As someone with IBD, I find it hard to trust my gut. By this, I don’t mean trusting my instincts. I mean trusting that my gut will behave on a daily basis. One thing I have always struggled with as someone who has ulcerative colitis is the unpredictability of the disease. I could feel really good one day, and terrible the next. So how do we as patients of IBD learn to trust our gut?
I think a big part of having IBD is learning to go with the flow. I have to admit that I am a planner and I like to know every detail about everything before I make a decision. This can be considered a flaw because it brings about feelings of worry and anxiety that don’t really need to be there. Trust me, I am the queen of anxiety. This is one thing that I am choosing to work on because I do want to free up space in my mind for the things that really matter, it just takes a little bit of time and effort.
The unpredictability of this disease doesn’t always have to be negative. Something I have learned over the past three years is that I am more familiar with my body than I have ever been before. I’ve learned to listen to what my body needs – know when it needs rest, know when to eat, know what to eat, when to exercise, etc. I actually started this blog in the hopes that I could help others understand their bodies better and how to properly take care of themselves. The awareness that I have gained for my body was unexpected, but something that I am truly grateful for.
Sometimes thinking back on things is a mistake arising out of pride, but I guess you live inside a moment for years, move with it and feel it grow, and it sends out roots until it touches everything in sight.Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin
It can be easy to fall into the trap of regret, fear, worry, or anxiety when faced with the uncertainty of this disease. There have been many times where I remember what it was like before I was diagnosed – the times where I never had to worry about my body self-destructing. It’s hard not to miss those times, but I also remember that I can’t change it. That’s why I love the quote above from Colum McCann. I replay that day I was diagnosed in my head all the time, but over the years I have moved with it and felt myself grow in ways I never imagined. Now IBD is a part of my life, my roots, and I choose to share those roots with you in the hopes that I can bring awareness to this debilitating disease.
Getting caught up in the past doesn’t serve anyone well. Each day I ask myself, “What can I do today that will set me up for success tomorrow?” Staying in the present moment and listening to my body has allowed me to feel a sense of freedom in my disease journey. While it’s not quite that easy to adopt these practices, they are things that I am always considering and actively working towards. I strive to free myself from the chains of chronic illness because I don’t want to live my life tied down or make decisions out of fear. So here’s to me breaking myself free from what chronic illness defines me as and learning to trust my gut. I hope you can do the same.
How have you learned to trust your gut?