May 19th, 2016 is World IBD Day. While my feelings about this day haven’t really changed since last year, I do want to take the time to reflect on a few things that I’ve noticed about the IBD community.
We Are Strong!
Living through IBD can be a nightmare, but we’re pushing through regardless. Resilience is something that we are often forced to develop after living with a chronic illness for some time, and I see so many people who “bounce back” from IBD stronger than they ever were.
Even when we feel like shit, we still manage to find “extra spoons” to get us through the day.
And despite all the pain and suffering that goes along with this disease, I continue to see people standing right back up after they’ve fallen. This is not an easy feat, yet we do it anyway.
We Can Be Superheroes in Disguise
It’s incredible to see how much power we all possess simply by telling our stories. Over the past year, I’ve read many patient stories from those who refused to let IBD destroy their lives, and their message inspires thousands of people around the world.
You don’t even have to be an outspoken advocate to make a difference in someone’s life – simply sharing your story, or lending support to others who are also going through the same challenges as you can make a huge impact!
And even if you can’t do that? Encourage the ones who are able to because your support is like rocket fuel for advocates!
We Are Everywhere
IBD doesn’t just affect one demographic, so it’s not uncommon to see kids, the elderly, athletes, business professionals, parents, students, and everyone in between affected by IBD in some way, shape, or form.
This diversity can be challenging, but it also means that raising awareness is even more important so that no single group is left behind.
I am happy to see various organizations around the world offering special programs for kids affected by this illness, as well as support for parents (who either have IBD or are caring for a child with IBD), and people who have gone through surgery because of IBD (like ostomy, j-pouch, etc.), too!
The IBD community is open, and not afraid to discuss the often taboo subject of bowel movements and feces.
This is what I love about the IBD community – 356 days a year!