If I were to walk up to you on the street and ask you if I look normal, chances are you'd say yes. When I tell people how sick I actually am, the look at me like I'm crazy and say in astonishment, "you don't look sick." I try very hard not to look sick and enjoy looking nice, but why do I feel like I have to try so hard not to look sick. The answer is, life is easier if people don't know the details of my disease or how bad I actually feel. If I were to show you how bad I feel, it would make you feel uncomfortable, so instead I put on a smile and my makeup and face each day as if I weren't constantly battling a disease.
I am sick of the stigmas associated with Crohn's disease and colitis. Why is it okay for people to talk about vomit, but if you talk about pooping everyone looks at you like you are an alien. News flash, everyone poops. In fact if you don't poop there is probably something wrong with you. So why do peoole pretend they don't poop? Why do others make me feel ashamed of my symptoms and why do I feel forced to hide what my body is doing?
Society has made it hard for those who suffer from IBD. As if it isn't hard enough to deal with living with Crohns Disease, I have to hide my symptoms from others or feel judged. Those with cancer aren't stigmatized and forced to hide their afflictions, in fact those with cancer who are fighting it are celebrated as a hero! So why can't those with Crohns Disease be celebrated as survivors and champions? Everyone who suffers from a debilitating disease deserves recognition for everything they have to deal with. With IBD everyday is a struggle a constant fight, but not many people know about my fight and even fewer know the details of my struggle. This isn't because I'm ashamed of my disease, because I truly believe my Crohns makes me a stronger person. The reason I often do not feel free to share the details is because others act uncomfortable when I share the details of my disease. They ask how I'm feeling, but if I were to truly tell them how I feel and what I deal with they would look at me like I had grown a third eye.
I no longer want to feel ashamed of my symptoms and I want to feel free to share what I'm going through with others, but how does this happen. It happens when people begin to raise awarness for IBD. As society becomes more educated about the effects of IBD on the body, the stigmas will begin to disappear. Similarly, I encourage anyone with IBD or any other disease to share their story. If we begin to put a face with IBD people will begin to associate it with real people. So I charge you to consider your own thoughts and actions concerning IBD. If you don't understand IBD, make an effort to understand it, rather then assuming that anyone different from you is weird. Lets begin breaking the stigma, educating others and putting a face with IBD now by sharing this blog, sending it to your friend and encourage others to learn more about IBD. I want to live in a world were people feel free to share their story with IBD and don't feel like they have to hide away to avoid judgement.
I may look normal and act normal, but the truth is, I'm not normal. I don't live a normal life and probably never will but I want to be able to share my abnormalness with you. So I challenge you, BE PART OF THE CHANGE and let me share with you, my not so normal life.