19 July 2014

When the 'sick' become 'the forgotten'

At what point do the 'sick' become 'the forgotten'??

This is a question I find myself asking today and so far I've come up with a few difference answers to this seemingly bizarre question. "what is she talking about" ...well let me explain.

What I enjoy most about blogging is having my own little space where I can write down whats on my mind. Sometime's this can be something funny or sometimes these thoughts can be pretty sad. Today I am in a state of bewilderment, a sort of 'not really sure how I feel' kind of day. If you're one of these people who have Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis and are of the attitude 'IBD is only a small part of me' or 'IBD wont get me down, I'll show who's boss' then great and all credit to you, you give me hope on my unhappy days....however this blog post is probably not for you.
Today's blog post if for the 'forgotten few", yes you! Home on your own not doing much while life is busy passing you by. Well what'dya know....me too :) I too have spent far too much time sitting around on my backside while the world has been busy passing on by without me getting stuck in. In complete honesty, I kind of didn't notice it was happening. I hardly ever know what day of the week it is, never know the time, nor do I count the days....everything is just one big kind of blur.

I find myself having fallen into a bit of an empty pit without even realizing I was in it. Which brings me back to my question 'at what point do the sick become the forgotten?' I'm sure many people who have a chronic illness will have experienced how quiet your mobile phone can get, or how people slowly over time just stop turning up at your front door. Its hard not to feel like I have been forgotten.

No one calls....no one. I know life can be pretty busy for most but unless I pick up the phone...no one calls.
Where do all of my friends think I've gone? Do all of these people think I am sitting on a sun lounger having the time of my life? I don't get it. These people are people I have relied on for the last 10 years, some are my dearest friends....yet still...no one calls. A side to chronic illness that people often forget to mention is that it can be incredibly lonely, day in, day out, just you by yourself trying to tackle this huge mountain ahead of you.

Letting go...I have learnt to let go since becoming unwell. Take my advice when I say you will learn who your true friends are and who are the ones who just take up your time.

All of my family and friends are currently out and about in the big world while I'm sat here taking some 'me' time. Regrouping, dusting myself down and preparing to throw myself head first straight back into the rat race so to speak. 5 years is a long time to have lived a relentless battle every single day with such a life changing illness as Inflammatory Bowel Disease but I'm sure this is also a similar case with other illnesses.

Not only have friends forgotten about me...I find I've somewhat forgotten myself. Over the last few months I have gradually lost interest in ME. I can go for days sitting in my pajamas without giving a care to getting dressed. I've not put a brush through my hair or even looked in a mirror- 'whats the point, I'm not going anywhere anyway' or maybe due to extreme fatigue. Somewhere along the line I feel like I have lost the energetic woman who loved life. Granted, the person I am today and the person I was 5 years ago are worlds apart. Whilst some of my old qualities have vanished over time, these are now replaced with even better ones. It's an everyday process but it's hard not to feel a little lost and confused ...which makes it far too easy to forget YOU. Who are YOU?? Who is that person that you find yourself being today?

I find myself just 'existing' because for now...that's all the strength I have.

10 July 2014

To inspire...

I can not emphasize how relevant this statement is to my life!

Back in December 2013 - some 7 months ago now, I was perusing an online IBD forum when I stumbled upon a post from a wonderful guy named Michael. Michael, as I have mentioned before had posted to an IBD forum telling everyone about how he had started a blog about his journey with Ulcerative Colitis. He was using the blog as a way to document his journey after having his first surgery and adjusting to life with an ostomy. If you fancy reading Michael's blog then scroll back up later and CLICK HERE. When I first clicked onto his blog link never would I have imagined the impact it would have had on my own life and my own journey with the same illness Ulcerative Colitis. As I read his blog posts I could relate to everything he was saying, though our paths with IBD were very different. I would sit in the background eagerly waiting for his next post - which is how my blogging experience began. I was inspired by Michael to create my own blog without giving it much thought as to how things would pan out. As I write this now, know that I am some months into a frustrating battle with Anxiety which has kept me at home far longer than I would ever have liked. So I began my blog as a way to pass the time and give my brain something to focus on.

Now 7 months on, where am I and how have things changed? 

Crikey I'm not making these questions easy for myself am I haha! 7 months on I find myself catapulted into the limelight; my once quiet blog is now a key part within the IBD community in our attempt to raise awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Today I find myself a blogger, a fundraiser and a campaigner, all of which took me rather by surprise. I have made SOOO many wonderful friends that I am so thankful for. These are people who just 'get it' they understand every emotion I feel in the ongoing battle with my illness. No questions or queries are off limits. They are the shining light on my darkest of days. They are my support and they are my online world! Okay, getting too sloppy...back to the point of this post.

One person can make a difference....and everyone should try!!
When I began my journey to becoming an IBD advocate I had nooooo idea the impact my actions would have on a whole community of extraordinary people. The #GetYourBellyOut awareness campaign is somewhere around 3 months old now and has changed my whole outlook on my illness. When I began blogging I had hit an emotional brick wall, up until then I had done really well dealing with my diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis. However I was at a really low point where all I could do was cry my eyes out and think things such as 'why me' 'I want my life back' 'I am so trodden down with my illness, give me a break!!' - To be completely honest...I'm not sure what would have become of me had I not had the support I received from the whole IBD community.

I used to be shy and a little timid when it came to discussing my illness - not anymore!!
The #GetYourBellyOut awareness campaign changed my life. As each person uploaded a photo of their belly to all the different social media sites I became empowered, I became brave, I was inspired and today I stand stronger than ever.
Once upon a time I carried around a 'secret' that only those closest to me knew, this has now been replaced by a feeling of freedom, as through the campaign I found the strength I needed. Due to the campaign I let the whole world into my world of living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Tricky though it may be at times to discuss, I will not look back!!
I am now open, I am honest and I will discuss Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis until the cows come home!

Michael changed my world, blogging changed my world and everyone who has thus far joined the #GetYourBellyOut awareness campaign have changed my world!!
We have a really long way to go before we reach our goal of making Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis household names but I sense we are well on our way!
Therefore I will leave you with my final thought.....

3 July 2014

Buy #GetYourBellyOut merchandise!

#GetYourBellyOut's ever expanding range of merchandise is now available via the campaigns official website www.GetYourBellyOut.org.uk/shop
Choose from wrist bands, car stickers, key rings, badges, cotton bags and pens!

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