It has been a little while since I’ve posted on here, something that fills me with annoyance as this is the one space where I can truly reach out to people and express myself. But life can sometimes engulf you and spit you out in the other direction, which has left me feeling somewhat demotivated.
These last few weeks have brought a whole new issue to light to do with my illness but also to do with a lot of illnesses people suffer with. To be short, I am sick of being called ‘lazy’. That sentence is all fucked up – really, it should be: I appear ‘lazy’ to you because I am sick.
For those of you who haven’t met me and realised how ‘tired’ I am all the time, Crohn’s Disease is intrinsically linked with fatigue. Sometimes this is related to iron deficiency (I have recently found out that I am extremely anaemic) and sometimes this is an affect of your immune system working double as it tries to destroy your gut. Additionally, I have also watched a Mighty video on the phrase ‘I’m tired’ when linked with depression – and let me tell you now, the link between mental health struggles and IBD is a whole lot greater that you would imagine – but I will save that topic for another day.
Recently, I have cut down a lot on social activities or evening events – purely because I struggle to find the energy to even think about them, let alone attending. It’s not something that I’m cool with particularly, as I don’t want my Crohn’s to become an obstacle in my life, but it is a reality that I am currently dealing with. Yet, I find that when I say ‘no’ to a night out in favour of a night in on the sofa, I’m called ‘lazy’. The fact that I am drained to the point of tears doesn’t register well with some people, so instead of trying to understand they try to belittle you; isolating you further.
Worse, I have also recently been called ‘boring’ when I’ve explained my lacklustre attitude to going out recently. It’s superficial, but it broke my heart. Someone who was quite notorious for her ‘party girl’ attitude has suddenly been branded boring through no fault of my own. What do you do in that situation – do you fight against your entire body and push yourself beyond your comfort zone, just to impress others? Or do you listen to yourself and accept that sometimes you’re better off looking after number one.
As a result, I find myself constantly feeling guilty. I feel like I am constantly having to explain myself for that extra hour in bed or making up a more ‘valid sounding’ excuse as to why I didn’t actually go on that run. I’m made to feel that I’m somehow a lesser version of the person that I was before; as if pre-Crohn’s Loïs was more fun, a better employee, a better friend, a better girlfriend, than the person I am now. The truth? I’m fucking exhausted. So you can either accept that or take your elevated misunderstanding somewhere else – because I’m not asking for sympathy but I am asking not to be judged. Physical and mental illnesses can be a total game changer – you can often feel like less of yourself with your diagnosis, and so having that acknowledged by friends and colleagues simply seals the deal.
What I’m trying to say, through this Saturday morning rant, is that it angers me that others are so happy to tarnish you with the same brush as someone who just cant be bothered to do something. Let’s be honest, there are times when I simply can’t be bothered! But there are also times when it’s not that I can’t be bothered, it’s that I genuinely cannot find the energy, the motivation or the will power to do something.
Despite all the negativity, it is important to be positive. To accept that sometimes, R&R (rest and relaxation) is best for your body and mind – whether you have Crohn’s Disease or not. Sometimes, it is okay not to be okay and sometimes, the only thing you need to worry about doing that day is looking after yourself. It irritates me so much how quick people are to brand people as ‘lazy’ simply because they are taking some time out from the hectic and chaotic lifestyle that we are all encouraged to partake in. Being lazy is leaving your bowl on top of the dishwasher instead of just putting it inside – having a morning in bed because it’s the first time you can let your body relax all week, is not.
I hope that any one reading this has found the strength within themselves to embrace both the good and the bad days, something we all experience. I hope that you, yes you, have a strong support network and a positive outlook on life. And most of all, I hope that you have learned to accept yourself and can listen when your body is asking to be looked after, whether that’s for one day, one week or one month. Be kind to yourself.
So no, babe – you’re not lazy.
You’re fighting a battle that no-one else can see; so it’s no wonder you’re exhausted.