The first flare up I had was in 2006. I had recently just started an enema I think it was asacol. I woke up 1 morning and I was trying to put my socks on, and I was just in agony, I just burst into tears, and my partner Danny had to phone work and tell them that I wouldn’t be in, which later, me not been at work became nothing new.
I went down to the doctors and cried and told him how much pain I was in, he said that I had caught a kidney and bladder infection from the enema having colitis, I had a week off and work at this point was ok with me. At the same time, my partner and I were having major money problems which resulted in us falling out a lot, I wasn’t very happy at all, and stressed out more than I probably ever have been.
The colitis started to have an effect. Firstly it wasn’t very much just a bit of abdominal pain, but not so painful I couldn’t cope with it. After yet more tablets, I did start getting better, went back to work but decided I wanted a fresh start and moved jobs.. I started my new job in December 06 and because I was happy, Danny was doing well at work, things felt more settled.
July 2007 I had my 2nd flare up, I don’t really remember that much about it, I just was struggling to eat, was passing blood which was black and of course the dreaded runs. I went to see the dr again, he told me that I had to go up to the hospital straight away, because he didn’t want to alarm me but was worried it may be a stomach ulcer. I had tests and because I hadn’t been able to eat, was put on a drip for a day.
My Mum & Dad didn’t get my illness, probably because I didn’t, and I never remember speaking about it. Danny and my family might remember differently but it really wasn’t a burden on my life. My flare up went on for a few weeks which at the time I thought was bad, but I’d get to know that actually that was very minimal. From October 2007 to July 2008 I was fine again, to the point I forgot that I had it, my weight was normal, I could eat normal, go out normally, have a drink, everything that you take for granted. I went to see my Dr at the hospital and I remember him saying, you look well, your eyes look quite bright, I want to take you off asacol enemas. I was a bit reluctant but he said as long as you carry on with asacol tablets you will be fine. With him being a dr you would think he would know what was best but clearly not, within 2 weeks I started my 3rd flare up and up to today It has not stopped.
It started just as normal, cramping, limited to what you can eat which I thought was bad enough, but nothing compared to how bad I did get. I found it hard at work because I didn’t want people knowing what was wrong with me, because to explain your condition to somebody who you don’t know very well is embarrassing for anybody i’m sure and definitely no different for me. My supervisor was great when I got to the point that I had to tell her. You can’t be going to the toilet 10-15 times a day and think that nobody notices. Within a month I had started to get really down about my illness, and it really started to show mainly at work. At the time I thought I could cope with it, but clearly I couldn’t, and soon started getting depressed.
The depression I find is harder than the colitis, again that’s my opinion and not everybody’s. I have never experienced anything like it in my life. The hardest bit was understanding and accepting that I had depression, which I saw as a weakness. but I knew that I had never felt anything like it before. It amazes me how negative you are, and that you have no control over it, you think you have but you haven’t. I don’t remember a lot of that time, other than that I was sinking fast. It upsets and unsettles me just thinking about it, and all the while nobody really knows what you are going through. Again went to the doctors, which started to become my 2nd home, I told him how I felt but again I can’t remember what he said because that part of my life is a blur, going to work coming home I don’t remember any of it. My mum suffers with depression, I admit that before having depression, I thought it was a state of mind, you choose to feel like that, it just shows what little I knew and people who think that know, because it is not like that at all. It is not about how strong or not strong you are, but you literally have no control over it. Seeing my councilor helped even though I thought it didn’t looking back, she was great. I sent her this text when I was at my lowest:
'Don’t really know what to say had a hard week feel like I don’t know what is happening to me really. I think from what i’ve read on the net I could be depressed, feel quite lonely really like I don’t have any control over anything and I feel scared of how I am feeling. I was going to get in touch earlier on in the week but thought I would start feeling better. I’ve never felt like this before its very strange. I think I am going to see the doctor about maybe getting some tablets which I didn’t want to do but I can’t cope with this much longer. It worries me a bit that if I go on them and might not be able to work out if it is me or the tablets thinking.'
I sent that on the 17th August and it is the first time I have read it since, wow can’t believe all that went in a text, but that was just how I was feeling. I was so scared of how I was feeling, and even though I am still on the tablets I definitely don’t feel like that now..