But I don’t have nasty friends. I wasn’t opening up about my disease to a bunch of jerks. While I couldn’t see it at the time, no one meant to belittle my disease or make it seem like IBD is the same as a night of having the runs.
They were just looking for a way to relate to me and trying to understand.
It’s likely that my friends meant to sympathize with me, understand me, and console me. They were doing it in the best possible way they knew how, with the limited information they had about my disease. Because IBD isn’t “trendy” and not everyone has heard of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, maybe all they knew was what I told them. As a reminder, I told them, “I have a digestive disease.”
Back then, when someone made a comment like that, I just raged in silence. Now, I try to gently explain that it’s not really the same thing. “Yeah, I’ve had that too, but not related to my Crohn’s! When I’m flaring, I often have to get out of the shower five or six times to use the bathroom… if I even have the energy to shower. No matter what I eat, it doesn’t sit well, and the pain leaves me curled up in a little ball, afraid to move.”
Usually their eyes widen a bit, and I like to think they understand more than they did.
Call me crazy. Call me a hopeless optimist. Call me whatever you want. But I think most people really mean well. We’ve all had those moments where we’ve totally stuck our foot in our mouth, right?
Ever say something you really wish you could take back? If you have IBD, do you have a standard answer to explain your disease?