A voyage of self-discovery.. 

Yes, this is going to be one of those blogs where I talk about myself but I’ll try not to make it too annoying! I won’t put too much hippy stuff in here either (although I have found meditation and mindfulness to be rather wonderful alongside other treatments!) 

I’ve struggled with blogging lately. I’m feeling a lot better Alhamdulillah and I felt I might have outgrown this blog….. fear not though dear readers. I wasn’t ready to give it up either. I won’t be writing as much as I used to about IBD, guts, blood and poop but I can still write loads of meaningless drivel, right? That doesn’t need to change. :p 

I read a few of my posts from last year and it was pretty hard going. I’m so very glad I wrote throughout the Darkness I went through. I was drowning in it. I need to be reminded from time to time to help me keep things in perspective. How things change.. finally, I’m seeing the bright light at the end of what’s been a very long tunnel. I always hoped I’d get to this stage but it was difficult to imagine actually being here. Now I’ve started getting my life in order.. I’ve discovered I’m actually pretty resilient. I know, that sounds awfully boastful but I’m told I need to be nice to myself. So here I am, being nice to myself and reflecting on a rollercoaster of a year. 

So.. resilience. Over the past few years I’ve suffered from horrendous trauma. Physical, mental, psychological, emotional.. I honestly don’t know how I coped. I was going through the motions. On the one hand my body was trying to do its best to attack, I was also dealing with the aftermath of surgeries and on the other hand the psychological hurt and abuse caused by those who claimed to love and care for me took its toll. There’s only so much someone can take, right? I’m annoyed at myself for putting up with it for so long. And believing that I was being ‘patient.’ Putting up with abuse of any kind is not patience. Patience is praying then doing what you can to change your situation. It works the same was as praying for a good job then actually going out and searching for that job. It’d be a bit pointless to spend days and days praying without putting any effort in! Not how it works. If someone genuinely can’t change their situation (e.g. Pain) that’s where forbearance and acceptance comes in.

I still feel ashamed to talk about what I’ve been through. It’s pretty crazy to think that I could be pretty open about my bowels and tales of gore yet I couldn’t (and still struggle to) talk about the underlying issues which were making my mental health so much worse. I won’t force myself, perhaps it’ll get easier with time.  

By the way, I haven’t written anything in so long my head is a jumble of words all desperate to escape. Feel free to scroll on by if this isn’t making much sense to you! I need to get a few things off my chest and writing is therapeutic. 

I think I’ve become rather intolerant of what I perceive to be fakery. I’ve scaled down my social circle to a few very close friends (who help keep me sane!) and an even smaller number of family members. (Those who are genuine. A seriously small number. Like.. five. That’s it.) Does this make me evil? Probably. I simply can’t be bothered by people and things I’m not particularly interested in. I’m choosing to focus on what makes me happy. I’ve been focusing on my mental and physical health for almost five months now. It’s a very short period of time but I’m finally getting somewhere Alhamdulillah! I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. I’ve been teaching some wonderful girls. I’m looking to go back to college and university inshaAllah. I’ve made some fantastic new friends. I’m doing things for myself and discovering that Alhamdulillah.. I CAN do this! It’s an incredible feeling. So humbling. I also had my second driving lesson last week – this is HUGE for me! Alhamdulillah. I feel so blessed. I never did see myself doing so well.. I think it’s time to believe in myself. That scares me.. it shouldn’t be so hard to accept that I’ve came a long way. Maybe one day I’ll actually believe it eh?! 

All that being said, this is also a difficult time for me. I have so many emotions and thought processes to work through.. I’ve got to keep moving forward inshaAllah. Some days everything feels overwhelming and I have to pull myself up by the bootstraps and soldier on. It’s the only way. Those days are getting fewer however they do exist. I’m not expecting them to go away completely, I wouldn’t be human otherwise! 

I’ve been trying to figure out how and why people can be so cruel. How do they justify it? There’s got to be an inferiority complex there. Not that I’m a psychiatrist or anything. 😛 why else would someone want to harm others or try to make their life difficult? It baffles me. I just don’t get it. What’s the POINT of it all? Argh this makes my brain hurt! I pray that I never become one of them. 

