Having a chronic condition and knowing that it isn’t ever going to go away can be a hard pill to swallow.
For a long time I was in denial after my diagnosis, I didn’t ignore it but I did ask my consultant and IBD nurses a few times if they had made a mistake and was sure I had Crohn’s.
People assocaite grief with losing someone, but when you get a diagnosis of a lifelong illness you grieve for your former self, at least I know I did.
This also happens with me for periods of wellness and when I get a flare or vitamin deficiences I go back through the cycle.
They say there are 5 stages of grief.
I know I have hit every stage of this and probably will again but I think the key one here is the acceptance bit.
Once I had accepted that it wasn’t going away, it became a little easier to deal with mentally. I’ve made piece with my gremlin. Now don’t get me wrong I hate the litte so and so and it rears it ugly head from time to time, but I know he’s with me for life.
Just wish it was as simple as not feeding him after midnight so my gremlin can stay like this
And not become:
But in all seriousness we can feel like we have lost some of our former selves. I remember looking in the mirror and thinking I don’t recognise the person I am now, who is this stranger staring back at me.
Our bodies change, this can be back and forth, losing weight/gaining weight, we have medications that can mess with our moods and our system. Sometimes even surgery.
Even though life did change for me and Crohn’s is now firmly embedded in my being. Crohn’s isn’t me it’s only part of me. And while I may not sometimes be able to do all the things I want to, I can still add my own cheeky and nerdy personality into the mix.
We are not defined by our illness but our actions.