Having Crohn’s has taught me what matters most in life. It’s taught me how to connect with my inner strength. It’s taught me how to sacrifice what I want now for what I want more in the future. It’s taught me how to accept what was, what is and what is to come. It’s taught me how to be grateful for the life I’ve lived and how to look forward to the journey ahead. Most importantly, it’s taught me how to prioritize myself.
When everyone was discouraging me from making different choices for my life, Jesse was always there to encourage me to live my own life and make my own mistakes. Knowing he was just a text or call away gave me so much strength and courage to confront the world.
This experience has negatively impacted every aspect of my life. My physical and mental health have suffered. I felt (and still feel) traumatized and furious that this happened to me.
Tara claims, “Radical Acceptance is the willingness to experience ourselves and our life as it is.” I became willing to experience it all fully without the façade and that’s when my life really began to change for the better.
“Expression is the opposite of depression,” Dr. Eger claims. As depression rates continue to climb, we need to put an emphasis on expression. Too many people suffer in silence, slowly being eaten away by the past.
Dr. van der Kolk stated, “The bodies of child-abuse victims are tense and defensive until they find a way to relax and feel safe.” When I started trying to take better care of myself, I decided to get a massage. The first time, and several after to be honest, were not very pleasant or relaxing. I would often still feel just as tense or even more so when it was over. The masseuse would keep saying, “You can relax now,” and I would be so confused because I thought I was relaxed.
The more I called bullshit on negative thought patterns, the more my health improved. The more I started consciously deciding what to think, the more my life improved.
A lot of assumptions are hurled at only children. People just assume you’re a spoiled brat who has been handed everything you could ever want in life. They just assume things were calm and peaceful in your household because it was just you and your parents must have been so attentive to your every whim. They assume you’re socially awkward and don’t know how to make friends or interact with people. They assume you’re still spoiled as an adult and have always had a great support system. That was not my experience whatsoever.
Today, I’m so grateful for my disease and the constant struggles it has brought into my life. I’m stronger than Crohn’s disease and it took going through hell for me to realize that for myself. Now I use what I have learned through the many hardships and tough lessons I’ve experienced throughout my life to help others find a way out of the darkness.
Frankl survived the Nazi concentration camps and fulfilled his destiny. He completed his work on Logotherapy, which focuses on the future, the meanings each person is to fulfill. These meanings can change over time. Frankl writes, “What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.”