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How My Husband's Text Messages Help Me With My IBD

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Some days it’s too hard.

Some days I wake up with Crohn’s disease and it takes everything in me to want to keep living. Sometimes every symptom is flaring up. I wake up and know today is going to be too long, the pain too unbearable. Some days I can’t make myself smile, and I can’t hide the feeling of drowning.

On days like today, I open a special file on my computer. I scroll through the images I keep there. Most of them are screenshots of messages my husband has sent to me, some of them are pictures and memes that he has sent me and I’ve saved. They’re words of encouragement, and I collect them like digital pieces of scrapbook paper. I cherish them. I look at them when I have days like today, where I have spent over an hour in the bathroom, and I’m in exceptional pain that’s aggravated by cramping from sitting. My legs are spasming, and the person I love most of all is struggling because he can’t make it stop.

He doesn’t know how much his words help me, or that I’ve held on to so many of them. Most of them are screenshots of messages he’s sent to me while I’m sitting on the toilet. They seem small all by themselves, but amassed into a collection, they keep me afloat. The words themselves, stitched together, create a raft of support when I’m about ready to cave.

In one message in particular, I had just been talking about how long it takes for me to clean and how frustrated I was about it – but that I would get them done. He sent me back:

K, Well no worries babe, only do what you can. My love for you isn’t dependent on the dishes being done, it’s unconditional.

I needed those words today just as much as I needed them the day he sent them to me. These words and all the other words he’s sent to me that I have saved. It’s hard to express just how much the small things actually mean. It’s the small things those of us with inflammatory bowel disease really need: The reassurance, the kindness, clarity and understanding. It shows us the unconditional love and support you have for us.

I have no idea why he felt the need to tell me these words when he did. There wasn’t any context, just sincerity. My only guess? He knew. He could sense I was crying from where I was. He knew what words would keep me from drowning in the swirling drink of sadness that lurks with chronic illness.

I fold all these words and put them in my heart’s pocket. I take them out and look at them until I remember how to breathe again.

And then I breathe.

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.

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Thinkstock Image By: Poike

Originally published: March 22, 2017
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