I was sent the following poem a long time ago. It’s beautiful. I’m going to leave it here and hope it helps you as it’s helped me. ❤ 

Take care of yourself and those you care about, smile a bit more and eat delicious cake,

Love,

Aisha AKA The Gutless Ninja

Ps I’ve started replying to emails. (I know.. about time right?) 

I’m still rubbish at keeping up with social media so I’m not going to stress about that! Feel free to drop me a line at gutlessninja@hotmail.com if you want to get in touch. Or you can leave a comment below. I don’t do any TV/documentary work and I’ve been rubbish at replying so apologies if you’ve contacted me about that. 

Yep.. believe it or not, I’ve had three tv offers in the past two years. I’m almost famous! *dons sunglasses* 😎  

Oh and if you find any typos/spelling mistakes do let Be know. If you find any weirdness it was always meant to be there. Ta. 

On a journey.. 

Assalamualaykum/morning, all! 

How are you all? It’s been such a long time since I’ve interacted with everyone, I’ve missed that. I hope you’ve all been well and are as happy and healthy as can be. 

I’m at an interesting phase in my life right now.. Not quite sure where I’m headed but determined to enjoy the journey! 

It’s been a rocky few weeks. My beloved grandfather passed away recently and the grief is still raw. Please remember him in your prayers. He really was a special person. He was like a father to me and we all feel his loss. 

And then my father suffered a heart attack. It was rather unexpected – he’d been having  trouble for a while but in typical bloke style, decided it was nothing and he’d be all macho. We’ve since found out that he has coronary heart disease – and he’s since decided that he’s very young and fit and of COURSE he doesn’t have to take precautions! I’ve informed him that any more of his solo shopping excursions (he’s not supposed to do any heavy lifting) will result in me calling round to all his usual shops and sharing his picture with strict instructions to call us if they see him. I’m a great daughter, aren’t I?! 😀 he told the nurses not to tell me ANYTHING about his health (even though I put myself down as his next of kin..) as I’m an ‘interfering busybody’. Got to laugh, right? I know how hospitals work and I’m determined to help him regain his health inshaAllah. 

And now to my big news.. A couple of months ago, I met an amazing lady called Helen Bracey. She is quite honestly one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met! Helen encouraged me to join her team of Advocate Superheroes, which I did. 

It’s absolutely brilliant! I’m now a Patient Advocate for Convatec. Check out this site for more info and to meet the rest of my fantastic team. Convatec have launched an innovative service called Me+ which aims to help and support those who’ve had Ostomy surgery. There’ll be of information, guidance, support and help available. I wish something like this had been around when I had had my surgery! 

So what does the life of an Advocate Superhero involve? Well, so far I’ve delivered a talk, been to Head Office where I met the rest of the team, got to see ostomy bags being made in the factory (this was SO COOL!), spoke to the brilliant scientists who come up with new ideas, and I’m currently on the train, on my way to another talk! It’s a beautiful day and I’m so grateful for this opportunity. I honestly did not think that I would be doing something so worthwhile. It’s wonderful meeting so many new people and hearing their stories. 

The nerves are settling in now, I’m about half an hour away from Kettering where the talk will take place! So in a short while I’ll be standing at the front of a room talking about myself. And poo. Yay! :p 

I’ve been thinking.. I’ve faced huge trials these few weeks. But Alhamdulillah I keep thinking that I got through the awful, awful times last year when my world was so dark and I felt as though I’d never be happy again. This was all with the help of the Almighty. Maybe, just maybe.. That was to prepare me for this. Having dealt with such raw grief, I know I can get through the pain of my grandfather’s death inshaAllah. Although this pain is more brutal, I do feel hopeful that it won’t knock me out of sync. Does that make sense? I tend to ramble quite a bit so forgive me if it doesn’t. 

Oh, I’ve saved the best news till last.. Alhamdulillah I CAN SEE!!! I was given a scleral lens for my left eye and it’s BRILLIANT. I’m ably to wear it for a couple of hours a day so I do still have my cane with me in case I need to remove the lens during that time. I also need my white cane in the evening. This is such brilliant progress, it’s given me a huge boost. 

