Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the importance of having a support system. Whether it be friends, family, or even strangers…in that Facebook group you joined a few weeks ago. Having support keeps you grounded, and I find it can have beneficial effects on both my mental and physical well-being.

As I struggle with my illnesses, no matter how bad things get, I can always lean on the people I have by my side. The people who answer that 3AM phone call, those who stay up all night just to make sure I’m okay, the ones who drop anything they’re doing to come when I call…having support like this feels good.

If you’ve got IBD too, I don’t have to tell you that flare-ups are rough. I notice them happening in November and December, due to the holidays and the fact that I may have snuck something onto my Thanksgiving plate that I definitely shouldn’t have. Flaring has always triggered my mental health to suffer too; it's almost like my body wants my mind to feel as weak as it does.

Whenever I start to feel bad, whenever my mind and my body turn against me, I remember the amount of love I receive every single day from the people I am lucky enough to have supporting me - friends and family.

I can remember a time – back when I was first diagnosed - when it was hard for some of the people closest to me to understand my symptoms and what I was going through. It was new, it was overwhelming, and it was probably scary for them to watch someone they love going through it. Coming from a place of not understanding to hearing them say: “I understand you’re not feeling well, what can I do to help?” is the best feeling in the world.

I believe that having a strong and consistent support system aids in helping you feel better. That, in itself, is like a medication. When your mind starts to feel good, it makes everything a whole lot easier – so you can focus even more energy on getting well again.

That’s why I’m always talking about the PAC – they are without a doubt some of my strongest supporters. I’ve always said that love from my PAC family is something else. Having the support of people who have actually GONE THROUGH what I’m going through, who understand the pain and the emotions that come, keeps me grounded when my body feels like it’s shutting down!

Through my involvement in the PAC, I have the pleasure to associate with some of the strongest people I have ever met and when I see them I think to myself: “If they can get through it, I can get through it, too.


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