Mental Health and IBD

Day 6 of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness week I thought I would briefly touch on some mental health issues that arose from having Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Let’s face it any long term or chronic illness can get you down and affect your mood greatly; it is widely known that low mood can accentuate pain and vice versa it is definitely a vicious circle. Mental health can be a bit tricky at the best of times but throw in something like chronic illness and your mental health can take a nosedive pretty quickly.

I think for me personally being sick from such a young age has had an effect on my metal health; especially when your preteen/teen years are when you learn about yourself and who you are. Being in and out of hospital and not seeing my friends or feeling like nothing was going to go my way in life/why me; definitely gave me depression. I remember being put on citalopram to try and regulate my mood, my best friend begged me to come off it as she had read that it had a high teen suicide rate now whether that is true or not it doesn’t really matter but just how concerned she was made me decide to come off them.

It is only really when I look back on all that I have endured and come out of the other side that I am very aware a lot of my anxieties come from being sick and how I was treated by various doctors and nurses which were in the minority when it came to lack of bed side manner over the years. Not to mention how others speak about me and my illness – which affects me to this day.

Not all my mental health issues from ulcerative colitis came from external factors to be fair. A lot of them have to do with how I cope with pain and frustration of being sick. When the pain has become so bad that nothing is touching it I have thought about ending it all; when the frustration hits because people don’t believe me or this is nothing else they can do I would resort to self harm. Whilst I am being honest about it all I know fine well that there wasn’t any good to come of those thoughts or actions but it was a vicious cycle that I struggled to get out of.

I tend to only struggle with thoughts and urges rather than actions although there are the odd days where my resolve isn’t as strong. Would I have mental health issues without my ulcerative colitis? I think so because I believe that some people are more susceptible to low mood and the fact I thought I was fat before I was on the steroids although they made the whole situation worse; makes me feel that whether it was depression, body dysmorphic disorder or what I would have had something. Yet the pain, frustration and loneliness is the real kicker for my low mood and having Inflammatory Bowel Disease definitely didn’t make things easy for me.

Do you think that having IBD makes any issues surrounding your mental health worse or no different? If you missed yesterdays post from how having a chronically sick child affected my mam click here.

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