I must stop writing here, the train is pulling into Kettering and I must gather my thoughts before the talk 🙂 

Take care everyone. 

It’s been a while… 

Assalamualaykum/hello readers! 
It’s high time this blog was resurrected from the murky backwaters of the Internet and given a new lease of life.. I know, I know. Many of you have asked when the next post will be up and if slacking was an Olympic sport, I would’ve achieved Gold long ago. 
If truth be told, my mental and physical health hasn’t been great. Then there were other issues to deal with which left me stressed, shattered and er.. In hospital. Despite me telling myself that I was going to be as chilled as can be and not let anything worry me! The best laid plans and all that.. 

(Btw, if you’re new to the blog, please check out About Me here 🙂 thanks) 

But moving on.. I’ve had some wonderful opportunities come my way in these few months. All will be revealed soon! 

I’d like to draw a line under the negative events of the past few months and make a new start here. So. *deep breath* 

Here are some of the things I’ve been up to:

I’ve had an article published in Al-Mumin magazine! The lovely people at Al-Mumin even published a few pertinent and important questions and answers about living with an Ostomy. This is HUGE. I’ve been trying so hard to raise more awareness in the Muslim community, trying to show that ostomies are normal and us Ostomates are pretty awesome! It’s been a slow journey and to have this published is pretty incredible as the magazine has a reach of thousands, all over the world. Feeling slightly overwhelmed here. I feel it’s gone a long way to removing the stigma associated with have an ostomy. Of course, there’s still work to do but this is an important step. 

Secondly, I was contacted by the wonderful colorectal nurses at City Hospital, Birmingham. They were arranging a Stoma Care event at West Bromwich Albion football club and wanted little old moi to do a talk. I’ll admit I was shocked (in a good way!) and VERY excited! It went really well. I was buzzing from the high it gave me. Not being able to see the audience did kind of help though 😉 

I met the lovely Helen from Convatec after the event and we had a chat.. But I’m not going to say too much about that at the moment! Suffice to say that the future is looking VERY exciting inshaAllah. 
Of course, it isn’t all sunshine and roses. I still struggle with anxiety, horrible thoughts, struggle to meet people and even text my friends but I’m aiming to work on that inshaAllah. Please remember me in your Duas. 
That’s actually one of the reasons I haven’t blogged in so long – my brain feels as though it’s been sleeping. I’m not sure if that’s a side effect of the pills I’m on. Whatever it is, the fog seems to be lifting Alhamdulillah and I feel ready to start setting some goals. Probably not resolutions as they’re hardly ever kept! 

Rosie, my beautiful ileostomy, is quite well. Trumping away merrily as usual. Changing my bag has become a bit of a struggle as my eyesight weakens further. However, it won’t beat me inshaAllah! I’m determined to do things for myself for as long as I can. 

On that note, my mobility training has been going exceptionally well Alhamdulillah! I’ve passed indoor training with flying colours (different cane techniques, going up and down the stairs, entering a room, locating door handles etc) and we’ve progressed to outdoor training. In fact, we took a trip into town a couple of days before Christmas and I was super confident! I seem to have lost some of that confidence what with being unwell and not going out recently but I’m sure I’ll be back to where I was soon inshaAlllah. Of course, it helps that I have the best mobility training officer who treated us to a lovely coffee the last time we went out. My next appointment is booked for next week and I’m really looking forward to it. It feels so good to be able to confidently navigate my way through the city alhamdulillah. 

I’ve had to resort to asking my mum to wash my hair again as the fatigue has been terrible. This time round, I’m grateful that I have such a wonderful mother and I don’t want to dwell on how useless it can make me feel. InshaAllah I can build some strength up soon. 

I haven’t written much about how I feel emotionally but that’s because the inside of my head feels like a mess. It’s very foggy in there. I’ve been listening to more Qur’an lately and that’s helped Alhamdulillah. InshaAllah the next blog will make more sense! 

Do let me know what you think in the comments below and as always, pop over to Facebook for more frequent updates! I’ve really missed interacting with you all. A huge thank you to everyone who messaged and emailed to check how I’m doing, it means a lot. ❤ 

Taraweeh Reflections and Gratitude.. 

