How much information is too much information when it comes to talking to people about Crohn's Disease?
This is a poser that regularly plagues me.
I have a comfort (now anyway) with my partner and close family and friends, where I feel I can tell them pretty much anything relating to how I'm feeling, and let all my worries out. However when it comes to discussing ACTUAL SYMPTOMS it's a case of still feeling a bit like I have to vet myself before off loading. All my own doing by the way, this is by no means because of their attitudes.
Where my partner is concerned, we live together, so nothing can be hidden in terms of how I am psychically or such things as how long I spend (or what I'm doing) in the toilet. He doesn't flinch when I talk (sometimes in detail) about the state of my under-carriage or how badly I've sabotaged our bathroom. The main issue for me at first was the worry in my mind that how could anyone continue to find me attractive when I'm doubled up in pain or when I've created destruction and devastation of the toilet? Clearly as I'm joking about this, its no longer an issue for me. He constantly reassures me how he feels and that, scars, sickness and however close and personal I get to the porcelain, wont change that. This is a massive relief to be able to talk so openly about it all.
I feel I can talk in the same way (well to a point) with my mum and specifically two close friends (one suffers from a similar tum related issue and the other is a nurse so neither of them flinch at the image of me letting rip - sometimes literally).
The only problem that arises here is that I still sometimes feel I have to remind them that I am coping fine and will feel better soon, as because they care, they worry and I hate causing that.
Now when meeting acquaintances the dilemma rears it's head - how much do they REALLY want to know? In most cases, as little as possible it seems, in my experience at least.
Here are 2 possible 'stop and chat' style scenarios that may occur (and have for me) as a 'Crohnie' ;
Scenario A -
"Hey! How are you?"
"Hi! I'm good thanks, how are you?"
"Great. I'm..." (*insert whatever they wanted to talk about in the first place here*)
Scenario B -
"Hey! How are you?"
"Hi! Well I'm utterly shattered, have barely left the toilet for over a week, I'm struggling to stop from throwing up as we speak, almost passed out earlier, have entirely no energy, haven't eaten a proper meal in god knows how long, my skin and hair are in a terrible state and I'm in unbearable pain! How's things with you?"
"Oh that's awful.. Hope you get that sorted soon then. I'm..." (*as before insert conversation here but with added discomfort*)
In Scenario A, there is NO info given regarding my Crohn's, therefore leaving the road clear for the other person to wax lyrical about whatever they wanted to wax lyrical about in the first place.
As you can see Scenario B was similar in response but with an uncomfortable Crohns-style awkwardness left handing in the air. So as my little example shows, it's usually better to make like a Pez and only dispense tiny chunks of information at a time when requested. The people worth bothering about will keep sticking in coins for you to dispense more. (Absolutely no idea where I'm going with that..).
I like to keep my info to a minimum - people who need, or truly want, to know will be honoured with my toilet and tummy tales, and those who don't, wont.
Peace, love and loo rolls x