Don't let your Crohn's win. Beat the Crohn's.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Find Autonomy through Depends


We all strive for this - the ability to choose what we do and when we do so.

I have always reasoned that I changed myself for myself, not for my Crohn's disease. Changing my diet to eating healthier and exercising everyday, I did that to feel better, not because my disease took control of my body. I chose to take the necessary steps to feel better and to live a more fulfilling life.

The past nine months have tested my ability to find happiness within a flare-up. From a summer of a liquid/soft diet to no longer running due to my constant need for a bathroom, Crohn's disease has tested my positivity, and definitely gotten the best of me at times. After 11 years of telling myself that my disease will never dictate my life, I am forced to buy depends.

Since my diagnosis I have always considered myself fortunate enough to rarely have an accident. I have found some interesting objects to use as a bathroom, but the point is that I usually save myself from the need of changing clothes.

This last month has taxed my patience with Crohn's. Weeks have passed since I have had bowel movements in the single digits throughout a day. My activities must involve nearby restrooms, just in case. I am too scared to run because the jostling will cause my bowels to become angry.

The decision to wear depends has been long and difficult. For whatever reason, I have continuously told myself that as long as I can make it to the bathroom, I have successfully kept autonomy even with a chronic illness.

Thinking about how I have lived this last month, I think that wearing them will help me regain control. Although I will still try my hardest to make it to the bathroom, I will no longer have restrictions to stay close to the bathroom. I will run again and have no fears about going for walks.

For many people managing Inflammatory Bowel Disease, having an accident can make the most significant negative impact on a person's life. Most people associate an uncontrolled bowel as someone who cannot truly live life. I am not proud of my need for depends, but I will not be ashamed that they will make my life easier.

The most important lesson I have taken from this decision concerns openness about your situation. I am fortunate enough to have a supportive boyfriend that will go with me to the store to buy my first set and has lifted me up through this difficult decision. My friends at school have helped me through the rough periods and provide constant encouragement. This is not something a person should keep to themselves to save face. No one should feel shame for using something that will make their disease more manageable.