How I Experienced Anger in a New Way When Diagnosed With Crohn's
Since being diagnosed, there is one emotion I have experienced that has surprised me the most out of all the emotions on this roller coaster ride. That emotion is anger.
I have never been an angry person. I’m usually always pretty positive and happy. Even when I’m having a bad day, my first inclination is towards sadness, not anger. It really takes a lot for me to get to the point where I am angry. I very much consider myself an introvert, so I tend to bottle things up and then I need to let it out every so often. Blow off some steam. Not gonna lie to you – that is where curse words can be therapeutic! A lot of you may not understand that, and that’s OK. But it has always been quite a therapeutic tool for me. And when you are in a flare, you gotta curse at something. It’s just how it is.
One thing I have always been hard on myself. I hold myself to unreasonably high standards. I’m a perfectionist in certain aspects of my life. I always tend to beat myself up first before assuming anyone else is to blame. Needless to say, when I was diagnosed back in 2015 and I started experiencing this very real anger inside myself… I didn’t know what to do. It was very new to me – and it felt unhealthy. I was worried about what was going on with me. I was ashamed that I couldn’t put myself above it or let go of it easily. I expected better of myself. I did not like it and that made the anger even worse. Anger is not something I happily invite into my life, but apparently it was something I needed to go through at the time.
What do I mean when I say “anger?” I mean I was angry at myself and blaming myself for everything that was wrong in my life.
Why didn’t I do things differently? How could I have stopped this from happening? Did I make bad choices and this is karma biting me in the butt? Do I deserve this?? I forgot to take my pills! I can’t do anything right! Why do I suck at life??
I was just angry that I had to deal with this disease in the first place. I didn’t want it.
It didn’t stop there. I was angry at the outside world too. Here I thought I was dying and no one seemed to really notice or even care. How dare the earth keep spinning.
The world stops for no one and everyones lives kept going forward, while it felt like mine had come to a halt. People were having babies, getting married, buying houses, getting new jobs. The list goes on, while I felt stuck in a medical trap. How was I supposed to move forward ever again? I would never have a “normal” life again. It didn’t seem fair that everyone else got to just go about their daily lives like normal, like nothing even happened. I felt like all the people around me were taking the simple things in life for granted. They are lucky and they don’t realize how blessed they are to be healthy. I was angry at the world.
Sometimes the emotions would literally surge through me and I would have to physically let it out. I’d want to punch a pillow or just throw something across the room. However, I would usually just tighten my muscles, mainly the legs and feet. Sometimes I’d ball up my fists really tight too.I would tense them up as hard as I could and then release the tension. Usually followed by teary eyes and a very audible “RRRRrrrrrrrr” sound out of frustration.
Loss of control at its finest.
One night I’d just had enough. A ton of little things had been going wrong all day. I was at my breaking point and then I received a text message from family. They were very blatantly giving me a guilt trip, because I wasn’t doing what they wanted me to do. That was the final straw. I actually smashed a small nightstand to pieces in the basement.
I was completely ashamed of my behavior, but I felt better getting that bad energy out of me. Afterward, I just curled up in a ball in the corner and cried. My husband just quietly came downstairs to the basement to see if I was OK, and then grabbed a broom and dustpan. He cleaned up the mess. Once he saw I had calmed down he said, “Ya know, if you didn’t like the table you could have just said so.” Of course I laughed with tears and mascara running down my face as we hugged it out.
Looking back now, I know it was just a part of the process. I was grieving. My entire life had just changed and I didn’t have one bit of say in the matter. Old Jana’s life was gone. This new Jana was being re-born and she had to figure out what was going on. What was this going to mean? How exactly was my life changing? And that is all something that just has to be figured out as you go. Especially since this disease effects everyone differently. But I can say with certainty that I never in a million years thought that I’d see myself go through anger like that. It’s amazing what this disease will bring out in us. Just know that you are human, and it’s only normal to have an emotional reaction to a big life change like a Crohn’s disease diagnosis.
I sought professional help when I felt things got too hard emotionally. I was in therapy to work through a lot of the feelings like this that came up during my diagnosis. If you experience anything similar to what I have mentioned in this blog post, I strongly recommend seeing a medical professional and/or mental health professional. You don’t have to do this alone, and you shouldn’t. You deserve a better quality of life.
What is the most surprising emotion that you have experienced during your diagnosis?
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