Talking about… mental health

The impact of Crohn’s and Colitis isn’t just physical. Here’s how it’s impacted on people’s mental health and how they’ve found the words to talk about.

Olly image 1

I try my best to show it’s something you’re stuck with but in a way that doesn’t lead to people feeling sorry for me. I prefer feeling like I’m winning. Positivity is key.

Olly, living with Ulcerative Colitis

I was referred to a councillor where I completed a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help with my mental health. The strategies I learnt during this have really carried me through the incredible tough times and will continue to help me to keep strong mentally when my body is giving up on me.

Liv, living with Crohn's Disease
Abi Image

You need to get your feelings out and talking to people is a huge relief from anxiety and worry. I myself am partial to a good rant and my wife is usually the best recipient. Say how you feel and what worries you, talking to people who don’t have Crohn’s or Colitis can give you knowledge and another perspective.

Abi, living with Crohn's Disease
Isabelle 3

I find that my Crohn’s has caused me to feel a lot more anxious about doing certain things but I have a very supportive family and I gain reassurance from reading about other people’s experiences too!

Isabelle, living with Crohn's Disease

Keep in mind…

It’s good to talk

Talking about your condition won’t cure it. But talking about things can help you process what you’re going thing and give you a fresh perspective. Make sure you share what you’re going through with family, friends and perhaps even a professional counsellor.

It’s called a body – we’ve all got one

Every human body is different, but they’ve all got one thing in common: they’re not perfect. They break, they leak, they age – and anyone who thinks otherwise is in for a rude awakening. So try to be proud of your body and the challenges it has overcome.  You wouldn’t be ashamed of a broken leg would you?

Give yourself a break

When you’re forced to cancel plans for the third time in a week, it’s tempting to turn your frustration inwards. But try not to beat yourself up. Feeling lousy because of your condition is one thing, but making yourself feel bad for feeling bad? That’s just mean! So, make sure you give your mind the care it needs. And remember, it’s ok not to feel ok.  

Exercise when you can

There are very few ‘quick fixes’ when it comes to mental wellbeing, but regular exercise is pretty close. Be it the gym, a swim or just a walk with the dog, doing a little exercise when you can will make you feel better and help you sleep. Here’s some interesting research on finding the right exercise balance for you.

Stay mindful

Mindful meditation has been shown to help ease stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain. Whether your mindfulness comes through practising yoga, meditation, music, art, or something else, focusing on the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future can really benefit your mental health.

Useful information/links