Dealing with IBD comes with a lot of appointments, tests, medications, and procedures. Going through all that, especially when many things happen at once, can and does take a toll on my mental health. I realized that it’s extremely important to have not just one, but a whole system of coping mechanisms to help me get through difficult situations with respect to my health.

For starters, I like to take one day at a time, without thinking too much ahead, as this usually overwhelms me. However, at times this technique isn’t enough, especially if I’m on medications that have horrible side effects, or if I’m in terrible pain. In those situations, I either go for a full body massage, which really helps relax my body, or if I’m stuck in bed I go online and buy myself something - this distraction helps me feel better and gives me something to look forward to.

Another coping technique that works for me takes the form of a long string of beads, where each bead color and type represent something medical I have been through. For example: blood tests, MRI, colonoscopy, doctors’ visits, Humira injections, etc. Every time I experience one of these things, I add the appropriate bead onto my string.

Any time I have a difficult test or procedure scheduled, I look at the string and am reminded of all that I’ve been through. It helps me remember that if I was able to do all that, I can definitely do this too.


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