As human as the next guy…

It must be said that as I sit and type this guest blog post, I could quite happily just scoff down a few hand-fulls of pain killers and sleep for the next week or so.  It is one of those occasions where an associated symptom is just as bad as the Crohn’s Disease itself.  In this particular instance, a recent flare-up has aggravated a spot of arthritis that plagues my back.  Short version – it’s painkiller and sofa time for the next wee while until things settle down.  Yet another lesson that Crohn’s Disease has taught me.

Since my diagnosis back in 1997, I have learned a good number of “Crohnie life lessons.”  In regard to the aforementioned scenario.  Three principal lessons are:

  1. I am going to get these “bad days” from time to time.
  2. I am actually allowed to have bad days.
  3. I will not feel guilty about doing absolutely nothing on these days.

Unfortunately for a lot of us, we either have to drug ourselves to the eyeballs to get through it (such as I am doing at the moment) or we just suck it up and get on with it.  Usually I will just man-up and push through it, only for my body to collapse in a polite reminder that the “drugs option” would have been the correct way to go.  What can I say, I am as guilty as the next guy for sometimes being my own worst enemy by doing things (aka: work, house chores, grocery shopping etc) when my body is crying out for some much needed downtime.  Such is my own personal vicious circle; body says “no” but brain says “come on you wuss – it’s really not that bad!”

This brings us nicely on to the “trial and error” approach that is one of the foundational concepts upon which Crohn’s Disease management is based.  I have learned the three lessons shown above but (and I would say of equal if not greater importance) I have also learned to take each bad day or bad situation, on its own merits.  Sometimes Crohn’s Disease will knock you on your ass.  Sometimes for a day.  Sometimes much longer.  And when it DOES happen – it sucks more than a Dyson vacuum cleaner.  The good news is that it DOES pass.

To quote Winston Churchill; “when you are going through hell – keep going.”  When Crohn’s Disease presents you with the random flying head-butt that is “a bad day” – it will suck.  The object lesson here is to try and not beat yourself up about it and make matters worse.  Remember, when you have Crohn’s Disease, you are going to get (and are allowed to have) bad days.  Doing whatever works for you and gets you through these periods – even if it’s doing nothing more strenuous than chilling on the sofa with a mug of tea and a good book – is exactly the right thing to do.  After all, you are as human as the next guy too 😉

Editor’s Note: Stephen Dempster is a monthly contributor to our blog. You can find Stephen on Google+ and on his blog Behind the Times. Stephen also is the creator of the Flipboard Magazine: A Little Behind The Times

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  • TerryMunroe

    But I always feel so guilty on those days when I can’t do anything. After all these years, (35+) I still cannot admit that I am not like those without this disease.

    • Terry… It isn’t easy to accept. The best thing we can do is take things one day at a time. One step at a time. And try not to come down too hard on ourselves when things don’t work out the way we hoped for.

      • TerryMunroe

        I know you are right. I hate having to admit that I am not able to do the things I want. I hate having to admit I cannot keep up with normal activities. I’m slowly coming around to admit to myself that it’s okay to accept my limitations. I am learning to let things go and do what I need to. I despise having to do it. If I can turn it into a choice for myself, rather than a must for myself, I will be far more accepting. After 35 years or so, I guess it’s about time! LOL Thanks for your support.