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Things to do when you’re feeling defeated by inflammatory bowel disease

Living well with the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis consists of a lot of trial and error.

Finding your perfect treatment and lifestyle combination is like putting together a puzzle. Finding a piece that fits is exciting, but sometimes it feels like you try piece after piece that does not fit.

A few of these “puzzle pieces” are:

  • finding a treatment plan that works long term
  • figuring out the best diet for you
  • connecting with a doctor who listens to you
  • cultivating a supportive group of friends
  • identifying exercise that energizes you and feels good

Sometimes, you might feel like you want to give up when all your energy is going into figuring out this puzzle. If you’re at that point, these practices may help.

Express your emotions

If you find yourself saying you’re “fine” when you’re not and never addressing the mental or physical toll your condition has on you, you might be suppressing your emotions.

This is common for anyone living with a chronic illness, since we learn to live through the hard days while trying to go through life normally.

Instead of ignoring these emotional cues, try:

  • spending time alone and having a good, long cry
  • listening and dancing to music that fits your mood
  • writing everything down that you are feeling (the good, the bad, and the ugly)
  • seeking out a professional counselor to work through frustration and trauma you may be holding onto

Expressing emotions is different from dwelling or complaining and is a normal, healthy part of being human. Check in with yourself: Are you bottling emotions and feelings or allowing yourself time and space to let them out?

Make lists

Whether you love making lists for every little thing in life or you’re a bit more spontaneous, lists are helpful when you feel like you’ve exhausted all options when it comes to your health.

Try making lists of:

  • all the good things you are doing for your body and mind already
  • new things you can incorporate into your life that you haven’t tried, but are interested in
  • people you can reach out to for support
  • books, podcasts, and websites to check out that might hold useful information for you
  • big and little things you are grateful for

Keep these on your fridge or tacked on a bulletin board. These reminders of tangible tips can be grounding when you feel lost and overwhelmed.

Read full 5 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Defeated by Inflammatory Bowel Disease by Alexa Federico.

Posted on: December 7 2020

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