Dear Stress…let’s break up! This is one of my favorite quotes. I found this quote in a magazine a couple of years ago when I was making a vision board and it seemed appropriate. I have let stress rule most of my life, sometimes without even knowing it. The scary thing about stress is that our bodies know way before our minds do that we are overwhelmed, causing our bodies to react in negative ways whether that be a headache, lack of energy, nausea, breakouts, sudden outbursts of tears, or in my case chronic illness!
The exact cause of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are not entirely known, but we do know that some combination of abnormal immune response, the environment, genetics and the microbiome all play a role in the development of the disease. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation has great videos to help explain the difference between Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and who is most affected. Most people have never heard of these diseases or just do not know what they entail. Explaining it can be a bit difficult and embarrassing at times, so I encourage you to read more about it.
In my case, both genetics and environmental factors played a role in the development of my ulcerative colitis. My uncle also has ulcerative colitis and was diagnosed around the same age that I was. Before my diagnosis, I was under extreme stress and did not even realize it. I was a busy undergraduate student, working, and planning a study abroad trip all at the same time. Before I traveled to Spain in the summer of 2018, I developed shingles on my face and scalp. I know…how does a 20 year old get shingles?! STRESS! You can read all about it in my blog post from May 2018. I already knew that I had a bad immune system, but getting shingles was a wake-up call that I needed to take a break. It was not until I returned from Spain that I began to show more severe symptoms that eventually led to my diagnosis.
I am so thankful for this past year and having the opportunity to relax in the comfort of my home. I have made the most positive progress in my disease this past year and can finally live a semi-normal life. The reason I made so much progress is because I set aside time for myself to destress through the tactics that I have already talked about on this blog and will continue to talk about in the future.
The journey is never over and it takes constant, daily work, but at least progress is being made and that is all that matters my friends! One day at a time. You can do this. I also included one of my favorite tweets here with a really strong message for all you hard-workers out there like me. Self-care is the best way to success…remember that!
I challenge you to take a minute today to put away all your electronics, close your eyes, and be present in this moment. How do you feel?