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Chronic Warrior
A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life


It has to be.

Your eyes flick open. Sun pours through the window. This is going to be a good day, it has to be. Only six bathroom trips last night, not bad. Smiling slightly, you sit up slowly on the edge of the bed.

The smile is replaced by a grimace. Your feet drag themselves toward the bathroom as you rate the pain level of this intestinal disturbance.

“Definite code red, around an eight I’d say doc!”

Smiling more cynically this time at the thoughts you think to keep yourself amused, your eyes fall shut as you let out a measured sigh. This is going to be a good day, it has to be.

Another sigh escapes your lips as you stare at yourself in the mirror. Two months ago you were at the peak of your physical goals. Skinny white boy syndrome has returned with a vengeance. A flash of hot anger rises through your body. All that work, wasted, gone. Forcing yourself to breathe deeply, you think better of smashing the mirror with your fist.

“You can do this…”

The next thirty minutes are spent outside drinking in the sunlight. A sense of peace returns, interrupted once by a mad dash to the restroom. This is going to be a good day, it has to be.

You realize how hungry you are as you unwilling return to this thing called life. A mouthwatering sensation of pancakes dosed in syrup, coupled with eggs, cheese, and bacon pops through your head. Shoving it down, you retreat back inside yourself to unfeeling numbness. Breakfast won’t consist of that. Not now, maybe never.

“No. You can’t think that way. You must stay positive.”

A glance over your to do list is interrupted by intense pain which sends you in the direction of the bathroom.

Returning to your desk, you search within yourself for an ounce of energy or motivation. Met with the usual lack of either, you turn instead to willpower. You must push on. Fighting back tears, you sink deeper into unfeeling. Away from the despair threatening to overwhelm you.

Shit. You’re on the schedule at work today. Your mind begins to enact the raging battle that springs up whenever you must decide to leave the house or not.

“Call in sick? But no, you already have missed so many days this past month. Health is more important. Is it even an option? Can my body handle it? Can I push myself through?”

The stress level reaches a breaking point. Your fingers drag themselves through an apology text to your boss as you fight down feelings of worthlessness, laziness, and self loathing.

“No, no, this was the right choice. I’m extremely sick, I need to stay home and rest.”

No matter what you tell yourself, that feeling of guilt and worthlessness, though pressed back, still remains.

Ah, something familiar: pain. Another trip to the toilet.

The rest of the day you spend attempting to get something done. A few months back you could have done what you did today in an hour or so. Frustration turns to rage. Time for a workout.

Thirty seconds into a light workout, your head is spinning. Gasping for breath after the 10th pushup you curse under your breath. Dammit, you used to be able to bust out 50 of these no problem. As you turn to the next exercise the tears start streaming down your face. The pain in your gut is rips through you, but you can fight that. The gasping for breath you can deal with, you know how to push yourself. The emotional frustration of being sent back to square one, that you cannot cope with.

“How many times has it been?? How many times have I climbed this ladder, pushed myself, and worked my ass off. All to be sent back to square one. Again, and again, and AGAIN.”

Your rage increases, and you press on. Past the pain, through the tears. Ten minutes in, your world starts to go blurry around the edges. Collapsing to the floor, you gasp for breath and fight the urge to puke.

“Why do you keep trying? Why do you do this? It’s all going to end up failing anyway. All you are is a failure.”

“No. NO. You can’t think that way. You can do this, you’ve done it before.”

Having enough of your motivational talk, your stomach reminds you to run to the restroom yet again.

Ah, a text message. A few of your friends have invited you out to happy hour at a local restaurant. Just the fun you needed, maybe it’ll put a genuine smile on your face. The comforting thought shatters to pieces. You shouldn’t eat or drink anything served at that restaurant. From past experience, you know you are less than fun while being hungry around a bunch of people eating.

“Damn people and their incessant need to eat.”

Again the raging battle flares in your head. Do you go and grump the whole time? Can you conjure enough willpower to simultaneously be happy while starving in front of all that delicious food? But you should go, you need it, friends are good for you.

As per usual in American culture, you’re immediately asked how you’re doing. So you muster a smile, lie through your teeth, and respond, “fine”. Genuinely trying to join in on the conversation, you attempt to relax and let yourself laugh. The war between having fun and the torment of delicious food begins, with brief respite for bathroom trips.

Afterwords, your friends want to hangout and play games at their place. Taking inventory on your current state of duress, you agree to join them. After deciding that the house in question has adequate and private bathroom facilities of course.

On your way there, you turn on a few of your favorite, though sadder songs. You feel like a tightly wound spring. This always happens whenever you are more than a few feet away from a bathroom. And rightly so. The pain could strike at any instant. From past experience, accidents are zero fun.

The music allows you to relax and your numbness slips away. The pain that is buried so far inside comes rushing to the surface. Tears start falling fast and hard. But this isn’t just tears, no. This is deep ache, a breaking of the soul. Lacerated with lines of hurt. Broken dreams, failed goals, and moments lost pour out. Memories of pain – fear of the future, past, and present. Loneliness crushes you.

And you are lonely. The friends who you are about to visit: how do you explain this to them? Do you even want to explain? How could they understand?

This is not meant to be depressing, but eye opening.  If you have Crohn’s or Colitis you know how hard it can be to explain to people.  If this resonates with you, use it as a tool to share and help others who care for you understand. 

Posted by Nate Ohlson at May 11, 2015 10:22 pm | No Comments »

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