Anger And Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBD has me bitter, angry, and very mad right now! My son has spent seven of his eight years of life suffering with pain, nausea, and missing important milestones due to being stuck in the hospital. A very good friend of mine just got done spending two weeks in the hospital thanks to IBD and still isn’t able to do most of the day-to-day things most people take for granted. Another person, who is very special to me, rarely gets any sleep and has to deal with migraines on a daily basis due to IBD. These are good people! People that bring joy and happiness to my life and yet I’m powerless to take their suffering away. It feels like my heart is being overrun with frustration and helplessness.

Anger is close to dangerAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Ok, breath Frank! Take some deep breaths! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7….

Wow! I feel better now… I’m glad I gave myself those five minutes to vent and get that out! As a very wise and wonderful person says “Keeping things inside is bad for my health”.

Anger, frustration, and helplessness are all a part of IBD. It doesn’t matter if you are patient, caregiver, a close friend or family member… If you are anywhere near IBD, you are going to feel these emotions. It’s how we deal with these emotions that matter.

For years I bottled up my anger. I felt like I needed to be strong for my son. I didn’t want him to see my frustration or even get a sense that I was anything but positive. I didn’t even feel comfortable letting it out when I was alone. If I had done that, in some weird way I felt like that’s exactly what IBD wanted and it would be winning. It didn’t take very long, keeping all of that inside of me, for me to become very depressed.

What I learned though, was that it was okay to be angry. It was natural to feel this way. IBD, Crohn’s, and Colitis are serious diseases that don’t just affect the body, but also affects us emotionally too!

So how do I deal with the anger, helplessness, and frustration? Similarly to what you read at the top of the blog post. I allow myself time to think about what is bothering me. I take the time to recognize that I am angry, sad, feeling helpless and frustrated. If appropriate or warranted, I might even give myself the time to cry or voice all of these emotions.

Once that’s done though, it is now time for me to turn those negative emotions into something positive. What better way to strike back at IBD than turning it’s negativity into something positive!!! What’s even better about this, is that when I do turn it into something positive, I’m not just doing something positive for my son and those closest to me with this disease, I’m also doing something positive for the 5 million people worldwide that suffer with it too!

My positive response can be something small, something big, or maybe a combination of both. I can write a new blog post, like this one, and talk about anything that might help another IBD patient. I can work to increase education and awareness around IBD, Crohn’s, and Colitis so we are one step closer to making these diseases a household name. I can even find those that are doing Team Challenges and donate so we can do more research into finding a cure. My favorite thing to do though is talk with other IBD patients. To listen to them and allow them the chance to get something off of their chest that might be bothering them. To learn something new from them and do what I can to put a smile on their face.

If you have a way of dealing with anger, helplessness, and frustration because of IBD, please feel free to share it in the comments below. I would love to hear how you overcome these emotions.

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  • Jeffrey LeVine

    I have seen these thoughts spoken by IBDers, but never really from the caregiver’s views. It is sort of comforting to know that the ones with the diseases aren’t the only one suffering. Not that it is good to suffer but it helps to know that caregivers have the same emotions we do.

    • I can’t speak for all caregivers Jeffrey, but I know I absolutely have those emotions. In my opinion, IBD doesn’t just invade the patient, but it also invades everyone who is very close to those patients.

      Thanks for your kind thoughts :)

  • Christina Matthies

    My husband deals with intense anger and an awful sense of helplessness. I can’t imagine being a parent and having that helplessness amplified. It’s an important post, Frank, and as always, thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you so much Christina! I really appreciate the kind words. I’m not sure if there is a huge gap between what your husband feels and what I feel. We both have unconditional love for the people that are affected by this terrible disease! :)