  
Assalamualaykum/hello readers!

I hope Ramadhan is going well if you’re taking part. If not, I hope you’ve been as well as can be 🙂 

I’ve had such a fantastic response to the article I shared in my last post. It’s made me realise just how many people feel left out because they’re unable to fast – yet they may actually be receiving MORE reward for their intentions and wanting to partake in this act of worship. We definitely need more material aimed at those who are being drawn closer to Allah through their trials. 

Last night, I attended Taraweeh prayer for the first time this Ramadhan. All I can say is SubhanAllah (Glory be to God). It was beyond incredible! One hour and 45 minutes of sweet, sweet recitation and standing in front of my Lord. Such a blessing and I’m feeling so grateful that I was given this chance. 

Unfortunately I thought I’d be a hero and not only pray half of the prayers standing up (it causes me pain at the best of times) but also to cause maximum discomfort to myself by not calling my brother who was in the men’s side and ask for a chair. We went quite late so the chairs were all taken. Ahh when will I learn?! As a result, I’m in a lot of pain today BUT it’s definitely worth it! I want to go again today but now I’m not so sure I’ll manage two days in a row! 

I made a decision to deliver a talk this Saturday. I miss the atmosphere at the Masjid, the sisterhood, the love. It’s what kept me going these few years and I feel awful that I just stopped my talks. I know I had to but even so. 

Good health is a blessing many of us don’t appreciate enough, myself included. It could always be so much worse. I think I have it bad sometimes, being partial sighted, missing half my insides and generally being sore.. But I’m (mostly!) sane Alhamdulillah. I can hear perfectly well. (Selective hearing is another issue 😉 ) I’ve managed to listen to live taraweeh from Makkah almost every day. Alhamdulillah. Quran soothes me. I have a very, very loving and supportive family. Everyone has their struggles. I’m grateful that I’m living in peace. For not having to worry about anything major. For being able to breathe without assistance. For being given knowledge. For being given a heart that works perfectly. For being so blessed. And for being given the ability to keep going, keep smiling and not give up. This is truly a blessing and I pray that it’s never taken away from me. 

Allah says:

” ….and if you [try to] count the blessings of Allah (God), never will you be able to count them.”

[Surah Ibrahim : 34]

How true is this?! 

(I stopped writing there. Continuing after two days…) 

I can’t believe it’s the 6th fast already. Soon the first 10 days will be up. Life is so fleeting.. 

I’ve been struggling with Tramadol withdrawal and heightened anxiety again. A doctor has decided I don’t need pain relief anymore. The less said about that, the better. I wish I wasn’t addicted to this drug but not being on it has made me realise how much pain it was blocking. Maybe Allah wants me to gain maximum reward this Ramadhan, hence the pain. The shakes, restless muscles and insomnia are harder to deal with. Sometimes I’m in so much pain it actually forces me to wake up when I’ve only just nodded off. Sheesh, I didn’t know I HAD so many bones and muscles in my body until they started hurting! But none of this is wasted as long as I believe in Allah and am patient inshaAllah. 

It’s reminded me again how I am nothing, absolutely nothing, without my Lord. We tend to think too big at times and that can lead to arrogance – when we have more faith in our God-given abilities than in God Himself. It’s an important lesson for me. And I’m grateful.. How can I not be, when Allah is reminding me to remove arrogance from my heart and rely only on Him? 

I attended Taraweeh two nights ago and my body still hasn’t quite recovered. I know I’m weak, and it’s hard to comes to terms with. Due to other reasons, I haven’t been able to go again but I’m still hopeful for reward.  

Rosie, my wonderful stoma, has been joining in with wishing the fasting ones well. Almost every day at Iftar when we sit down to eat, she decides to make her presence known by making rude noises. Loudly. So lovely and thoughtful of her. 

