Being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the young age of 22 was a blessing in disguise. Not because I was young and healthy and able to heal from flares quickly. I’m pretty sure you take a royal butt-kicking during a flare no matter what age you are. But because of the way I didn’t let it get in the way of anything I wanted to do. That type of naive thinking came in handy for a few years until I got older and started acting like someone who suffers from Crohn’s Disease. Then everything went downhill.
How I Cope With Crohn's
I can’t say that living with Crohn’s Disease for the past decade hasn’t taken its toll on me. But what I have learned is that state of mind is just as important as what you eat. Sometimes I get so sick of thinking about food and what diet I need to be following. I want to get back to when my mind was free and I didn’t worry so much about every little detail. For those of you without Crohn’s Disease, those details include things like: Did I pack the food that I need to eat today? Where’s the nearest bathroom? Does that have cheese in it? How long is the car ride to this place? Did I pack a spare pair of underwear in my purse just in case? Can you tell I’m wearing an adult diaper? And so on.
It’s not very realistic of me to recommend that to treat a Crohn’s Disease flare you need to throw away all that daily planning and worrying you do. But I can tell you that I’ve been practicing my “don’t worry about it” attitude and it works. Basically, I stopped obsessing about food so much. And wouldn’t you know it’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I still follow a few strict rules that I know are sensitive to me (no dairy, processed sugar, gluten, etc.). But instead of thinking about what I’m going to eat all day, I’m out living. Not like a free-spirited 22 year old, but more like a slightly cautious 30-something that prefers to be preoccupied with things other than food.
Maybe the thing to do when you care too much is to learn how to care less. This may come after years of frustration or days after being given a diagnosis you don’t want to believe. All I know is that when I live like I don’t have Crohn’s Disease, I feel like I’m 22 again.