Lately I’ve seen a lot of offensive and incorrect articles in the press in relation to Crohn’s Disease. Within the UK and across the rest of the globe. Most of these offending articles have either got their facts entirely upside down, or have just straight up lied about the severity of the condition.
There still appears to be major confusion between IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Written down, there is merely one letter of a difference, so an easy mistake to make one could say. However these mistakes can be incredibly and increasingly damaging to the wider worlds’ understanding of our diseases. My last post specified in a lot more detail exactly what IBD entails – not a pretty picture to paint – but it’s vital for us as patients people know the difference. I have several friends with IBS and I know it’s no walk in the park from time to time. However it’s not an incurable illness with countless horrific symptoms which can, in extreme and heart-breaking cases of complication; kill. Something I rarely want to even consider let alone draw attention to.
With incurable illnesses such as Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, we fight a constant battle to try and make people understand how difficult our lives can be. At work, with friends and families, in our social circles and sometimes even with medical professionals, there is often a continuous and relentless clash between facts and fiction as far as the intricacies of Inflammatory Bowel Disease go.
It royally infuriates me that people still frequently feel Crohn’s is as straightforward as IBS. But when articles float around stating this is the case and lumping the two together as some sort of tummy-face off, it’s almost understandable. (Which just in turn, sends me into even more of a Hulk-like rage). It can be like battering your diseased head against a brick wall trying to ensure people understand, or are at least aware of how crippling IBD can truly be, and how much of a devastating impact it can have on every aspect of a patients’ life. I don’t mean to depress but I often feel borderline pathetic and childlike when I try to express the issues IBD can raise. “But I AM chronically ill too!” sounds like Justin Bieber on helium in my head so I can’t imagine how irritating it would be if I actually said it out loud. I regularly want to scream with frustration when it’s as much as implied that Crohn’s is anywhere near IBS, so I have to keep a lid on those feelings for the sake of my own sanity. (And to avoid murder charges).
If anyone is in any doubt about the complexities or even the basics, around chronic illnesses such as Crohn’s or UC, please, PLEASE ask someone who has it. We know what it entails as we live with it 24hrs a day, 7days a week. It doesn’t leave us and often causes unyielding misery. Please don’t add to that misery by insinuating its nothing to write home about.