My Personal Experience of Crohns - Part 2
For a long time, I complained quite a lot about having Crohns. It wasn't for attention: it was more in the hope that someone would understand how I was feeling and could maybe help me. I'm not sure why I thought that anyone could help me. If I'm honest, it just made me feel better to be able to talk about it with someone.
After a few months, however, people stopped listening. They stopped sending me messages asking how I was feeling. They didn't bother ringing me to see if they could help. I began to feel more and more alone with each passing day: where I used to wake up with about a dozen messages on my phone, I found myself waking up to nothing.
I wasn't able to leave the house much anymore: I was so weak, sore and tired that I spent the vast majority of my time in bed. I lived about 15 miles away from where many of my friends resided and had no means of transportation apart from getting lifts from my grandparents. It wasn't fair to ask them to drive me everywhere, so I began to see these friends less and less.
At the beginning, I was receiving texts every day from many people about meeting up and hanging out. I made my excuses and told them that I would see them on a certain day, or later in the week. After about a month, perhaps only around 4 or 5 friends were still messaging me to ask how I was or if I wanted to come see them. I didn't mind: I felt that maybe everyone else was just busy. It was, after all, the summer before many of my friends would be going to either college or completely sixth form at my high-school.
About 5 years later and I can go days without a message or call from anyone other than my grandmother, aunt, or my neighbour who invites me up for a cup of tea. For a long time, I tried to kid myself that everyone was just busy and didn't have the time. Perhaps they had very demanding jobs or were busy with university.
Eventually, I realised that whilst I had made efforts to visit and meet up with many people, there were very few that would have done the same for me. At age 18 I moved into the town where many of my "friends" lived, but I can count on one hand how many actually came to see me. I can't explain how much it hurt to finally admit that there was no one I could call or message. Even if I did, they either didn't reply, or replied once and then didn't speak to me again.
I stopped leaving the house. There were very few places I could go to to hang out. I began to feel more and more alone, and when I tried to make more friends, it was almost as if I had forgotten how to interact with others and conversations quickly dwindled. Was there something wrong with me that bothered everyone? Was I doing something wrong?
By not leaving the house, the panic-anxiety disorder that I had been trying so hard for so long to control tightened its icy grip on me again. I couldn't leave the house without having a panic attack. Even the sheer thought of going anywhere frightened me enough to make me shake. Any time I was invited out I had to make excuses as I was too ashamed to admit how I was feeling.
Thankfully, I now have people who I can visit throughout the week and can have a nice chat and a cuppa with. Some days I don't really want to see anyone, but that's okay because I know I won't necessarily feel like this the following day. I have some fantastic family members who have been very kind and understanding, as well as my partner and his family. My neighbour treats me like her daughter, which makes me feel incredibly good about myself and gives me an emotional boost.
When I write this, I don't want any pity, nor do I deserve any. I want people to understand that, sometimes, what is meant to be will be. Through being diagnosed with Crohns, I believe I found out who my friends really were, and who truly cared about me. I just wish that humanity would perhaps be more understanding and caring towards others, who perhaps need a little push or help sometimes. I'm glad that I did have people to turn to at my worst moments, but some others don't have this and the world can be a very dark place in those times.