I've been thinking a lot lately about
my life and how Crohns has affected me in so many ways.. I'm a very independent, opinionated, confident woman and I realized that being forced to deal with Crohns at such a young age helped me become the woman that I am proud to be.
Before I was diagnosed (14 years old), I was the quiet, shy, bookworm, wanted to be accepted like all teens do, and as a result I made some less than ideal choices to achieve that shallow goal of being "popular." It wasn't until a few years into my disease that I began to take control of my own life and accept myself for who I was--and embrace that. years later, I look in the mirror, and I'm proud. I know that I can do anything that I put my mind to, no matter what the odds are. Everyday I find myself doing or saying something that surprises and impresses me because I never knew how strong and well-rounded I could be. Now, I'm not attributing all of it to my disease, but it certainly has played a heavy role.
I work as a waitress and also as a instructional assistant for special needs children at an elementary school. On Friday, the other two teachers were talking about
how paranoid they are about
all kinds of things they have absolutely no control over (earthquakes, drunk drivers, etc, etc..), and how it makes them sick to their stomachs just thinking about
all the things that can go wrong. At this point I chimed in and said, "I never worry about
any of those things.. I used to be really paranoid about
everything until I realized that no good could come of worrying about
something I have no control over. If you spend all your energy focused on the impossible, unpredictable things, then you have less energy to spend on the things that are realistic and possible. When you're able to prioritize those things, life becomes much easier all around."
I didn't know just how much I have adapted to survive and remain sane. lol.. I feel like I've come to a point in my life where I have stopped looking to others to inspire me and keep my head up, and instead have become a strong source of that inspiration and encouragement. I want to touch the lives of as many people as I can, reminding the world that no one is alone or helpless--you just have to look for your own path in whatever way, whatever place that may be.
So, I'm truly thankful for the hand I was dealt, and every tear I've cried in my darkest, most lonely places. And I'm very proud to have had so many years of struggling to help me find my potential and keep striving for better.
On that note, please feel welcome to share any stories you have about
how UC and Crohns have strengthened your own life!