Hello my lovely friends! Before we dive into this weeks blog post, I wanted to share that we have officially launched the GUTSY CONVOS PODCAST! This is an audio version of Gutsy Feeling, where each week I will be sharing the blog post in a new format. If podcasts are more your jam, click here to listen. Otherwise, keep reading.
08. Mental Health Tips and Tricks with the CMHA – Gutsy Convos
In honour of World IBD Day 2020, I want to share with you 5 lessons I have learned from my life with Crohn’s disease. I wanted to shed a light on some of the positive things that IBD has brought into my life because I think that far too often as a society we tend to focus on the negative. So, today I wanted to share 5 things that I have gained from IBD.
#1: MINDSET IS KEY
When it comes to life, with or without a chronic illness, mindset is key. No matter what your circumstances are, no matter what cards you are dealt, you have the choice to see the positive. Something I have learned throughout my 12 years with IBD, is that I do not get to be in control of everything in my life, BUT I am always in control of my mindset. This does not mean that I do not get down on myself or that I don’t get upset and angry when life throws me shitty things (pun intended). But, I try my hardest to always have a positive outlook on life in general and with my IBD.
It can be easy to get stuck into the victim mentality, but in order to live a happy life it is important to push past this concept and make the CHOICE to be happy and to see the good in your life. Living with IBD has lead to a lot of anxiety and stress, but something I have learned is that the majority of mental suffering can be fixed by switching your mindset and your perspective. Instead of looking at life through a lens of suffering and lack, look at it through a lens of abundance and joy. I truly believe that this is the key to happiness for everyone, but especially those with a chronic illness who don’t have as much control over what is going on in their body.
#2: COMMUNITY IS SO IMPORTANT
When I was younger I did not know anyone with IBD. At the time of diagnosis I was 11 years old, so I definitely felt weird and different for having IBD. But, as time went on and I got more involved in the community and I realized that SO MANY people have IBD and other chronic illnesses. Having a community of people around you that are there to support you is vitally important to thrive with IBD. I believe that my online IBD community and my local community have really helped me with my condition throughout the years. They are the perfect group to bounce ideas off of, to ask for advice, and to share stories with.
If you have a chronic illness or IBD, you don’t have to get involved and have a huge group of people around you with IBD. But, I think that having at least a few friends going through similar struggles can make all the difference. It helps you to feel less alone and to process experiences together. If you ever want to get involved with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada and/or the Windsor Chapter feel free to reach out to me as I am very involved within the organization!
Beyond the IBD community, it is also important to have a good support system around you. You do not need people dragging you down in your personal life. In fact, this holds true no matter who you are. But, when you have a chronic illness this is especially true. You need people to help hold you up, be non-judgmental, and kind. Having open communication with friends, family, and others around you is vital to make sure you get the support you need with IBD. So, no matter who they are, make sure you have at least a few trusted people to help you along your way.
#3: EVERYONE IS GOING THROUGH SOMETHING
Living with Crohn’s disease has opened my eyes up to the community of people out there living with a chronic illness. This has shown me that truly everyone is going through something in their life. Whether they are dealing with an illness or other personal matter, everyone has their own sh*t to deal with. So, it is important to keep this in mind and to not judge a book by it’s cover. Be compassionate towards others and keep an open mind.
#4: DON’T COMPARE YOUR JOURNEY TO OTHERS
Comparing yourself to others is the perfect way to kill your spirit and suck the joy out of your life. It is easy to compare yourself to others in life in general, but it can be especially easy when living with a chronic illness. Watching others thriving and going after their best life while you are struggling and in a flare is an easy way to make you feel pretty bad about yourself. So, it is important to not compare your journey to others. This holds especially true when it comes to healing. People all heal emotionally and physically at different rates. Healing is based on a lot of factors such as your mental state, overall health and severity of your condition, your support system, and so much more. So, make sure to not compare somebodies journey to your own. There’s no right or wrong way to heal or to deal with your illness. It is okay to learn from others and be inspired by others, but don’t let somebody else’s life or journey bring you down.
#5: SHARING “REAL LIFE” CREATES CONNECTION
Sharing my journey with IBD online has been a real blessing for me. I have loved to share my journey in the hopes of helping others going through similar experiences. Throughout my time online, it has been very important for me to show my “real life” not a curated feed of pictures. Sure I love to take photos and post high quality photos on my Instagram and Blog. But, I also want to make sure that the content I am sharing is real. I don’t want to only show a highlight reel and only show a surface level. I want to be REAL WITH YOU.
Being real and honest is truly the only way to build meaningful connections, and this is a lesson I have learned along the way. The posts that always get the most engagement are the ones where I am sharing real stories, real struggles, and real life. This is how you form connection, and how you learn to trust people. Connection is so important to me because I want to provide meaningful content that can help people. So, this is a lesson I have learned for my online presence, but also for my in-person communication. It is through honesty that real friendships and connections are built with others. So, don’t hold back and BE YOU.
So there you have it, 5 lessons from my life with Crohn’s disease. I hope that you found it insightful and gave you a few life lessons that you can apply to your life with or without IBD.
If you want to read more about my journey with Crohn’s disease you can find that here. If you want to learn more about the lessons I have learned, click the post below!
QUESTION: WHAT IS YOUR #1 LIVE LESSON?
Leave your thoughts in the comments down below or on my latest Instagram post.
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Your trusty, gutsy gal,