Grieving and IBD

I have been a mess for the past week or so. I can’t seem to stop crying, I’m barely sleeping and my migraines are a lot worse. I just feel like one giant overwhelmed stress ball. I had an appointment with my psychologist today because I seriously thought there was something wrong with me. I have been teary eyed in her office one time but today, as soon as the door was closed I burst into tears. I then began telling her everything that I was feeling and thinking along with what the past week has been like for me. She told me what my issue was with one sentence which was “You are just grieving.”

She was right. I am just grieving. This year was a horrible year in some ways but it was also life changing in others. The year started out with the death of an amazing man in my life. It was then followed by months of steroid injections at my stoma site. Following that, I admitted myself to a hospital because my panic attacks were becoming increasingly severe. I felt better after that and connected with some fellow IBDers, participated in Get Your Guts in Gear and things have been fairly positive from then on. However, I was so overwhelmed with everything that was going on with me in that moment, I never had any time to mourn me and the person I was. I also never had time to mourn Brian, the man who was taken from me far too early.

This concept of grieving when it comes to my life is one that I am pretty familiar with but don’t believe I have ever had enough stability in my health to allow for it. I mentioned in a previous post how it is beyond difficult to deal with physical issues and emotional at the same time. I think what has happened over the past 12 years was that I was being hit hard physically nonstop, day after day, month after month, year after year that I haven’t had any time to mourn the loss of who I was. I never was able to mourn the loss of my colon and what that represented (normalcy). I never was able to mourn the loss of my Jpouch. I was never able to mourn the loss over the person I was before I got sick. I was never able to mourn the loss of the many body alterations I have had to go through. I have just been unable to grieve and go through the stages of grief.

I was lucky that I was able to see my psychologist today. I really needed to talk to her because I knew there was something just not right with me. It was really helpful for me to understand what was going on inside of me. I do feel like I know myself very well but sometimes I get so overwhelmed it is hard for me to pinpoint exactly what is going on in my psyche.

For those of us with IBD (crohns disease and ulcerative colitis) or any other chronic illness, I think we all need to go through the stages of mourning at some point in our lives. It is so important to recognize that it is okay to feel like that. It is okay to feel so overwhelmed and need to just let it all out and cry. It is difficult to keep it all inside (hence the name of my blog). All of the things we go through as patients is really hard. Allow yourself time to grieve and time to heal. It is okay. I always thought there was something wrong with me but I am here to tell you there is NOT. I would honestly say there is something a bit wrong with you if you don’t have some kind of emotional reaction to the loss of the life you once had.

Tonight I am going to take a deep breath and try to relax for the first time in over a week. Try to do the same… even if you are going through some emotional turmoil of your own.

  • Jodi

    Powerful words from a very wise young woman. I am glad your counselor is there for you.

  • Sherri

    Keep taking care of you and we will do our best to help you take care of you, one day at a time. And since you said this in one of your blogs, listen to Momswho knows best…’time is a wonderful healer”….. Love you my GF…<3

  • A Guy With Crohn’s

    Grieving is never easy. Doing it over a loved one and losing who we are in the same year is really tough… I know. I have to say kudos because you recognized there is a problem and you sought out help. That is something I regret not doing. Just know that you are strong person and you have a lot of support behind you.

    • rissy26

      Thank you SO much Jeffrey. I really appreciate everything you said. Makes me feel good to have people who truly “get it” and how difficult it all is. And who understand how it is all a process : )

  • Fran

    I know it sounds gross, but I always thought of grief as throwing up….you have to get it up and out…and you always feel better and can rest. You have a lot in there…let it out. I have no doubt you can handle it…you are strong. Love you.

    • rissy26

      Makes a lot of sense. I always say I need to expunge all of my emotions and feelings in order for me to be able to start to move forward…same kind of thing. Thank you Fran, love you

  • celeste

    Your honest words are coming at a good time for me. I have been a mess and not recognizing it until today. I too need to just be. Sit and calm the hell down. I can feel the difference in my gut when I remember that it does matter how I choose to deal with life. Thank you for sharing what you did. It’s helpful.

    • rissy26

      I am so sorry you have been struggling but I am glad I can help in a small way. I always use the words “I need to calm the hell down.” It sounds simple…but so difficult sometimes. If you ever want to talk, please reach out Thinking of you xoxo

  • Amanda Brooke

    You have come so far.
    And in three days, we can take a part of our journey together.
    i love you

    • rissy26

      love you A…2 days!