I was diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis when I was 21.
While everyone experiences it differently, there are a few things that often remain the same.
As a man, I think it’s important to speak out about the issues you have suffering with a chronic disease. I don’t think it’s done enough and I think more men who are suffering could benefit from knowing they are not alone.
Here are 8 things you’ll only understand if you’re a man who’s been diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis.
1. It’s not really something men like talking about
It’s a taboo, when men are in with their friends the last thing they’ll talk about is poo, it’s usually about football and women.
2. You get used to the the fact that you have accidents
Anytime, anyplace & anywhere, it’s sometimes out of you’re control. No prior warning, the heavens will open.
3. You are always struggling with your weight
Due to the frequent medications you are put on, your weight is often up and down – meaning you often feel inadequate compared to ‘healthy’ men. It leaves you feeling less of a man and it can be difficult when you see ‘picture perfect’ males.
4. It can totally ruin your self-confidence to the point where it becomes isolating
You don’t want to leave the house, crippled with anxiety. You only feel safe in a familiar environment.
5. You lose relationships because of how isolating it is and often have trouble dating due to feeling more anxious when leaving the house
Friendships and relationships may slowly deteriorate. People will struggle to understand how you’re feeling or what it feels like. The dating scene can be a scary place… Will someone accept your illness?
6.You don’t feel like you can protect the ones you love or help them
You feel helpless, you don’t want to let anyone down. You’re struggling to look after yourself let alone anyone else. It can make you feel ‘less of a man’.
7. Sex is often interrupted due to your stomach never wanting to play ball
It can become a problem during sex, it can be constantly interrupted and leaves you feeling ‘ what’s the point?’
8. People often think you’re being lazy
But really, even getting through the day is tiresome in itself most of the time. The fatigue is bad enough without the constant toilet trips that play havoc with your sleep and the pain that leaves you bowled over in bed all day.
Really, you’re just hoping for one good day. One good day where you can show people that you are still the same, active person you once were.
Words by James Conlon