The last 7 days have not been ideal. I have been the perfect cliché of an IBD sufferer; keeping up appearances and a social life, whilst also dealing with a multitude of health implications that have left me feeling less than amicable. Living in this way is a genuine struggle, but one that can often be put into perspective – yet tonight, I am finding myself being the epitome of ‘at breaking point’.
In December I was put onto 40mg of Prednisolone (a corticosteroid) a day. As with most steroid courses, this is to be tapered off by 5mg every week – in effect, I started taking 8 tablets a day for a week, and each Saturday I was able to take one less. Magical. As I am writing this, I have recently (finally) come down to 5mg a day (1 tablet a day – thank God). This is in addition to 6 x 800mg tablets of Asacol (Mesalamine, an anti-inflammatory), 2 x Adcal-D3 (Calcium, Vitamin D) in conjunction with a cocktail of Omega-3, Activated Charcoal and Hair & Nail supplements.
Taking so much medication becomes laborious, but you adapt. The hard bit, are the side effects. With Prednisolone, you become burdened with insomnia, weight-gain and fatigue. Your face will swell like a balloon and hurt in the process of doing so. You will lie awake all night, never nodding off, yet be expected to function as normal with a smile on your face the next day by the World. As if that’s not tricky enough to juggle, it’s likely you’ll be plagued with constant headaches – whether that’s from the lack of sleep or chemicals in the medication is still a mystery to me. As a 24 year old girl with a Fashion Degree and insufferable vanity, watching your body change and suffer is destructive – you will feel the burden both emotionally, physically and mentally.
Having to put on a brave face every single day can be draining. Justifying your new ‘shape’ or mood swings will become tiresome and there will be days when you just want to curl up into a ball and never leave your bed. I have had countless moments of ‘what is the point’ and being on the edge of falling into a pit of depression. You can read countless motivational quotes, push yourself into every state of positivity and create as many wish-lists for your health as you can muster but the one thing that will help you overcome any struggle (in my opinion) is to avoid the instinct of suffering in silence. Speak out, voice your needs – if there are people who don’t understand, listen or give you the time that you need, then take note and disallow yourself to indulge them with your life.
Crohn’s is an invisible illness, but that doesn’t mean you should allow it to make you feel invisible.