I’m that type of person that jokes around when things tend to get awkward or sensitive. So yes, I’m actually anxious of posting this haha! This post has been ready to be published for over a week now, but somehow I still haven’t. I know I shouldn’t care about what people think of it, but still I do. What if people get the wrong idea of me, or what if people who aren’t supposed to read it find it anyway. I mean, this is not really how I’d like to label myself.
Not that I’m ashamed of it. I just never thought I’d I see myself writing this. I never fully understood the concept, or thought I was sensitive to it. But now I’m actually kind of struggling with it.
When I was younger, like in high school and the start of uni, I was aware that there were people who ‘claimed’ to have anxiety. I’m saying ‘claimed’ because I did not really understood what is was. What people went through and how severe it could be. To be honest, it all seemed a bit strange to me. Like, how can things you usually love doing somehow start to make you feel worried or scared…?
Well I’ve learned my lesson. It only started just recently, but let me tell you… it has such an impact on your life!!
Summer 2016 I was diagnosed with crohn’s disease. I didn’t really understood what it was and what kind of impact it would have on my life. I was glad that I finally got medicine for my stomache aches and extra vitamins to help with feeling exhausted all the time. Besides that, I just lived my life like I always did. To be honest, looking back at that period, I actually was very happy.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2018. My symptoms got worse and I started a long period of trial and error with different medicine. I got worse, lost a lot of weight, couldn’t go outside anymore (because of the symptoms I had, I could write another post about that) and eventually had to go in surgery.
So summer 2018, 45cm of my bowel was removed. After that I had to recover for quite a while and again start a new medicine. It’s been over 6 months and we still haven’t figured out how to control my symptoms and reduce the infection in my bowel. There is still a lot I don’t know about my body. Could a diet work? Do I need to work out more often, or save my energy? Is it okay to work 40hours a week? Am I able to finish my Masters degree? Can I still do the things I used to love? Will I ever stop worrying about things I cannot control?
This is where the anxiety started.
I’ve always been someone who finds it hard to admit to be in pain or having a difficult time. I always say to myself ”As long as you don’t admit it, it’s not there”. As soon as you give it a label, like saying ”I’m ill, or I’m struggling” you are. But at this point I was starting to get really tired of it all, both physically and mentally. I became aware of the impact that crohn’s can have on your life and I was having a hard time accepting this, and still am.
The anxiety and panic attacks started happening quite frequently. Usually when I was commuting to work. I would feel something in my stomache and immediately started to panic. I started feeling worried about social events, like dinners or parties, because I was afraid that something might happen. That I would have a panick attack or couldn’t handle my symptoms anymore. I would feel stressed or worried about a futute event, because I wasn’t sure if I was able to go and enjoy it. Like, why would I put myself through all of that? However, on the other side, I don’t want to run away from my problems, so I would force myself to go. It’s like having this constant battle in your mind between not wanting to run away and allowing yourself to rest. Sometimes it’s so hard to find the right balance.
This constant feeling of worry is so exhausting, but there is not much you can do about it. It’s like an error in your brain which you cannot control. I could feel fine at one point, and a few moments later I could feel like crying. It still is difficult to understand for me, because I have always seen myself as a positive and optimistic person. I still claim to be optimistic, but it’s a bit more difficult than it used to be. I’m really trying to just let go of it all, and still do the things I enjoy doing. It can just be exhausting sometimes, and again, finding the right balance is difficult.
I often ask myself “why can’t I just be normal?”, but then immediately tell myself to not compare. Because, what is normal? I know life can’t be perfect and people have struggles, I just seem to have a lot of difficulties accepting mine.
That’s what it all boils down to. Acceptance. Accepting that I’m sick and that it has impact on my life. Accepting that things can go wrong and I cannot control it. Altough I wish to take full control of my life, it’s not always the case, and you know what, that’s fine. I’m a firm believer of the fact that everything happens for a reason and eventuelly you will find your way.
So I’m taking steps towards getting better, physically and mentally. It’s definitely not easy and I feel like I still have a long way to go, but at least it’s a beginning. I keep telling myself “whatever will be, will be” and that sort of soothes my mind. You cannot control everything that happens in life, but you can control your thought and feelings about those things. And from now on I choose to be happy, positive and optimistic.