Monday, 18 May 2015

There's an Ill in the Air

It’s World IBD Day!

Which, as we all know stands for ‘Irritable Bowel Disease’!
Oh, sorry I meant ‘Invisible Bra-Straps Day’!
No? Really? That’s my favourite day as well…
Ok, so I’m joking OBVIOUSLY, we all know it stands for ‘I Banged Dave’. No, sorry you’re right, that’s an excerpt from my upcoming kiss and tell novella, 50 Shades of Dave.

I’m just being hilarious and silly as always. (Sorry Dave).

Today is World ‘Inflammatory Bowel Disease’ Day. It’s a day where we aim to raise awareness of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Traditionally conditions that often go unspoken due to their ‘invisibility’ and complexity. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of keeping quiet about it.
We find people often don’t understand just what is involved in living with a chronic illness, so we just don’t open the dialogue. After all, it’s easier that way isn’t it?


Not talking about IBD makes it shameful. It implies that as patients we have something to hide, something to be embarrassed about. It allows ignorance to run rampant, like me in a pub full of men called Dave. It causes insecurity, anxiety and confusion. When we remain mute on the subject of our illness we allow others the space to come to their own conclusions. (Conclusions, that are wrong; 99.9% of the time).

We have to talk to ensure we are consistently reaffirming the point that we have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. We are living with illnesses that massively affect our lives and should remind ourselves often, that leading ‘normal’ lives around an abnormal illness, takes huge courage, humility and strength.  

So what to do to spread the word? And is all awareness ‘good’ awareness? Well it’s certainly vital we teach those outside of our illness what it entails, and how it affects our lives, but how?

I feel education is of the utmost importance. How can you expect strangers to comprehend your illness when you can’t really explain it yourself? I have Crohn’s Disease and I’M still learning about it. I experience something new every day. It’s never ending.

We need to help one another educate ourselves and others.

If you are knowledgeable about IBD then share! Don’t patronise other patients. When you do that you only make them retreat further into their diseased shells. When I was first diagnosed there was so much information to take in it was utterly overwhelming. It was almost impossible to distinguish the accurate from the hyperbole. Everyone has their own horror story to share and none of them help ease a worried mind.

Use days like today, (and every day) to share your knowledge and support those who maybe don’t have as much of it as you. Don’t just raise awareness; raise the bar. Give the gift of information. It’s the most useful gift you can give; it’s non-returnable, recyclable and never gets old. 

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