May 19th is World IBD Day. Each year on this date about 35 countries gather to collectively raise awareness for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Purple is the symbolic color of Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. So be sure to wear your purple and let people know why!
The World IBD Day campaign this year highlights videos from IBDers on how Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis has impacted their life. This also includes caretakers, gastroenterologists, co-workers, friends, and of course those directly afflicted by this disease. The videos and posts can be found under the #UnitedWeStand2015 hashtag.
If you’re only here for all my incredibly delicious paleo recipes that’s cool. I don’t blame you. This food is AWESOME. But you should know the reason I started Mangia Paleo was actually because of my ulcerative colitis. I was diagnosed the same day I decided to start paleo to help my health. My blog is primarily a food blog but you will occasionally see topics on gut health, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and a lifestyle with ulcerative colitis. My hope is to raise awareness to those who are not familiar with the disease. Most importantly, my hope is to inspire others with the disease and provide a connection. You’re not alone.
Why is this day important?
There are 5 million people living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease worldwide. Collectively our voice is much louder. Raising awareness doesn’t just mean telling people that Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis exists. Raising awareness means advocating for others who are new to the disease or are looking for more information about living with IBD. It also means communicating the reality of the disease to people who do not suffer from it. Raising awareness means informing family, friends, co-workers, etc about how the disease makes us feel so they can appropriately support us.
An IBD Message to You
We Are Family
Supporting one another in the IBD community is how most of us thrive. After all we should understand each other the most, right? I think it’s our responsibility to share information and hope within our IBD community. None of us are alone.
Obviously this disease can be debilitating and mentally exhausting. It has a way of knocking you down with little hope of emerging into a ‘normal’ person again. Our responsibility as an IBD community should be to lift one another up. Hope – the expectation that things will be better. This will get better.
IBD Isn’t Just A Bathroom Disease
Yes, our bodies are causing us to flare and use the bathroom significantly throughout the day. Having Crohns and ulcerative colitis is much more than that. It causes other issues physically, emotionally, socially, and financially. Our relationships can be jeopardized. Our jobs and responsibilities suffer. Finding the appropriate treatment can be expensive. Our whole entire bodies can fail from our disease or even medication side effects. We have to say ‘no’ to things quite often. This is mentally exhausting and deflating.
Each of Us Have Different Journeys
No two Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis story are the same. Nor does each IBD patient treat their disease the exact same way. Yet we are all connected by living with the same autoimmune disease that brings similar struggles. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Respecting the way your fellow IBD warrior fights their disease shows who you are in this community. Life one another up. Encourage them on their journey.
Crush the Misconceptions
Raising awareness is bound to educate someone on specifics of our disease. It is NOT irritable bowel syndrome. Is it lifelong chronic condition. There is no cure. Periods of remission may be confusing to those who do not understand the disease. It’s obvious people do not understand the disease when they have comments such as, “But you were fine yesterday” or “How does she have the energy to CrossFit with ulcerative colitis?” or “I thought you couldn’t eat that because of your stomach”. Once you are able to explain some of the specifics of the disease your friends and family will better understand your journey. I’ll never forget the look on my boss’s face when I mentioned anemia due to loss of blood from the bowel movements. He was shocked. Hey, sometimes the shock factor works! Yes, it IS that serious. No, I don’t just poop a lot.
Thank Your Caregivers
Remember to appreciate the ones who support and motivate you. World IBD Day is our day, sure, but let’s not forget about those who have been by our side through this whole journey. The ones who know your needs. The ones who change their priorities for you. The ones who make you smile. Who comfort you. Who support your decisions. Thank you!!!
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is an invisible illness. WE are not invisible. Go get out there and let someone know you have IBD and you are strong!
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