This year I told myself I’d space out the beauty posts and do a bit more writing around my illness on my blog to raise awareness. For people who don’t know, I got diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in April 2017, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This completely turned my life upside down and I’m on a pretty bumpy journey at the moment trying to heal my body with the hope of becoming relatively healthy again at some point. I hope to be brave enough to properly share my story on here one day but this is going to be where things start.
People have treated me differently since being diagnosed because I’ve had to adapt my life. I’m not able to do all the things I used to, I wouldn’t say I’m a different person but I’ve definitely changed – in some good ways and some bad but I’m working on it, aren’t we all? But anyway, here are a few things I’d like to put out into the world about my feelings on people’s recent ignorance towards me and invisible illness in general, enjoy…
I don’t and never will expect anyone to fully understand, I don’t even understand it half the time. How I went from being a fully-functioning healthy human being to this is literally so depressing. If you care about or even just know someone with an illness, it doesn’t take a lot to pop it into google. Or hey, you could even try having an actual conversation with them and ask how they’re doing – just a thought.
Something I’ve had to deal with recently is people unfairly judging me because I’m unable to do things they can and making me feel uncomfortable because of it. I’m not going to apologise for it because my illness isn’t my fault. Do you really think I like being the person that always has to leave early and miss out on things? One night of a few drinks and getting in at 4am causes a lie-in and a bit of a headache for normal people, for me it’s likely to cause hospitalisation or even worse. If I say I can’t do it then I mean it, I’m not going to put my short and long-term health under massive pressure to please anyone and no one should ever expect that from me either.
I miss the old, “normal” me every single day. I miss being able to have the odd alcoholic drink. I miss being able to eat what I want, when I want. I miss having a full time job or being able to work at all. I miss nights out with my friends. I miss waking up and knowing what my days going to be like instead of wondering how much pain I’ll be in, how far my little amount of energy will stretch and if I’ll be able to leave the house today. I miss having a great social life and going to the gym. Don’t ever think being chronically ill is an easy life for any reason.
Yes every now and again, my body gives me an easy day. Easy meaning minimal symptoms and a bit of extra energy which with any luck, on these days I can try and do normal people things. Just because you saw me wandering round the mall, wearing a full face of makeup or supporting my boyfriend at his gig doesn’t mean I’m lying or exaggerating about what I’m going through. I take daily medication and pain killers on both my bad and good days, some days they don’t even seem to work. And I’ll do anything and everything possible to support the people I love, no matter how ill I am.
Think about how hard life is normally. The heartbreaks, the failures, the constant ups and downs. Worry about the future, regrets about the past, loss of loved ones. Short-term illnesses, money worries, the list goes on. Now imagine having to go through all of that with your body also having its own battle with itself and hindering you from doing a lot of things that healthy people don’t even think twice about. Don’t underestimate the strength of someone who is chronically ill. At the risk of sounding cheesy, we’re pretty badass.
I could go on but I feel like I’ve got my main points out here. It really doesn’t take a lot not to judge someone for something they cannot control, even if you don’t understand it. Just listen, be a compassionate and kind human being. All you need to know is that I am trying way harder than my best. You never know, you could be writing something like this one day.