The latter part of last year was an introspective few months for me. With the help of some people who love me, I established I’ve spent a lot of my years on earth to date holding onto bitterness and anger over past events and the hand life has dealt me. I’ve spent a lot of time, no, wasted, a lot of time, blaming people/ things /happenings in life for my own misery. I’ve realised I’ve been neglecting to take full (or sometimes any) responsibility for my own actions. Although always unintentionally, relying on having a fail-safe(s) to blame for my own failings has been a pattern of behaviour uglier than a Donald Trump patchwork.
It may of course sound trite and pitiful, all this psychobabble. Especially when it’s coming from a 32 year old woman and not a stroppy teenager, but that’s ok, it’s just taken me a little longer to iron out some of my internal creases. Some people don’t ever look inwards. You would’ve thought I’d done my fair share of that over the years due to numerous colonoscopies; but this time I’m looking at my behaviours rather than my colon. (Attractive as it undoubtedly is).
I’m not trying to batter myself over the head with what I consider to be my failings either. It’s good, all this. It’s actually liberating. It feels good to finally free yourself from the shackles of bad habits, and that’s all this really is – bad habits I’ve fallen into and accepted as part of myself. We all do it; although to a lesser or a greater extent. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t feel that I’m a complete shambles of a woman. I’m not; I’m pretty smart, not troll-like hideous, fiercely independent and armed with a vast knowledge of both cats and David Bowie’s back catalogue. But like everyone I’m not perfect. (Whatever that might be).
Of course there is a point to this blog and not just an excuse to wax lyrical about myself and use this as some sort of forum for psychoanalysis. (God help me if it were…) I wanted to make the point that having a chronic illness may have caused you, or someone you love to fall off the responsibility wagon.
You may not have realised how much of your life is spent feeling angry and bitter. It just bubbles and seethes and occasionally boils over hurting yourself and the people you love. You’ll blame lack of progression in your career, education, relationships or all of the above on being ill. It’s hard not to when it can be so all-consuming. This may last a week, a few months, years or even a lifetime – if you let it.
I’ve tried not to blame Crohn’s for the things that have made me unhappy. But in the past I have. I’ve accused it of holding me back and stopping me doing the things/people that I love. The truth is it DOES hold me back – in small ways such as having to give up parts of my day over to hospital appointments and procedures. Having to give up parts of my internal organs to the surgical waste disposal. Being too ill to have FUN.
But in order to have the happiest life outside of your disease you have to learn how to slot these changes into your day to day life and let go of some of the anger and frustration you feel. Accepting what you can control causes a domino effect which will only lead you down the yellow bowel road to a happier life.
When you stop yourself from achieving a goal, or fail at something you’ve attempted, be it small or large; stop a minute and consider all the issues that have lead you to this point. Is there anyone or anything to blame but yourself? Is ‘it’s my diseases’ fault’ what you really believe?
I catch myself now. I stop myself before I wind myself up into a Crohn’s VS Kath frenzy. It's cathartic; and calming. If saves my bowels from burning like the Sun due to unnecessary stress, aids happy relationships and stops unnecessary arguments.
When you take a moment to look inwardly it’s like a mirror is shone on others. You see how deeply apportioning blame over taking responsibility can affect lives. It becomes clear who is using the age old argument of ‘my life is so hard because of X & Y’. Granted that was one of the more awful Coldplay albums but I’m over it now. I can’t continue to blame Coldplay for all of my problems in life, and neither should you.
It’s U2. It’s all U2’s fault.