick individuals who just want acceptance and love, from those outside of our community. We show the highs and lows of illness, and sometimes, somehow, get called out for faking or overexaggerating. That is frustrating. It can dent your hope.
How do you cope.. that’s the question. How do you quieten the noise of others – even those in your community, at times – while trying to be brave enough to share? It’s a tough line to walk, trust me, I know. But it has an ebb and flow. You will know, what you want or need to say, at a given time. Just listen to yourself.
Because what you are going through is relevant.
Someone out there will have gone through it.
Hopefully, they can give advice and some comfort, even if it’s just to empathise with the fact you are not alone.
We might all be in different boats but we are really all in the same boat
Ways to help feel more comfortable in your boat:
- Embrace your boat! Learning to love the quirks of your illness is part of the long journey or acceptance. How you react to your own trials and tribulations can be key to finding some peace. It’s learning how to personally cope with your own circumstances.
- Feeling different is okay. In fact, it’s normal to go through a cycle of grief when your illness is diagnosed and if / when it changes.
- Explore connecting with others through social media. It could be Instagram, Twitter or Facebook private groups; there is something out there for everyone.
- You could even join a local support group or a virtual one – which now seems to be really taking off since COVID, a silver lining I suppose.
- Remember that support groups are a great source of information but it’s not medical information. While you can talk candidly about aspects of your illness and compare notes with others, if you need specific answers to your questions, contact your team – either your GP, consultant or IBD nursing team.
- Take time to explore your feelings – either with a therapist or in a journal. I’ve done both and have been great releases of stress, worry and anxiety at different points in my journey.
Do you have any questions or queries? Or just want to share your own experiences?