I was diagnosed with crohn's when my youngest was three months old. I know how overwhelming it can feel to have the care and responsibility for young children when you are struggling with the physiological and psychological stresses of adjusting to a chronic illness. There were many days when I really just wanted to crawl back in my daddy's lap and let my mother nurse me. But I had little girls and a husband. Sometimes our game face, that facade of control we wear for familly and friends can be a very important tool of adjustment. Strength in the face of adversity is admirable, and, especially when dealing with a chronic illness, this personality trait can often ease the process of adaptation that living with chronic illness requires. People whose natural coping style is to be strong and to face challenges etc, are the ones who often do better in the long term.
Now, here's the but ... becellea74. If your strength becomes a wall behind which you hide your fears, your anger, your despair, it can become your greatest weakness. You may not feel that there is anyone in your circle of family and friends who you can share your feelings with right now. If that is so, then I concur with Ivy. It is really, really important to try and access a professional listener, in the form of a health psychologist. Someone who understands the emotional journey that being diagnosed with a chronic illness sends us all on.
But here's another thought to ponder. Is it possible that you are afraid that, in
opening yourself to a friend or a relative, you might also have to confront and face what is happening to you? Is it possible that in staying strong in front of everyone you are also protecting yourself from your own reality? That has been my curse over the years. I too leaned on my strength to push me through much of my early years with this illness. No one, not even my physicians or husband, knew what i was living with. I lived for a long time with the delusion that I was protecting them, but really I was protecting myself from the reality that I am ill. If I didn't acknowledge it, live it out in front of those around me, then i could pretend it really wasn't that bad.
We all need someone that we can share our deepest worries and fears with. Just saying it out loud sometimes relieves our worst fears. So look again at your circle of family and friends, come here to this forum as often as you need to, and perhaps share with your family physician the struggle you are having to hold it all together. Don't stay alone in your despair. Do someone the honour of sharing your burden. Allow yourself to move through it, and as you live it, you may just find that honouring these dark emotions will create the power to transform you.
And remember, sometimes strength can be our biggest weakness. And sometimes knowing when, and with whom, to be vulnerable and in need, can be our greatest strength. The willow never breaks because it knows when to bend.
Hugs from the heart.
30+ years living with Crohn's.
Post Edited (belleenstein) : 7/28/2008 1:22:13 PM (GMT-6)