Today marks the fifth day of Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week in the United States. From December 1st to the 7th the Intense Intestines Foundation, other organizations and IBD advocates all over the country will be doing our part to raise IBD awareness. Over 1.4 million people in the United States suffer from an Inflammatory Bowel Disease and many of them suffer silently. This is a big reason why our slogan at the IIF is “Never Stay Quiet“.
Recently I have realized that awareness can be done in many different ways! People have different ideologies about how awareness can be done and the best way of raising it. IBD is a unique disease and affects everyone differently, which I believe leads to different ways of how people go about raising awareness or even just talking about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Some people are not just affected with the physical symptoms, but also develop many mental symptoms as well when dealing with an IBD. Since each one of us has different personalities, our Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can shape us differently as a person.
But is there one correct way to raise IBD awareness or deal with IBD? This is something I have been thinking about for a while now. The answer is NO! We all have to deal with our IBD the way we see best for us and no way is wrong. I came to this realization when someone told me they saw an IBD patient dealing with their disease positively and living a good life with IBD–and they considered that being a bad way to raise awareness. This shocked me, but each of us has different levels of being open about our condition and use different wording when talking about how Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis may affect us. But NO WAY IS WRONG!
Some of us might want to talk about it in a lighter way and less in-depth way. Bringing certain topics up and discussing them with details but not anything to graphic. Others of us like to talk about it in a completely different way. Discussing all of the details about all symptoms, while using very graphic descriptions. Since every human is different and IBD cases are so different, we are all going to talk about our IBD differently. We have to accept all ways of raising awareness and talking about Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
None of us should judge the other about how we go about raising IBD awareness or discussing our diseases. The bottom line is that all us are going to have different ways of dealing with these HORRIBLE diseases. Some might want to climb mountains, run or swim long distances because that is our way of dealing with IBD. Others might not want to go to those extremes and want to fight back in their own way, by talking about these diseases and other ways. No matter which we decide, the good thing is that we are raising awareness and doing it in the best way for us combat our Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. There are patients out there which are similar to all the different IBD advocates in the community, which means that different messages and different ways of awareness is a good way for us to reach all of those that have Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Raising awareness in any way is a good thing and we have to accept the ways each of us want to go about doing it!