Bitterness, anger, frustration. All of these emotions are quite common among patients living with a chronic illness. Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are not immune to any of these. Between the many doctor’s appointments, tests, medications and the symptoms of the disease itself, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the negativity. I know because I’ve been there.
With the arrival of the springtime there’s a lot of talk about spring cleaning. Putting away our winter clothes, cleaning out our dressers, closets and drawers to make room for spring and summer wardrobe. And of course, we all talk about deep cleaning our houses. There’s something so satisfying about a fresh, clean home. But you need energy for all that. The energy that many disease-less people enjoy. Curse those healthy people and their taking their health for granted!!!
Becoming resentful of someone else’s ability to function like a normal human being is almost inevitable. It’s annoying and frustrating when the weather outside doesn’t match the pain and isolation that come with IBD. When the flowers begin to bloom and the trees turn green again, we long to enjoy the warm weather that comes with it. But so often many of us don’t feel well enough to even roll out of bed. And so the depression, anger and sadness begin to consume us, but it doesn’t have to.
Embracing the Positives
I came across a quote recently that really hit me. It was by an author, educator and pastor named Charles S. Swindoll. He said,
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. The remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.”
For our health, I truly believe in the importance of focusing on the positives in life and making the most of our situations. I’m not saying we should pretend we are ok. There are times when it’s DEFINITELY ok to not be ok. We need to acknowledge the hurt over what we’re missing. One of my favorite authors, Lemony Snicket, wrote, “…you know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.”
There’s Always Something
What I am saying is that we should not dwell on those things. There’s “always something,” as Lemony Snicket would also say. “This story is about the Baudelaires. And they are the sort of people who know that there’s always something. Something to invent, something to read, something to bite, and something to do, to make a sanctuary, no matter how small. And for this reason, I am happy to say, the Baudelaires were very fortunate indeed.”
With that, I would like to challenge each of you to do some emotional spring cleaning of your own. Really take a look at the things in your life and find your something. Find your sanctuary. It won’t be easy to find the good things in life, but I can promise you it will be worth it.