Getting Better, Is It A State of Mind?

“To keep the body on good health is a duty..otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

Since my diagnosis, I have been on the hunt for relaxation techniques that help soothe my symptoms.  I always find myself practicing deep breaths or mantras when the cramps are at their worst.  But no matter what  I try, if there is not a bathroom present, the pain still stays.  At times I even believe it’s my body tricking my mind, as sometimes the pain means absolutely nothing and by the time I reach my favorite room in any business, restaurant or house, I don’t even have to go anymore.  Which leaves me with the question, is it all a state of mind?  If after months, or even years of suffering with irritable bowel diseases, our bodies can trick our minds into thinking we have to go when we really don’t, can we kick this thought process and whip our bodies back under control?

At least for my sake, I certainly hope so.  I have found that the most difficult part of this disease process is controlling my state of mind.  Constantly having to remind yourself to stay positive in a situation that looks negative from the outside can be exhausting.  Is it possible for us to look at our diseases as a positive happening?  I’m sure that this doesn’t just apply to IBD‘s.  I’m sure every patient suffering with any kind of sickness reaches their boiling point of negativity.  But how do we get there?  What is it that makes our minds negative?  Is it other people?  Pain?  Changing many life decisions?  A combination of all of the above, plus more?

When I think about my negativity, or when my disease is putting me in a bad mood, it is hard to put one finger on a specific happening that might be making me feel down.  The fact that I have trouble leaving the house before 11 a.m. has a lot to do with my afternoon fatigue.  It’s not just a normal afternoon fatigue either, its an exhaustion that even a quick 20 minute nap can’t cure, because it follows me around all day every day.  I have tried everything to make my mornings better.  We all know that when you have a bad morning, you more than likely are going to have a bad day.  What happens when you’ve had bad mornings for over a year?  I can tell you personally that it’s not fun and neither are my moods.  It’s hard to stay positive when you know that you are going to be in pain before you even start your work day.

I try to take my medicine as soon as I wake up, so that hopefully by the time I’m done getting ready I can be done with running to the bathroom or laying back down in bed until the cramps stop.  That doesn’t always work.  Then I do my usual morning pep talk to myself, “You can do it.”  Which works, on the good days.  But even on my bad days I have to stop and remember that this isn’t going to be forever, even though I still haven’t seen the light at the end of the tunnel yet.

I always wonder if someone was able to tell me that the side effects of my disease were going to stop on an exact date, would I be able to get through easier?  Would my anger diminish and more positive thoughts resurface?  I think so.  I have been setting “goal dates” for myself since I was officially diagnosed in October.  Telling myself, “I will be better by my birthday.”  My birthday has come and gone and though I have seen improvements, Colitis still seems to run my day to day.

I suppose that this could be a healthy practice, setting goal dates.  It could give your mind something to focus on other than the negative battle that you are fighting in life.  Everyone has their own negative, dark clouds following them around in life.  It’s how you handle your day to day that is going to make those clouds feel a little lighter.  You can choose to let your battles rule you, or you can create a positive platform for yourself and keep on keepin’ on.

I keep going because I have no choice.  These are the cards that I was dealt.  I’m doing better controlling my own body, even doing small rituals such as pretending there’s no bathroom to see how my body reacts.  Or not running so quickly to the bathroom when I feel I really have to go.  I have to gain back control of myself, or this disease will continue to ruin my “goal dates” for the rest of my life.

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