And lastly, this has been an unusual week for me in that I revealed who I was to a rather large number of people. My blog has always been anonymous apart from the very few close friends I’d told. I felt I could be more open that way but I decided to change that, be myself. If anything, it shows I’m really not ashamed of what’s happened to me. If you’re one of those people and you’re discovering a whole new side to me (I never usually go into detail about my illness) then I ask for your patience. This blog is honest. My thoughts aren’t always going to make you feel comfortable and enlightened. This is what chronic illness and pain does. There’s a stigma associated with invisible illnesses that I want to eradicate. We are human. No one can be strong 100% of the time. There are times when our faith is unshakeable. Then there are also times when we feel the earth has become constricted despite being so spacious, there is a darkness within us, the pain becomes unbearable so we cry, beg and plead with the Almighty to remove this affliction. Does it make us any less grateful? No. Because we’re turning to the One who created us, the only One who can remove this and trusting in Him completely. 

You see, chronic illness is different to having a flu or fever. With a flu, you feel absolutely rotten for a few days but you know you’ll get better. Chronic illness, however, stays around. It doesn’t go anywhere. It’s there in my bones when I wake up each morning and can’t move for the stiffness in my joints. It’s there when I’m so exhausted I can’t do a thing. It’s there when I have to turn down invitations and cancel plans because my body has a warped way of showing me who’s boss. 

I write these things so people realise how difficult it is to live with IBD. But despite it all, I’m grateful for the many, many blessings I DO have. If I could go back and change everything that’s happened in the last five years, I wouldn’t. My tests have strengthened me and made me the person I am. They have been a blessing from my Lord. 

Trusting in Allah

I do not expect your pity but I ask that you be kind and understanding. That is all. 

As always, please feel free to get in touch with me through email, Facebook and Instagram. I love hearing from you all! Details on the ‘Get In Touch’ page. If this is your first visit to my blog, do read my About page. Any questions, just ask! 

Stay happy. 

Please remember me and everyone else who’s facing difficulties in your prayers. 

Strawberry Tarts and Exciting Opportunities.. 

Assalamualaykum/hello again readers,

Following on from the previous post, I thought I’d continue with the updates. The main one is something I’m really excited yet slightly nervous about. I’ll be speaking at the Pelican Healthcare Live Your Life Roadshow in Birmingham on the 13th of June inshaAllah! That’s less than 10 days away! I’ll be talking about Cultural Issues Around Living With A Stoma. I can’t wait, it’s such a fantastic opportunity! 

You can probably tell that I’m slightly giddy from the excess use of exclamation marks. I do apologise. Normal service shall be resumed shortly. 

I’ve also been interviewed by Muslimah Bloggers and I’m their Featured Blogger for this month! Do click the link and check it out! 

I’m feeling very grateful, I’ve just been blogging for a year (has it really been that long?!) and none of this would have happened if I hadn’t decided to start this blog with the encouragement my of my friends. And if it wasn’t for the support of you lovely readers, I very much doubt that I’d have kept up with it. I have a special skill in starting things and not finishing them :p I passed my 1-year Blogaversary a few days ago. Things are really looking up. 

So…

I’ve FINALLY received an appointment for my eyes. According to the eye hospital, I’ve missed three previous appointments. I just don’t see how this is possible as I didn’t receive any letters or text message reminders. I receive a text reminder for all my NHS appointments and I’ve never deleted any but these ones aren’t there. But I’ve finally received an appointment through for the end of this month. I’m feeling so hopeful.. I want to try scleral lenses. They’re a different type of lenses that are rather big but they’re supposed to be very comfortable and give great vision. It’s my last hope now. No doubt my doctor will suggest a corneal transplant again but I’m not ready for that yet! I know it would make the anxiety and PTSD a lot worse if I went through another surgery. 

I’m scared too, in case they don’t work for me. I remember how hopeful I was for surgery and I was devastated when they changed the date. I don’t want to go through that again. I keep reminding myself that it’s all in Allah’s hands and if I’m meant to see again with these lenses, I will. If not.. Well, I’ve become pretty nifty with the cane! 

On a much happier note, I ordered this lovely Ostobear from Stomawise and I can’t get over how cute she is! 

   

Bella’s ileostomy!


She has a stoma just like mine!  Yes, I AM a 26 year old who’s getting excited over a teddy bear lol! 
Now that the updates are out of the way, I can start writing about my day. 

