This past year has been one of enormous growth for me because I have finally been able to come out of my shell and embrace this wonderful community. I no longer feel like I am the only one who experiences feelings of guilt and anxiety about my illness. I understand that my emotions will come in waves. But most importantly, I now feel like I have a support system that goes beyond my parents.
One of the things that has always scared me to death, and still does, is something happening to my parents. I always thought it was because I am so dependent on them and in a lot of ways that is true. The other night I was doing some writing privately and it was then that I realized how I always felt like my parents were the only ones who could possibly have any idea what I had experienced because they went through it with me.
I think a part of me needs to come to grips with the fact that it is possible for other people in my life to understand me, and be there for me too. This is an extremely hard concept for me since I may be able to be open with other people and let my guard down with some of the friends in my life who have become like family to me, but I have never been at my “worst” with anyone besides my mom and dad.
And that is a scary thing for me.
What if my worst is too much for someone to handle? What if the only people who can stand to be around me at that point are my parents? What if I won’t be accepted by others if I REALLY let my guard down?
Those are just some of the questions that go through my mind at times. It is part of the reason that it has always been easier for me to put on a phony face for so long. I never wanted to be looked at as a downer or viewed in any kind of negative light. I always wanted to seem together and not burden anyone with my problems. So when things got tough for me, it was always easier to withdraw from the rest of the world.
But what I have come to understand through these past few months especially is that the right people won’t walk away. The right people won’t care what you are like at your worst because they will understand where it comes from and be there to support you regardless.
I think this is difficult for a lot of people who suffer from an illness like ulcerative colitis or crohn’s disease where there is just so much we feel we need to hide. There are embarrassing physical components and then when you layer on emotions… YIKES! I just wanted to bring this up today because it is something I have been struggling with for many years and continue to today. It does get easier though. It is just a process, like everything else.