I think Christmas is a difficult time, at a simple level I am frustrated and cross that one day attracts such excess and materialism and the day is exploited by capitalism
Then there is the pressure of buying presents and so much food. I especially struggle with the ‘panic’ that Christmas seems to generate in my family and the rat-tat-tat of quick fire questions about presents, food and seeing each other. I know it is only because people want it to be perfect, but it feeds my anxiety and my sense of being overwhelmed – which then impacts on me trying to get things done.
I struggle with the conflict of the pressure of socialising with family, which on the one hand I want to do and the fact my anxiety gets the better of me and I get overwhelmed and then grumpy which upsets those around me. My Christmas is spent trying not to upset people.
I have mixed feelings about Christmas cards received from old friends who want to know how I am and remind me of the difficult times in the past that have got me to where I am today.
That said I am getting better at manging myself over the Christmas period. I make sure I have my music and headphones, to escape with, I want to go for walks more often and my wife knows I may disappear / take myself away for a while and now even encourages me if she spots I am finding it too much. I think my family are used to me disappearing so it is becoming more of the normal.
A big change for me this year is that I am now better at accepting that I am not responsible. So between us the food will get cooked and guests entertained, but I am not solely responsible for this.
I definitely find Christmas easier at home, it feels safer but then we go away for a few days on Boxing Day which I find difficult with more pressure.
I notice the noise gets to me, but I know if it gets too much I just take myself away from it all for a while, use my breathing exercises, maybe read a book or go for a walk and listen to music.
I hope people can enjoy the seasonal holidays - good luck!
As part of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week (1st - 7th December 2016) the charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK are offering a poster creation app, that lets you build your own poster about how Crohn's or Colitis impacts you. So here is my poster about how Ulcerative Colitis impacts me and what helps me through.
I am lucky, that I do not have too many flare ups, but when I do, I feel incredibly tired, bloated, get bloody loose stools and have to use Pentasa Enema's 2 or 3 times a day on top of taking Pentasa tablets twice a day. For me a flare up last for a few weeks, but I become very house bound and have trouble finding the best food to eat and I hate using the Enema's, but they do help and directly work on the inflammation. As I have said in my poster the care, support and understanding of my wife makes it all a lot easier.
Hopefully this awareness week and the social media campaign of #CrohnsColitisAndMe will help raise the awareness of this invisible disability.
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