We all have those days. Those days, when, even when we do everything right, things still manage to go wrong. For the chronically ill, those days are especially hard. Because on those days, even if we take all of our pills, do all of our shots, eat all of the right foods, and try extra hard to control our symptoms, we still feel like crap (no pun intended). And that sucks.
It really, really, sucks.
So often, parents, friends, and even doctors try to hide the fact that IBD sucks. They tell you that you can live a healthy, normal life. They talk about all of the new fancy technology that is used to treat your disease. They say things like “you’re lucky that you have access to blah blah blah; ten years ago you would have been much sicker…” But even though all of these things are true and should be recognized, there’s no escaping the fact that IBD plain sucks. And you’re allowed to agree. You’re allowed to be annoyed, and frustrated, and angry at the fact that you have IBD. Who wouldn’t be?
So, whether you have a mild case and experience no symptoms, or a severe case and live every day in pain, or are somewhere in the middle, you’re allowed to get annoyed. Whether you take one pill, or two pills, or 27 pills and 2 shots and an infusion, you’re allowed to get frustrated. No matter how young, old, sick, or healthy you are, you’re allowed to think that IBD sucks. Because let’s face it: it does.
But, your condition isn’t your life, and it isn’t you.
Yes, IBD sucks. I hope we’ve established this fact by now 😀 . Taking medicines and getting blood tests and eliminating foods are all very sucky things (unless you prefer pills over popcorn). But living with a sucky disease doesn’t mean you are living a sucky life. And it doesn’t mean you are a sucky person.
You didn’t choose the nature of your condition, or even the fact that you got it in the first place. You didn’t choose where, when, and why it would affect you. You didn’t choose to have this sucky disease, and sadly, you can’t get rid of it (yet). But you can choose how you cope with it, and you can choose to accept it, and you can choose to live a life you are happy with even though IBD is a part of it.
Because although IBD sucks, it is only one aspect of life among millions. So, yes, you can choose to let the suckiness take over. You can choose to focus on everything that makes your life different and more complex than everyone else’s. But even though you are forced to live with IBD, you aren’t forced to dwell on all of the things that suck about it, and you aren’t forced to let it control you.
Instead, try to focus on the parts of your life that don’t suck. Because even though it sometimes seems to, life itself doesn’t suck. Yes, there are “those” days. Yes, there are sucky things in life like being sick, and pop quizzes, and oatmeal rasin cookies you thought were chocolate chip, and fake pockets on pants (I can’t stand those things!). But there are also so many more un-sucky things like friends, and family, and funny movies, and real chocolate chip cookies, and pajamas, and cute dogs, and sunny days, and so, so, so, so, so, so many more amazing and beautiful parts of life. So focus on those. Those people you love, those yummy cookies, and those pretty skies. And let these things remind you that no matter what, life doesn’t suck. Who knows? Maybe oatmeal raisin cookies will become your favorite.
And even if you are having one of “those” days, there are still things to be happy about, no matter how small they may seem. You are allowed to be annoyed, and frustrated, and angry, and mad at IBD, but those feelings aren’t everything because IBD is not everything. So be mad for a minute or two, but then remember to acknowledge the millions of great parts of life rather than the suckiness of one stupid disease. And trust me, you will feel better.
If you find that you are struggling to live a happy life because of your IBD, it is important to find help. Talk to your family, friends, and doctors about what’s going on. Even if you don’t think they will “get it,” telling someone about your concerns is always better than keeping them inside. Doctors see hundreds of patients and many of them have these very concerns. They will be able to help you cope with and accept IBD in a healthy way.
The bottom line is, we can all agree that IBD sucks. We can all agree that “those” days suck, too. We can all agree that doing everything right to take care of yourself and still feeling awful is one of the suckiest feelings on the face of this earth. But more importantly, it is my hope that we can all see that life is so much more than IBD and bad days and feeling sick. That we can all see that even though life is filled with sucky things, it is also filled with great things. And the great things can easily outnumber the sucky things, if we only acknowledge them.
So, yes, IBD sucks. But life doesn’t have to.
Be mad. Be sad. Be angry. But then move on, and be happy.
*Bonus points for anyone who counted how many times I used the word suck 😂