Wow, that’s a hard one for me! I am an “A type personality” with mild OCD mixed in for good measure making a great combo of anxiety and nervousness which, is very stressful on my nervous system and overall body health. I believe “it starts with the brain!” Perfectionism is a classic type A symptom that runs deep and it affects all aspects of life.
Letting go of these qualities in my life that I personally have to have perfect has been hard in that not performing the perfectionism in my every day routines has diminished only because I was so sick and too exhausted to muster the time and energy to get things done but more importantly I basically didn’t care!
However, in not being able to perform those acts affected me in other ways. If I didn’t feel like I looked presentable which to me that means hair done, makeup on and dressed to look functional or didn’t have the energy to get ready then I didn’t go out. I couldn’t collect myself into a whole me so I hibernated until I could present myself in my usual strong togetherness.
Giving in to your disease
Now, I know there are going to be some people saying that means I was mentally unstable and I have to disagree, I was emotionally weak at those times on those particular days for sure. I am a strong women who is fearless but bowel disease does a number on your mental state, I can tell you that for a fact! Like I have said before I have good days and I have bad days I am myself on the good days; strong, capable, ambitious and driven, but I am not on the bad days.
To me that’s okay because I have these diseases and there is nothing I can do so I go with the flow and I give in to my body to allow it to do what it has to do on those days. I’m listening to my body, after all it is smarter than I am! Everything happens for a reason and if my body is screaming at me to stop, lay down, eat, sleep, relax or drink water I listen for the reason is obvious, my body is telling me I need to.
It starts with the brain, it’s all in how you deal, it’s all in the way you handle situations and not feeling well is a situation to stop take notice, listen and pay attention to your body and that means for me to let go of the perfectionism I strive for on a daily bases in everything I do. It makes it hard to be present but when I was as sick as I was I gave in mind, body and soul because I knew there was nothing else I could do.
Having bowel disease does in fact affect the brain, I am living proof and no tests or doctor analysis have to be done on me to tell you I suffered with lack of cognitive skills, decision making skills and short term memory. As I recover I can clearly feel and notice a difference in these skills returning very slowly but in fact measurable!
I feel stronger each month and I have more days I feel stronger mentally and physically as I heal, I felt a noticeable difference when my Colitis was in remission. I was affected not only by IBD but anemia and I suffered with anemia caused by crohns and colitis that affected my gut not absorbing anything so I was depleted in more ways than a human body should be and this went on for years.
In the last 6 years I feel that the effects of toxic people, living a life that was not mine, anemia, crohns, colitis, malnutrition, along with vitamin and mineral depletion, mental weakness affected me the most when I was forced to repress my perfectionism, independent nature and free spirit to the point I thought it was gone for good. At times I was worried I was changing so much that I wouldn’t be the gypsy soul, free spirited, reserved, laid back, independent person I’ve always been. As I heal and learn to live my life on my terms I am elated to see that all those qualities are still mine, are still in-tacked. I guess I just needed a break from everything and everyone and I’m so glad I took it, I didn’t have a choice!
PC: Barbara MacInnes. Taken on Lake of Bays, Muskoka, Ontario.