A few months ago I found myself in a bit of a black hole. I was ill, and stressed in my home, and work life, (thus exacerbating my already horrendous symptoms) and I was struggling to hold it all together. I was snappy and weepy and found myself bursting into tears on the bus to work or the toilet, because that's where I was spending most of my time. Eventually after a chat with my then manager, I decided to try speaking to a counsellor.
On making that decision, all at once I felt relief at possibly having an outlet for my apparent abject terror at the state of my life.
I also felt a little silly.
'I don't need 'therapy'! I'm a grown woman! I just need to get a grip of myself! It's probably just PMT! I'm taking up valuable time for someone who might really need it! Someone might have had their whole family murdered in front of them or lost their kitten and NEED help and I'm whining about MY life?!'
I calmed down and cooly calculated that if a counsellor could see me it's because they had time to do so, and weren't snowed under with distressed/kittenless orphans. Plus i was just being a big fearty.
After my first 'session' (I had 6 in all), I felt positive, and vowed to start a wee video diary to log my experiences and share it with all of you. I managed two videos then couldn't continue. Not because I got bored, but because seeing a therapist is really emotionally gruelling. If you are honest with him/her of course.
In my experience over the few weeks I visited my counsellor, I came to realise that I had begun to blame every wrong thing in my life on my disease. In my mind, I was at fault for not looking after my emotional/physical well-being, and I was solely responsible for my symptoms worsening.
I was angry and confused at first because she wasn't giving my the answers to these problems! Where was the quick fix and problem-solving I'd expected?! I was having to do all the hard work myself?! I had enough on my plate!
Obviously there IS no easy answer, or quick fix to heal emotional wounds.
I had begun to realise I was much, heartbreakingly, further from having accepted my illness than I'd thought. The truth of the matter was I wasn't sure I ever would. But I'd begun to realise that that's ok. I don't have to.
In not 'accepting' Crohn's I'll never lie down to it. I understand of course, and 'accept' that I have a lifelong and incurable condition, but I don't have to let it rule my life. It never has to seep into every part of my being.
I cried a lot over that few weeks and was angry and sad and furious, and an absolute nightmare to live with, (sorry James), but I am still here and now with 98% less fear. I accept that there are things in life and in my past that I can never change. I can't force people to act in certain ways or say certain things and I can't be all things to all people.
I am by no means on some hippy-style path to enlightenment, but I definitely feel 'emotionally lighter' and that can only be a good thing.
Nothing worth doing is easy, and the hardest thing is looking at your own behaviour and judging yourself. Blaming a condition, your surroundings, people around you, or your place in life, means absolutely nothing if you can't look yourself in the mirror at night.
I can. And I still see that squint tooth and hate myself for it.
Where's that counsellors number again...?