When you are young, it is your chance to go crazy, act wild and generally be out of control. But for those of us who suffered from crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis during those very formative years, the odds are you had to grow up differently.
Being diagnosed with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) at the age of 13 caused me to do everything humanly possible to grasp onto anything stable in my life. I had absolutely zero interest in anything the least bit crazy because the unpredictability that became my life following my ulcerative colitis diagnosis forced me to seek enormous comfort in the known.
As I think about my teenage years, I remember highlights, too many emotions, and an enormous amount of fighting. Having an ileostomy for three years and being so hell bent on no one except for my best friend at the time finding out about it, made very little time for me to “go crazy” as a teen. Prior to my senior year of high school I hadn’t taken a sip of alcohol – which for some people may seem like no big deal but it was where I went to school.
Following high school, I spent five and a half years trying to graduate college. I definitely had a lot of fun, went to parties and hung out with friends but still never felt the need to rebel against my parents (even though I was living at home while in school). I just didn’t have that mentality.
I honestly can only think of one situation where I truly acted out and there was about a billion reasons for it that still all boiled down to my needing stability. It was just the wrong kind for me, thus making it crazy in my own way.
I have thought about this a lot over the years but not in any great depth. I don’t believe my psyche will allow me to dig any deeper because it truly saddens me in a way. I feel like I missed out on so much. But then again when I really stop to think about it, I am who I am now.
I do believe that those of us who have suffered from any type of chronic illness at a young age are impacted in this way. And for some people the lack of being able to have the time to experiment and figure out who you are, what you want to be and/or make mistakes, can cause issues later in life. Or, a person may feel the need to exhibit these types of developmental behaviors at some point down the line once his/her health is more stable.
It really depends on the person and situation.