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How to Deal with the Bad Days

It’s okay not to be okay. This is so important to remember, even more so with World Mental Health Day being Thursday 10th October 2019.

We all get bad days as human beings. For people with physical illnesses, as well as mental, these bad days can be more frequent and range in severity. Everyone is different and bad days are not a “one size fits all” thing.

I would be lying and sugar coating it if I said that having an ostomy doesn’t come with bad days. After my surgery in 2011, I had amazingly good days where I felt free of pain & suddenly open to a life ahead of me I could only have dreamed of before. I also had extremely bad days. Without going into lots of detail, I can say that at the time I would have been quite happy to not exist anymore & there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel. It does get better.

Fast forward over 8 years & I can tell you I still get bad days and weeks, each varying in severity. A lot of things can cause bad days including other factors in our lives that can impact us and compound together and really get on top of us. I am so thankful for my ostomy because without it I wouldn’t be here. It is still tough. Sometimes I want to just be ostomy free for a day or “normal”, whatever normal is anyway nowadays?! It is completely okay to feel that way & learning to not feel guilty for that or mad at myself has been key to those bad periods not lasting so long. Having an ostomy can almost be like grieving for something that is missing, such as if you were missing another body part. That process can be tough, but it is important to remember that it will get better & to surround yourself with people who can help build you up, not hinder your progress (where possible).

In those times, I have had to learn to listen to my body. I am still learning this & trying to achieve a balance as much as I can between my physical and mental health. I have a counselor who I see private fortnightly. Counselling sessions are heavy but talking definitely helps. Sometimes, with the best will in the world, people who haven’t been through what you have (such as family and friends) won’t understand or know what to say. It’s important to remember that just because someone doesn’t know what to say, it doesn’t mean they don’t care. I find having a counselor hugely beneficial as it is where I can get things off my chest to someone impartial and emotionally disconnected. Within reason, I can say what makes me mad and swear if I need to without having to worry about how to say it otherwise or how they might feel.

I find that increasing self care is vital on the bad days & learning to be gentle with yourself. I wrote a post on my blog about this here.

A few pieces of advice I would give to help deal with the bad days are:

  1. Fresh air! – As tempting as it is to just hide away, 99.9% of the time I find this doesn’t help me. Getting out for a 10 minute walk or sitting on the doorstep with a cup of tea can work wonders. If you don’t fancy this, try opening the bedroom curtains & windows & getting some fresh air that way.
  2. Shower – When basic self-care goes out the window, it really is important to try & wash. Even just a quick shower can help you feel a little better, followed by getting into a fresh pair of pyjamas.
  3. Make sure you eat & drink – I can find this very hard but if I don’t my ostomy gets out of a routine for knowing roughly when it needs to process my food each day & I find discomfort & wind increases.

And of course, there are always plenty of funny videos on the internet or videos of cute animals to go to!

Some say that our heartbeats are up and down when we see them on a heart monitor for a reason in the sense that they reflect the ups and downs in our lives. The same goes with recovery or healing… the process is not linear. 

It is so important to remember that bad days don’t last. Whether it seems it or not, things will get better. Lean on those close to you & don’t be ashamed to speak to a doctor. Reach out online via many ostomy support groups also if you don’t physically feel like speaking. You are never alone

 Amy

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You can find Amy’s blog here

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