I didn’t manage any sleep last night as I’d napped in the day but by 7AM I was feeling very determined to have a productive day. I haven’t had any of those recently, I just can’t seem to find the energy or motivation to do anything. I try so hard but I don’t get far. One of my favourite things to do used to be relaxing at my favourite coffee shop. I haven’t done that in a while. So I showered (using up a lot of energy!) and off I went. 

Well, I got there ok. Ordered myself a delicious mocha and strawberry tart. See these beauties? I reckon I deserved it! 

You can see my folded up cane in the lunch picture 🙂   

 

I couldn’t hold off the anxiety although I tried so hard 😦 for the most part, my hands were shaking. I relaxed a bit after about an hour or so when I ordered lunch but it came back. Being the stubborn idiot I am, I decided to stay on and fight it. I didn’t want to give in again. I still needed to go to Boots to pick up my medication so off I went. I’d been out of the house for a couple of hours by this point and I thought it was going pretty well, considering. I handed over my prescription and sat down to wait… And that’s when it happened. My heart started beating very fast and very loudly, my breathing was becoming shorter and I was having trouble remembering how do it properly. Yes, another panic attack smack in the middle of Boots. Yay me! I tried breathing deeply but it’s SO hard when my lungs don’t want to cooperate. They seem to forget their purpose. It took a few very scary minutes to calm myself down and I just wanted to be home. I know I should’ve called someone and asked for a lift home but I’m pretty stubborn and I was only 10 minutes away. Somehow, I managed to walk home. I’ve walked these streets hundreds of times but this was the scariest journey I’ve taken in my own area, where I was born and grew up. I’m still not sure how I got home. I remember almost stumbling a few times but Alhamdulillah I didn’t fall. I was so very thankful to see my lovely bedroom again. I’m never complaining about the creaky floor again! (At least, not for a while….) 
I was supposed to go to the mosque at 5PM but I’d fallen asleep so I missed that too. Feeling pretty rubbish that I can’t even go out without feeling extreme anxiety and having a panic attack. I know it’s not my fault and I can’t control it but it doesn’t ease the guilt. 

I also seem to have lost my usual writing style somewhere. I know I’m not as engaging, funny or interesting as usual but everything I’m going through seems to have have had something to do with that. I only ask that you forgive me and keep me in your prayers. Things really are starting to get better bit by bit alhamdulillah  so hopefully the blog can go back to being as inspiring as it once was! I try to be as honest as possible.  Even I’ve had bad days, I didn’t hide it. You all saw how I felt. I’ve shared all the good times too. Because this is what chronic illness is, even the strongest warriors struggle at times. 

Thank you for sticking with me ❤️ it means a lot to know that people care. 

As always, please feel free to get in touch through Facebook, Instagram or email. I love receiving feedback and constructive criticism! 

An Update…

Assalamualaykum/hello readers,

A huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you who stayed with me these few weeks, that have been some of the darkest times of my life. Thank you to everyone who messaged, emailed, called, came to visit, thought of me and most importantly, prayed for me. It means such a lot to know that such wonderful people exist. Most of you have never met me but the amount of support has been astounding. Even more surprisingly, (for me, anyway) none of you told me I’m a bad person for feeling this way which is pretty much I’d been telling myself. I’m still working on that, it’ll take a while for the message to sink in completely. 
I thought I’d post an update on my situation. The last time I wrote, I was in intense pain, surrounded by darkness and couldn’t see a way out. I had absolutely no hope that I would get through this. Now, Alhamdulillah (thank God) things are slowly, very slowly, starting to look up. I won’t say that that feeling has passed as it hasn’t. But I’m learning to hope again. I’ve had a few days where I haven’t cried or had panic attacks. It’s still tough but it’s getting better Alhamdulillah. 

Truly, as Allah says in the Quran:

  
So I have a whole lotta updates for you all! I reckon I’ll go in date order and try to remember everything.  

A couple of days after my last blog, I saw a psychiatrist and went to see my doctor. Both on the same day. I was nervous, scared, apprehensive and dreading the visit to the doctor as I’d just registered with a new surgery and wasn’t sure how things would work out. 

