A major issue I have in living with Crohn's is tiredness and general lack of energy. This would be fine during a flare-up or when I've been hit with a bug to deal with on top of my disease, but this is all the time. All day every day.
This is a common complaint amongst Crohns sufferers and there is fairly little to be done in attempt to combat it. Most people living with any Chronic illness would tell you that day to day activities tend to take a lot more out of you than would do a 'healthy' person.
For me it seems no matter how much sleep or rest I get I still wake up feeling shattered. Meaning the simple task of dragging myself out of bed becomes a mammoth one. Not uncommon amongst the human race I hear you cry, no one likes getting out of bed. What I'm talking about is not the idea of getting up and heading to work when you would ideally like another couple of hours before facing the day, I'm referring to the physical aspect of getting up and ready. For me this is one of the hardest parts of the day. I usually wake up with stomach cramps, desperate for the toilet (another thing I have to factor in us how long I may have to spend on the porcelain before I leave - meaning I get up half an hour earlier than I have to).
The thought of getting on a bus and working all day is hard to bear when you wake up in pain and feel like you've been pulled out of hibernation 3months early.
I travel to and from work on public transport, followed by a 15min walk. This travelling tires me in itself, then at I head into work and am mentally shattered by the time 6pm finally rolls round.
To someone without Crohn's or any other form of Chronic illness, all this may sound a tad dramatic or even silly to complain about. What I'd say to you is, if you have felt like this once or even twice, remember how awful you felt, how much it took out if you, now imagine that everyday, for the rest of your life. Quite a depressing thought eh?
The fact that I'm constantly tired and have zero energy affects me not just in my professional life but also in my personal. I often have to cut short evenings out or let friends down if Crohn's strikes. I hate this because it upsets me when I feel the disease is getting in the way of me living a 'normal' life, or when I'm stopping the people I love from having a good time.
It's easy to say, and has been to me, that when you are 'well' we should all try to focus on that and enjoy Crohn's-free moments, but when your immune system is shot so badly that something as measly as a summer cold floors you, or walking 2minutes to the shop has you clinging on to a handrail for support, it's hard to forget.
I now have to force myself to remember I can't do certain activities without agonising following. I can't carry anything heavy (this is where online food shopping comes in very handy) and I can't walk long distances without breaks. I can't Hoover or cut the grass without feeling like someone is stretching my insides to snapping point. Annoying, but thankfully I live with another human who can pick up the slack here and there. And a cat to helpfully ensure we will always need to Hoover.
The main tips doctors and health professionals advise are to eat healthily (difficult for most Crohnies), sleep well (hmm..) and get plenty exercise (have you read any of what I've just said Dr? eh? EH?!). Also many consultants advise B12 injections to help boost the immune system. Effective but only for short periods of time.
Ive found only doing little bits in small doses has been vaguely effective in allowing me to pull a full day without falling asleep on the bus. Don't push yourself and don't assume your diseased body will allow you to do what it may have done before. That said, enjoy life and don't hide yourself away! Don't listen to cynics who have no understanding or comprehension of what Crohn's does to us inside and out.
I know I don't ;)