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Despite the pain she lived with daily.
Despite the hospitalizations that never happened when they were convenient.
Despite the abuse of her body.
Despite the sadness that overtook her mind.
Despite the confusion that surrounded her soul.
Despite the loss of the person she once knew.
Despite the grief of the person she once was.

Those who live a life of IBD are not only plagued by doctors, medications, surgeries, and getting through, day by day; we are the ones who have stories to tell, more than a diagnosis.
We are often times impacted by mental health before, during, or after diagnosis of IBD.
We are often times stigmatized because it is taboo to speak about these subjects with “normal” people. After all, who wants to hear about how we struggle or how many times we had to go to the bathroom in a day?
We are the ones who struggle to maintain jobs while having a chronic illness. We wonder if our coworkers notice us leaving our desk so often and for extended periods of time, just so we can manage our symptoms.
We are the ones who go out to dinner with friends and don’t eat because we are afraid of having an episode; when we should be having a good time. The problem is we are so wrapped up in trying to not get sick; we don’t remember how to have fun because our body has control of our minds.
We are the ones who develop eating disorders because it is the only control we have over our bodies.
We are the ones our family and friends feel bad for, but they just can’t seem to empathize with our pain and don’t understand why we can’t “just enjoy the day”.
We are the ones who others know are sick, yet we feel guilty for having a day by the beach because we are afraid of being judged for having a “good” day.
We are the ones who cancel plans at the last minute. Our friends get upset with us because we are cancelling yet again.
We are the ones who reach out for help, only to have the professionals tell us “we are coping well”.
We are the ones who trust our doctors to assist us with managing our symptoms, only to realize the side effects of the new medications are almost as bad as the symptoms themselves.
We are the ones who adjust our fashion based on whether or not our ostomy bag is visible.
We are the ones who want to trust others in our lives, but understand what heartbreak looks like when people betray us and tell others of our plight.
We are the ones afraid of being judged, when we are often times our harshest critics.

We are part of the chronic illness community, the mental health community, and we have a voice that will be heard.

In peace, solidarity, and hope,

Colleen Zavodny

 

If you need to reach out to anyone, please don’t hesitate to use these resources:

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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

 

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Crisis Text Line – Text “TWLOHA” to 741-741

 

 

[Both resources are available 24×7]

“I am here for you!”: National Suicide Prevention Week Making Overall Health a Priority

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  1. Donna Pocius says:

    You are a brave and ” gutsy ” lady, even with out those guts, Colleen . Your candor about your condition helped me face my own health struggles. I am proud to know you .

  2. Kimberly Wegman says:

    I sit here crying as I read this. It is me too,how I feel, as I sit here just returning from a run to the bathroom. I stay home alone, only going out to the doctors, the hospital, the shrink. Thank you for being more eloquent. I can’t get the words out about how I feel as beautifully as you have done. Bless you

  3. Jola says:

    You rock and are so incredibly strong, i’ve always been envious of you in a good way ????

  4. You are beautiful, inside and out ❤️ Thank you

  5. Carol says:

    You are a wonderful role model to all!!!

  6. Thank you Jola! You are also an inspirational woman!

  7. Thank you Kimberly for sharing how this has impacted you. I am so thankful that you have not given up and go out to the doctors, hospital, shrink, and other appointments that continue to give you hope even if you feel in the moment it is lost. It took a long time to find my voice so for now I can be the voice for others. #soikeptlivingBless you as well!

  8. Stephanie says:

    Your strength and courage has always helped me to find my own.

  9. It is a crazy ride called life we have been on! Thank you Steph!

  10. Detective Mike says:

    Colleen you are the definition of “a great person”. You campaign for many causes, you volunteer for everything, you’re there for everyone, and oh yes, you’re a great Mom! It was a gift to meet you, and an honor to call you my friend! Thanks for everything!

  11. Thank you so much Mike! I always say I am only the person I am because of the village I have surrounded myself with. It is an honor to call you a friend as well and know that you are supportive of so many causes.

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