Getting someone to understand my chronic disease has been the biggest obstacle for me to overcome. I have asked myself this question many times in the past few years, but at the end of the day never came up with an answer. Truth is, no one is going to understand unless they have the disease themselves or have a close family member with the disease. Through this blog, I hope that people without chronic illnesses better understand the weight we carry on a daily basis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease itself.
The amount of times I have had to say “no” to functions is more than I can count on two hands. It can be extremely frustrating when you don’t feel your best. It can often make you feel as if you are a burden or a party pooper. This is why it is best to be transparent with your family and friends about how you are feeling. They won’t be able to support you if you don’t allow them to. Put aside the fear of being judged and do what’s best for you.
Over the weekend, I saw a skit that SNL did imitating a commercial for IBS medication. You can watch it here on YouTube. Obviously, none of the people acting in the skit understand how sensitive this topic is. The skit further stigmatizes an already very embarrassing condition that we do not have control over. It brings up past traumatic experiences for many people, including myself. While I tend to cope with my disease through humor, I was disappointed and frustrated that the writers thought this would come across as funny. I do agree that the actual commercials can be over-the-top, like this real Stelara commercial. Maybe if the writers went a different direction, it would have been better.
This SNL skit is a perfect example of lack of understanding. They portrayed an IBD/IBS patient’s worst nightmare and that is embarrassment in a public place. I understand that poop is not a good conversation starter, but it’s our job to make these types of conditions less stigmatized. By being transparent and sharing my story, I hope that others are able to not feel bad for me, but to empathize with me and understand that everyday is an uphill battle.
If I had not been willing to share my disease with my close family and friends, I do not think I would have as much support as I do today. I choose to surround myself with people that lift me up and respect me enough to accept the “no” answer when I can’t make it. I am blessed to have a great group of friends and family that exhibit these qualities. If there are people in your life who spread negativity, remove yourself from them. Life is too precious to be surrounding yourself with negative people.
I challenge you to share your story as well because you never know who you could be impacting along the way!