Focusing on the Positives

Posted on Posted in Inspiration, Mind-Body Healing


The physical pain of Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a big enough load to carry without having to add in mental anguish. Part of your healing journey is finding ways to see the positives in having IBD.

Having IBD is no different from other chronic conditions in that when there is physical pain, mental suffering follows. With IBD, feelings of failure, anger, and isolation are common.

We can feel like our bodies are failing our desires, our career goals, and dreams because we are in pain, and too tired to even climb a flight of stairs.

We can become angry, even enraged that our bodies are not functioning “as they should”. Our rage can be directed at others around us who don’t understand the struggles we go through internally, and towards a medical system that has no easy answers for us.

Even in a room full of people, we can become isolated, withdrawn, and feel impossibly alone as we try to cover up how we are feeling. We don’t want to rain on another person’s happiness, or feel we shame for our “gross” symptoms.

There are times when physical suffering is unavoidable, but I believe we have greater control over our mental suffering. I have found that recognizing my Crohn’s disease isn’t all doom and gloom has been immensely helpful in my healing journey.

Having positive thoughts, about anything can be a big energy boost, and we all know IBD can suck the energy right out of us. Focusing on the positive aspects of IBD can improve our energy and help us make better, healthier decisions in our healing journeys.

Here are a few ways I see IBD has been a positive experience for me.

  • It forced me to learn about using safer, cheaper, and sometimes more effective natural alternative treatments for IBD. I now share my knowledge with others.
  • I appreciate the simple things in life so much more, because often in a cold bathroom I do not feel the warmth of the sun, see a beautiful smile or hear hearty laughter.
  • My bathroom humor is high quality!
  • It is easier for me to relate to others who have a chronic condition, not necessarily IBD.
  • It’s been a goal of mine to cure myself of Crohn’s disease and as the years pass, my health progressively improves. That has made the difficult journey worth it. The feeling of self-accomplishment has been empowering, life changing because I am no longer a victim of my genetics or a medical system gone wrong.

As horrible having IBD can be, I challenge you to think of how IBD has made a positive difference in your life. Have you adopted a healthstyle (health choices + lifestyle choices), do you appreciate the simple things in life more, have stronger connections to people who understand you?

Please share your thoughts comments below, on the WANTED: Crohn’s End Facebook page or in your Tweets @CrohnsEnd.

  • I ran across your blog trying to find a link between IBD and acne. I’ve been in a struggle for the last 4 months to come off drugs and maintain my health. So far things have been ok but I have now developed thrush. Can’t do dairy so no yogurt or keifer but I don’t eat wheat/gluten or added sugars (only fruit/veg, nuts, and a little meat). I’m having an EXTENSIVE panel of bloodwork done by a DO next week and hopefully will get some resolution for some of these issues. Anyway, keep posting. I read through your history and am interested in how you’ve been since the keifer experiment. Take care and good luck!

  • Thanks Ashley. Any specific kind of link you are looking for? I had severe acne before I was diagnosed with Crohn’s. I think acne has to do with intestinal permeability and disrupted gut ecology, two factors also involved in IBD.

    The standard treatment of acne using antibiotics and then Accutane I feel directly contributed to my developing Crohn’s.

    I had noticed that using Low-dose naltrexone (transdermal cream) significantly improved my skin, and immune function. The change in my skin seems to have had a lasting effect given that I am not using LDN anymore.

    The commercial brand of yogurt, Fage used to cause my acne to flare, I don’t think it does anymore, at least not as noticeable as before.

    Glad you are seeing a DO. Let me know how that goes.

    I will update my progress with kefir soon!

  • basically just wondering if there was a correlation. i think there is too. i’ve had acne forever and still occasionally have the little small bumps that are from oily skin. however, i have noticed that i get deep painful bumps on my jawline/chin area when i eat gluten. i think it is an inflammatory response. i’m in a constant state of iffy-ness right now so i can’t tell for sure if it is gluten or disrupted gut but either way, i think it is related. i never used accutane but i wonder if people with bad acne (who would’ve met requirements for accutane) have a predisposition for gut issues. it doesn’t really matter but that crossed my mind when i was doing my “research.”

    i had the bloodwork for the DO today. it put a nice dent in our bank account but (i’m praying to God) that it is worth it. i saw a naturopath in march and wasn’t happy at ALL with those results. i won’t see her for 2 weeks (unless someone cancels) so i’m praying the thrush doesn’t get worse in the time being. the nurse seemed pretty confident that they would start me on the LDN and she said the first thing the dr will ask is to see my tongue. she evidentially does that with all patients that have digestion issues and i was impressed by that b/c i KNOW there is a link there and no one else has EVER asked to see my tongue! anyway…i’m rambling 🙂