Raising Awareness of IBD and What You Can Do To Help

Raising Awareness of IBDHey everyone,

I just wanted to check in and say I am so grateful for all of the donations/ sponsors so far (if you missed my last post, I am taking part in a 5K walk to raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis UK) and it makes me so emotional to think how much support I have behind me. The money raised for Crohn’s and Colitis UK could help fund research for treatment and even a cure someday. Funds can help provide information and advice for over 1,000 people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease which is just incredible.

Crohn’s and Colitis UK Website

This charity was the first place I turned to when I was diagnosed. There are so many useful resources on there such as their Crohn’s and Colitis Companion which is an interactive resource that gives users information or advice on things like their symptoms, treatment options and how to live with IBD. This is really easy to use and so helpful for people who have just newly been diagnosed or anyone who needs a little support. There are over 40 leaflets and booklets available to download covering everything from financial aid to the symptoms of both conditions. It is so important to raise funds and donate as they use the money for incredible things like determining causes of IBD and the newest treatments. Recently £700,000 has been awarded for the research into new treatments and improved care for patients.

#WALKIT

#WalkIt is happening all around the UK. There is a 5K or a 10K that you can do or volunteer at. I am so excited to take part in the walk and to meet others with IBD. I think it is so amazing that we will all come together to support this amazing charity and each other. It is important to keep raising awareness of these conditions, being invisible illnesses, they can be so damaging to someones body, but at the same time give the appearance of being ‘well’.

It is amazing that more people are becoming aware and more understanding of chronic/invisible illnesses but there is still a long way to go.

The most important thing that anyone can do is to have compassion for others. We all have something going on in our lives, you never know what people are going through. Their lives may look perfect on social media but a smile and a filter can hide a lot. Every single person has their own struggles and it is important to keep that in mind every single day.

An Update on My Ulcerative Colitis

I am doing great at the moment; I haven’t had a flare in around 2 years. However that doesn’t mean that I feel healthy and fab every single day. There are still good days and bad days but my bad days are better now than the ones I used to have. The symptoms I’ve been having recently are some stomach cramps/pains (these tend not to come to anything and usually decrease) and fatigue. Fatigue is what I struggle with the most and it can be there even on the good days. I usually help this by resting as much as I can and trying to reduce my stress, although I fight a losing battle most of the time.

It can be hard some days to not let it get me down but I just have to pick myself up and keep moving forward. This is my life now and my UC isn’t going to stop me from living it to the fullest.

How You Can Help

You can help raise awareness of IBD by joining in the #WalkIt, donating or even just sharing this blog post. If you or your loved one has IBD, becoming more comfortable with the symptoms makes it easier to talk to others about them and thus raise awareness. The more we talk, the more recognised and accepted these conditons will become. I waited longer than I should have to get medical help as I was too embarrassed to tell my family. It is okay to talk about your bowel habits, every one has them! It’s normal and we need to get over the taboo of talking about poo.

Thanks for reading ❤

Love and Light,

Rebecca xxx

#WorldIBDDay 2017

Hey lovelies! So it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. I wanted to just check in quickly and let you know I’ll be more active when I come home from my holiday (I’m currently in Tenerife and having an amazing time!) But I couldn’t let today go by without posting something for #WorldIBDDay. As you all know it is something very close to my heart as I was diagnosed in 2013 with Ulcerative colitis and my life has been changed in many ways since then. Ulcerative Colitis is one form of Inflammatory bowel disease; the other Crohns Disease. These illnesses are non-curable and can cause many symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea, nausea, fatigue, anaemia, stomach has cramps and pains, constipation and so much more.

I’m going to put links to all my posts I have written previously about Inflammatory Bowel Didease and my journey with it. I hope you’ll take time to read them and share or spread the word. We need to raise awareness for this invisible disease so as to help people suffering and those who are close to them.

A Support group for those with IBD

What I’ve learned from having an incurable illness

8 pieces of advice for anyone suffering with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

An Honest Letter to my illness

10 Things you need to know about Ulcerative Colitis

Colitis and Me

Fatigue and IBD

I hope this helps anyone suffering or having any symptoms and that it also creates understanding for those who don’t have IBD.

Thank you for reading and I’ll be back on the blog soon!

Rebecca ❤

PS. there are some useful links and websites about IBD in this post here: Living with Ulcerative Colitis

10 Things You Need to Know About Ulcerative Colitis

10 Things You Need to KNow About Ulcerative Colitis.png

1. Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The other main form of IBD is Crohn’s Disease. IBD is an autoimmune disease which means that the immune system attacks the healthy body cells.

