themighty logo

I Am Grateful I Have Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Who would have thought you could make some really great friends because you have a chronic illness?

Well that’s what has happened to me.

After months, maybe years of trying to be “normal,” I found myself in a room full of people who saw my struggle. I didn’t even have to say any words. Sometimes it’s enough to just sit back, watch, and listen.

I saw people just starting out on their journey and understood the struggles that will come.

I saw people who have struggled for years that have grown strong and they’re still getting stronger.

I saw people who can’t fight anymore, that want to give up because they are really, desperately tired.

I saw people who are a true inspiration and I know that they will make a difference in my life.

I feel lucky to have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). There, I said it. Had I not been ill I would never have come across these wonderful and inspiring people.

I would never have learnt who my true friends are, I would never have realized how much my family loves me. And, I’m pretty certain that had I not been ill, I would have continued to drink an unhealthy amount. God only knows where I would be now.

I have lost a lot of “friends” who resented my moaning, my letting them down because, “I just really don’t feel like it tonight.”

This doesn’t upset me, quite the opposite in fact. I have separated the wheat from the chaff so to speak, and it feels good. I know that the people that I make time for now are deserving of it and I am completely uninterested in those that aren’t. My mum says I’m rude, I just think I’m no fake and will not pretend to be interested in someone’s life when I’m really not.

It takes a lot for me to let people in now. This may be seen as a negative to some, but I believe that the people who really want to be in your life will stick around and keep hammering at those barriers until they are mere bumps in the road. In my mind, these are the people that have earned my loyalty.

The friends I have now may be few and far between but they are real.

Having been so ill and having been in so much pain makes me grateful for every day that I can physically get out of bed. It doesn’t matter how many painkillers I have to take to make it possible for me to get up and carry on. What matters is that I take them and I do it.

I am stronger now than I have ever been. I know what’s important and I know what isn’t. I know what I want and I won’t settle for anything less.

I had a “please wipe feet here” sign on my forehead for quite some time, but I have taken it down, incinerated it, and flushed the ashes down the toilet!

I have my faults, I know this. But, all-in-all, I am good person and knowing that makes me more confident in the decisions I make which in turn makes me happy.

Had I not been ill, I do not think I would have been as happy as I am now or as comfortable in my own skin. I wouldn’t have met the many people online that help me on a daily basis without even knowing it. For many years I felt like I was stranded and alone on an island, but now I have company.

I get up every day and I am grateful I can do that.

I go to work and I am grateful that I have a job.

On the way I wear my headphones and I sing like no one can hear me and I’m grateful that I am happy enough to do that.

I go to the shops on the way home and I am grateful that I can afford food.

I get home and I am grateful that I have one.

I log into Facebook, respond to a few notifications send a few texts and I am grateful for every person that is on the other end.

I get in the bath and I am grateful for my body.

I change my bag and I am grateful that for two months I have had no pain.

I dry my hair and I’m grateful it’s getting healthier.

I dance around the bedroom and I’m grateful that today, I have the energy.

I am grateful because I have IBD. Had I not been ill, it’s safe to say that I would still be a shit.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

Follow this journey on Social Media, IBD and Me.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock Image By: Mallivan