Having Crohn's disease can be an embarrassing and isolating experience that leaves you feeling left out of life.
Talking to the important people in your life about your disease is a crucial step in coming to terms with it and being able to relax and be yourself. You don't have to tell everyone in your life, but there are certain relationships that could actually benefit from the conversation.?
Sharing your struggle with people at work, school, or in an intimate relationship can help bring you closer together and make you feel less alone. You can use some strategies to approach people in different areas of your life to help them understand your condition which will make it a littler easier to live with.
Going to work with Crohn's disease may be difficult especially during a flare-up, but it becomes even more stressful to endure if you are trying to hide your condition from your boss and coworkers.
If you have an accident, your coworkers can understand your situation and help you – but only if they know what is going on. You probably don't want to broadcast your condition to the entire office, so choose your friends wisely.?
It is best to tell your manager that you have Crohn's disease because you may need to take time off for flare-ups, doctor's appointments or hospitalizations. These will be a concern to your manager, and you will need to be prepared to answer questions about your reliability. You have a right to work, though, and your boss has to make reasonable accommodations for you.
As for other members in your workplace, telling people why you are running to the bathroom or always out sick might keep them from gossiping about you. It is important to let them know that Crohn's is not contagious and that you sometimes need to take time off.?
You can let them know more or less, depending on their closeness to you. Discussing bowel movements with acquaintances is not the easiest thing to do. Instead, choose only close friends in the workplace to share the details with.
School sometimes poses a problem for people with Crohn's disease, whether it is grade school, high school, or college. The first people to tell about your condition should be the medical professionals in charge of the school, such as the school nurse or the student medical center. Explain to them that you have Crohn's disease and that you may need to come to them on occasion if you are having a flare-up for help with dehydration or fatigue.
?The next step is letting your teachers known about your problem. Again, you may miss some classes due to your Crohn's disease, and it will be difficult to keep your condition a secret from your teachers. If you are upfront with them and let them know that you might have to miss more days than an average student, you can get special permission to do so. You can also get additional help to get missed assignments and other information.
Tell your instructor that you have a disease that requires you to have frequent doctors appointments and results in overwhelming fatigue at times. You can even bring in a letter from your doctor explaining your condition.
With Your Friends
The rule for talking to your friends about Crohn's is that it is on a need-to-know basis. If they don't need to know, then don't tell them.
However, telling your close friends about your Crohn's disease and about your struggles will help you to cope with your condition. It will make you feel less alone to know that there is someone else to talk to about what you are experiencing.
You can also lean on friends for help when you are sick or have an emergency. Telling friends is something that all Crohn's sufferers struggle with because they worry about rejection.
If you take the time to get to know the people you decide to tell, you can help to mitigate some of the risk of rejection by knowing the person is a good friend. If you choose not to tell people, you can simply say you have the flu or are sick when you have a flare-up. A true friend will accept you for who you are.
In a Relationship
Perhaps one of the most embarrassing moments Crohn's sufferers worry over is managing their symptoms when being intimate. ?They worry that they will have an accident during sex or that their body will produce embarrassing sounds and smells that they can't control.
For some women, fistulas can develop between the rectum and the vagina, making intercourse painful. For these reasons, it is best to be up front with a possible romantic interest about your condition.
Do not apologize for your disease or act as if you are somehow less than worthy of love because you have Crohn's. You are every bit as worthy of love as anyone else, and you deserve to find someone who loves you for who you are.
By revealing your condition to your partner, you are opening yourself up to rejection, but you are also making yourself available to a deeper connection.
Explain your condition simply and factually, and then let your partner ask any questions they might have. Once you open yourself up to this process, you may find you are not as alone as you thought.