There are certain things I have been told over the years, some even by very well meaning people, in regards to my Crohn's disease. I've compiled a list of The Top 10 Things NOT to say to someone with Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Chronic Illness...EVER.
1. "If you wouldn't eat that" - or - "If you'd just eat better" - or - "If you'd just eat this" Please, water gives me diarrhea. Salads make things worse. I'm limited to what fruits and vegetables I can eat and how and when I can eat them. Adding more fiber to my diet would probably send me straight to the hospital and if it is spicier than mashed potatoes you can count me out. I like meat so I will eat it. I don't want to try your weird diet because contrary to popular belief it will NOT cure me. But thanks for trying and I'm glad it works for you. Crohn's disease doesn't affect everyone the same. What works for one may not work for another. And what is bad one day may not be bad the next. On the same note, what is good one day may not be good the next. Please make a note of it.
2. "If you would exercise more" Shut up, I'm doing the best I can.
3. "At least you don't have cancer." No, I don't have cancer but what I do have takes a lot out of me mentally and physically. Sometimes I wish it was cancer because then maybe someone could help me - or understand. This really isn't a fair argument at all.
4. "You were fine yesterday" Well sometimes Crohn's and Chronic Illnesses do that. One day I'm fine and the next I'm not. It also isn't always about pooping. I get fatigued and have joint pain too. My whole body, as well as my belly, hurts from the inside out. You just have to ride the wave.
5. "You just went to the bathroom" Yes, I'm aware. Now I have to go again. Thanks for keeping track.
6. "You can't just sit there all day." Usually followed up by "You are just depressed" And then "You need to get out more" Here's the thing, yes, I am depressed. But my sitting here for ten minutes or four hours or all day isn't going to change that. And yes, I can just sit here because I am tired. I was up five times pooping in the middle of the night. My body hurts and I'm tired. I'm exhausted actually. I need a time out from life. Just because I'm depressed doesn't mean I'm suicidal. And no, I don't want to go out because I can't go more than 20 minutes without running to the bathroom. That's not fun for me and going out will only make me feel worse about everything.
7. "I don't know how you deal with going to the bathroom all the time. I would just die. I had diarrhea once and I had to take a week off work." Yes, clearly if you had Crohn's you would die. You are obviously not as strong as I am. And by the way, I deal with this because I don't have a choice about it. I don't get to take off work because of it and I can't just check out of life. I am a rock star and you are not.
8. "I hate public bathrooms" Well, would you rather shit your pants? They aren't my favorite either but again, I don't get an option. Oh the shady places I have gone....
9. "I have a bad stomach too." or "It's going around." Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis are not a "bad stomach'. They are Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Diseases. Chronic, lifelong ailments that have periods of activity and remission. They are treated with major drugs like immunosuppressants and steroids. These diseases in no way shape or form mimic things like "spastic colon" or IBS. They are not caused by diet or by a certain personality types. Diet and stress may aggravate the symptoms but do NOT cause the diseases - or cure them for that matter. There currently is NO CURE for Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Unless you have one of these diseases you know nothing about what we go through. Your bad stomach is child's play.
10. "You are just too stressed, you shouldn't worry so much." Don't think about elephants... How about this: You start paying my bills, raising my kid, being married to my husband and living my life with all my health problems and then you can talk to me about not being stressed out. How's that?