World IBD Day | Acceptance, Appreciation & Awareness
What does World IBD day mean to me?
World IBD day allows those who suffer from Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis to connect, share their stories and raise much-needed awareness. For me, World IBD Day means three things; Acceptance, Appreciation and Awareness.
It all started when I was 12 years old. After months of severe pain and time in the hospital, I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. In all honesty, I didn’t really understand that Crohn’s Disease would be a lifelong illness, I thought that after a few treatments I would be back to normal. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I spent the next year of my life in and out of hospital desperate trying to find something that helped my symptoms. I had tried everything from being fed through a Nasogastric tube (NG tube) for six weeks to injecting myself with Adalimumab every two weeks. I was desperate to be pain-free, I was desperate to be a kid again and to not be in pain anymore. Every day I suffered from crippling pain in my stomach that completely consumed me, I’m sure most of us IBD sufferers understand the kind of pain I’m talking about. Fortunately for me, I had surgery at the age of 13 to remove my large bowel and form an ostomy. My ostomy allowed me to finally be pain-free, it allowed me to be a kid again and it gave me my life back.
I found it extremely difficult to tell people outside of my circle about my illness. I felt as if I would be judged and made fun of. As a young child, we are always told that we are all individuals and that being unique is a good thing. However, as we get older, we get told to “be ourselves…. but not like that’’ or “you can do just about anything you want…but this is the right thing to do”. It’s hard to find yourself in a world that judges you for being unique or different. It took me a total of five years to finally pluck up the courage to share my story. In fact, I believe it was world IBD day 2015 where I told people about my journey. I remember how nervous I felt writing that post and sharing it, I remember all the negative thoughts going through my head as I pressed the post button. It isn’t easy putting your life on social media and sharing such as personal experience, but through doing that I managed to educate those who didn’t know about IBD, raise awareness and connect with so many inspiring people.
So, for me, World IBD day holds a special place in my heart. It encouraged me to finally share my story and connect with the IBD community. So, when I think of world IBD day I think of the following words:
World IBD day allows us to accept the fact that we have IBD and It allows us to accept ourselves as we are. When we accept ourselves, we put emphasis on our own well-being and joy. We’ll start to see our worth and we won’t care if others don’t recognise it, because we are part of a community that accepts and understands each other. We shouldn’t shy away from being who we are, our uniqueness shouldn’t limit us from life.
World IBD day allows us to appreciate and reflect on our journey. For me, I see my journey as a blessing in disguise. Because when you’re Sick you understand things that others don’t. You don’t take things for granted or dwell on things. Being sick makes you weak, being sick gives you insight and knowledge on life and it allows you to be a strong and grateful person.
World IBD day raises much-needed awareness for us sufferers. It’s a day to educate others about living with IBD and reach out to those who are still scared to share their story. I encourage you to share your story on world IBD day 2020. So many people who suffer from IBD (Including a close friend of mine) are still terrified to share their story and tell people that they have IBD. Your story could help them come out from their shell, it could help boost the confidence of someone who’s struggling and it could allow that person to be part of our inspiring community.
Sharing your journey isn’t going to be a stroll in the park, it may take time and a lot of courage. But I promise you, it’ll be worth it.
Over to you!