2. Around 146, 000 people in the UK are living with Ulcerative Colitis.

3. UC causes inflammation and ulceration of the colon and inner lining of the rectum.

4. Symptoms can vary from person to person and can include; blood in stools, diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain, extreme fatigue, anaemia and severe weight loss in some cases.

5. There is no known cure.

6. Treatments for UC include immuno-suppressant medication or anti-inflammatory medication which aim to reduce the inflammation. There are many different kinds of medication for IBD such as steroids, injections etc and sometimes they do not always work, resulting in surgery. Surgery for UC includes the inflamed part of the colon being removed and an ostomy being created. This is when an opening in the abdomen is created to allow the intestines to go through and a bag is attached in order for the person to pass waste into. The surgery is usually only required for those with severe cases of UC.

7.  The cause of Ulcerative Colitis is unknown but researches believe it could be caused by a person’s genes, environment and the immune system reacting in an abnormal way to bacteria in the gut.

8. IBD is not the same as IBS. IBD is a disease and has no cure. It is a life-long illness whereas IBS is a syndrome and can be treated/controlled with medication or changes to the diet.

9. It is not just a pooping disease. There are many symptoms of IBD and not only that, there are many problems caused by having IBD such as joint problems, side effects from medication, mental health issues and much more.

10. People with UC/IBD often don’t look sick. This is because it is an invisible illness. This means that the person could look absolutely fine but be really struggling on the inside with severe symptoms and you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at them. This is why it is so important that awareness is raised.

To help support research for a cure for IBD, please text CCAW22 £_ to 70070 and share this post.

This is a subject very close to my heart as you will know if you know me or follow my blog. I was diagnosed with UC 3 years ago and it completely changed my life. I want to be able to raise awareness as it something that I had never heard of until I was diagnosed and I hope that anyone struggling with symptoms has a loved one with IBD or has been newly diagnosed can find this piece helpful.

https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/

http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/files.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/Publications/ulcerative-colitis.pdf

Thank you for reading ❤

Rebecca xo

Break The Mental Health Stigma #WorldMentalHealthDay

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As most of you are aware, I have Inflammatory Bowel Disease which is classed as an invisible illness due to the symptoms usually being unseen. However, I also have another invisible illness; anxiety.

Mental illness is invisible and there is a stigma that comes with that as people find it hard to understand what’s going on when they cannot physically see it. I actually find it so much easier to talk about my bowel movements than I do my anxious thoughts and feelings. It’s crazy!

It really upsets me that people find it so difficult to talk about their mental health for fear of what other people might think or how they might be judged. It is such a taboo subject to talk about any mental health issues. However, it is perfectly okay to talk about our physical health. I would love to see the day where it is considered normal to say, “I’m feeling a bit anxious today” or “My depression is really getting me down at the minute” just like saying, “I have a really bad cold.”

It is so important that we raise awareness of mental health as there are people who are suffering and are too scared to speak out. I know that I was for a while but when I did, it helped so much.

My Experience with Anxiety

My anxiety began a couple of years ago due to my health. I was experiencing a bad flare up of my ulcerative colitis and under a lot of stress. I had to take a few months off from working and it totally knocked my confidence. I felt panicky any time I left the house. I could hardly walk into a shop without feeling like I was going to pass out. I found it extremely hard to breathe a lot of the time and had a constant tightness in my chest.

I eventually gave in and went to the doctors and was given anti-anxiety medication. This helped immensely. Alongside taking medication, I made sure to do yoga every day and began writing helpful quotes in a notebook that I looked at every time I felt the anxiety creeping in.

Now, my anxiety is more manageable. I had a few months off of my medication but I have recently had to go back on it. I do still have days where my anxiety levels are higher and I have panic attacks occasionally. I am not perfect and sometimes when the panic attack strikes, I can’t stop it and just have to breathe my way through it. A panic attack may be different for everyone but when I have a bad one it is so intense and can be terrifying. I can’t take a proper breath, my chest is tight and it can feel like I’m going to die. Seriously, it can be that bad! There are times when I get anxious and I don’t even know why. There is no valid reason. It’s such a complex thing to describe and it is different for everyone. There are certain things that can trigger my anxiety but it can also be different day-to day.

So, I invite you today to make one step to support mental health awareness and help break the stigma. Some ideas are:

  • If you suffer from a mental illness, please speak to someone about it. This could be your friends, family or see a doctor. Don’t ignore your symptoms!
  • Raise awareness by sharing this post and also reading up on mental illness and becoming clued up!
  • Support someone that you know is struggling.
  • Speak up when you hear someone speak wrongly/negatively about mental illness.

Check out the following resources to learn more about mental health:

I hope this helps to provide some insight and I just want you to know that you are not alone.

“Suffering is temporary, and it will get better.”

Love and light ❤

Rebecca xo