Turns out I needn’t have worried. The doctor was absolutely lovely, she listened to everything I had to say and believed me. That’s a big thing for me. With invisible illnesses – and especially one such as IBD which is so complex, most doctors tend to use the textbook approach. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to work for me. So I was so relieved when I wasn’t dismissed outright. That should tell you something about the experiences I’ve had. 

I was prescribed Lorazepam, which is a fast-acting anti-anxiety medication. It was only for a week as it’s addictive and shouldn’t be taken for long. What a difference it made lol… Not only was I constantly drowsy, I seem to have suffered severe memory loss. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I’ve been up to that week or what I ate. I usually have pretty bad brain fog but this was something else entirely! But it definitely helped the anxiety. I’d say it cut the panic attacks down by about 98%. That’s pretty good. Before I started taking it, I was having a few panic attacks every day. Anything would set them off – shouting, a door slamming, being scared of something, the thought of leaving the house… It wasn’t a lot of fun. So Lorazepam definitely helped. I was pretty upset when the week was up as things went back to how they were.. The previous two posts should give you an indication of how bad that is. 

The meeting with the psychiatrist really shocked me. I thought I was pretty clever by not saying much but she had me sussed and knew exactly what I was thinking – and how I’ve been blaming myself for feeling like this. There’s too much guilt. That hasn’t gone away, it’s not something I can change easily but I’m hopeful I can work on that. 

I went back to the doctor yesterday and we had a chat.. It seems I have both Anxiety and Depression. And the two make each other worse. It makes sense. With the anxiety, I feel too much. It’s overwhelming. So much darkness. Sadness. Hopelessness. And with the depression, I feel nothing. So some days I’m feeling too much and want to scream in pain and other days I’m completely numb. I’m not happy, I’m not excited about anything, I don’t react to news of any sort. Just nothing. I don’t know which is worse. 

I’ve also been referred for PTSD treatment. That’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This was a hard one to stomach. I’ve suspected that this is the problem for a while but I didn’t want to admit it. It’s something which soldiers returning from combat suffer from. People who have been abused. People who have suffered severe trauma. How could I have this?! Turns out it can also be caused by severe illness and/or medical trauma. 

This is the side of IBD that is rarely talked about and there isn’t nearly enough mental health support offered. Being diagnosed with a serious illness and being told that it’s for life has a severe impact. Having major surgery to remove the large bowel is a lot to deal with. Trying to decide whether to have surgery or put up with the constant pain and exhaustion is a huge decision and if things don’t go as planned, there’s a heck of a lot of guilt. IBD patients need to be offered counselling and mental health support as standard. Some places list depression as a symptom of IBD. Why then is this part of it largely ignored until things become very serious? 

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I think I know what’s happened here. I’ve been far too strong for too long. In the last five years, I’ve not only dealt with IBD and two major surgeries, I had a lot of personal and work-related problems in the midst of flares. I didn’t allow myself to be human.. I had to be strong. I forced myself to keep going, even when I was physically and mentally unable to. I was much, much stronger than I needed to be and it’s all come crashing down. I wouldn’t cry. I felt I had to be superhuman and not ‘weak’. This was my lot and I would deal with it no matter what. But it wasn’t the right way. It helps to talk, I should have done more of that. Of course there were times when I was scared, angry and frustrated. But I felt I was letting people down if I allowed the smile to slip from my face. I doing that, I caused more damage to myself. So it all built up and the breakdown was inevitable. The brain is complex. I can’t understand how it works. But this seems to be what’s happened with me. I could be completely wrong but it all makes a twisted sort of sense. I wish I’d seen that it’s okay not to be okay. That I needed to learn to say no sometimes, realise I needed to make decisions which wouldn’t harm my health , that I didn’t need to try so hard so others didn’t worry – I didn’t need that burden. But what’s done is done and now the only thing I’m focusing on is feeling better. I’ve cancelled my talks at the mosque and I’m learning to actually take care of myself and not be afraid to feel human. And I’m trying really hard not to feel like I’ve let everyone down. 

