If I could point to one thing that is gasoline to the flame that is my Crohn’s disease, it would be emotional stress. I have always internalized my feelings even though some would argue that I’m more outspoken than most. [Exhibit A: Blog named "The Diarrhea Diaries".]
When I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease I had a severe problem within my family where one member needed my help but I wasn’t sure how to help them. Instead of talking to a professional about what was happening and how to handle it, I internalized my sadness and I believe that grief, confusion, and fear flared the disease that had, until then, only lurked quietly in the background. I tried to help that family member every day through their darkest hours in any way I could. I took what that family member was feeling and stored it somewhere inside of myself. I’m sure I made a lot of mistakes while trying to help–to my health and to theirs–but I’m proud of myself for not giving up and for stumbling through a hard situation the best way I knew how. I’m happy to report that my family member is on solid ground, but I, unfortunately, am not.
There are inescapable moments that occur in my daily/weekly/monthly life that remind me of those hard years and I’m finding them harder to bounce back from. It’s almost as if I am a bottle of soda that is shaken a few times a month until the carbonation has built up into a bubbling mass of depression that is ready to explode. I wish I could form a wall around myself, but even then, I know that this isn’t the answer–not for myself or my family. But proper counseling is.
Even though I haven’t made a New Year’s resolution in over a dozen years, I am making one now. I am going to make an appointment to see a professional to work through what happened all of those years ago. And I’m going to find a way to deal with the moments when someone shakes my bottle whether they know they’re shaking it or not. Maybe if I can put to rest some of my more painful swirling emotions, I can find a way to prevent the days when my Crohn’s disease tells me what I’m feeling before the first sad thought has had a chance to enter my head.