I’m probably going to stop writing here because I’m exhausted. So in conclusion, things are a bit better than before but I have a very long way to go.  For the first time in a while, I have hope that everything will work out ok. And that’s something I’m going to hold on to with everything I’ve got. 

I’ll have to continue this post later on this evening or tomorrow. Thank you for sticking with me and remembering me in your prayers/Duas. Knowing that so many of you are thinking of me, sending messages and praying for me continues to give me strength. 

I’m absolutely shattered but I had to finish writing this post. I apologise because I know it’s not my usual style. It’s not even half of what I wanted to say and I have some great news but it’ll have to wait for now! 

Take care all. 

Fight Like A Girl

I’ve written about fighting IBD so many times. That I’m not going to let it beat me. I refuse to let it get the better of me. I will continue to resist. I won’t be made to feel weak. And for almost five years. I did this rather brilliantly. My previous blog posts are full of incidents where I bounced back after feeling so ill. Every time. 

(Btw, if you’re new to my blog, please check out About Me here. Thanks.)

So what’s so different about this time?

Following on from the previous two posts, I’m not feeling any better. I’m still having panic attacks every day. I still can’t stop crying. I can’t do any of the things I used to enjoy. There’s a deep pain inside that doesn’t ease. A gut-wrenching pain (although my guts have already been wrenched so I suppose I’d better call it heart-wrenching instead) that seems almost unreal. I feel that if I was to scream, I would shatter everything around me with the pain and intensity of it. I feel empty. Emotionless. Completely numb. Nothing matters. I don’t understand how the world still carries on. I’m crumbling, and only a very tiny number of close friends believe me. Everyone else just sees how strong I’ve been and thinks I’ll be able to pick myself up again. 


Not this time. 

This is nothing like I’ve felt before. I’ve had depression for a while. It isn’t an easy thing to live with. This is so intense, so much worse. I’m locked in the dark chasms of my mind and there’s no way out.
But finally, finally, I’m starting to realise a few things. The tiniest chink of hope. Not enough to be seen. But it’s there. I’m going to hold onto it with everything I’ve got because I have nothing else. 

1) It doesn’t matter if I don’t understand why it’s happening. 

I didn’t cause this. I didn’t bring it upon myself by not praying enough or by being negative. I can’t talk myself out of it. I don’t understand why it’s happening… And that’s ok. Maybe I’m not supposed to understand. Maybe I’m meant to go through it to make me a better person. Maybe I’m meant to go thorough it to help others in the future. Whatever the reason, Allah (God) always has the best plan. I’ve finally stopped questioning why. I never questioned why I have IBD and I see now that this is also a test. I need to treat it the same. Just because it’s a mental illness doesn’t mean I have to understand why it’s happening. It isn’t any less real. 

2) Tests come in many forms. 

This is the most difficult test I’ve ever faced. It’s taken me a while to understand that simply because I can’t control the thoughts, it doesn’t make me ungrateful. Thinking back, I couldn’t control my colon. It was vicious, attacking itself until it nearly ruptured and I almost died. That didn’t make me ungrateful. This doesn’t either.  In this case, my mind is attacking. I have a name for what’s wrong but I’m not keen on sharing it yet. Yes, it’s serious. But there are ways to help and I pray and hope I get the right treatment. 

3) I really, really don’t like being told to think positive right now. 

Positive thinking is good. It helps us get through dark times. It’s been proven to make people feel better. I should know, I was always positive. Didn’t complain. But in this case, if it would have worked, that’s what I’d have been doing. When I say I can’t, I mean I actually can’t. So please don’t tell me to give myself a talking to. Or to just think positive. You may mean well. But think of how much it hurts me that this person isn’t even trying to believe me. 

4) I just want people to listen. 

That’s been the most important thing. Solutions haven’t helped me yet. I’m physically unable to do a lot of things. More tears, more pain every time I even think about trying. Panic attacks too. But I value and appreciate those who’ve believed me. I’ve been doubting myself a lot. I still do. But they’ve helped me feel.. Relief. I won’t say I feel better because that would be a lie. I think they understand that. But they believe me when I say I can’t go on anymore. That it’s all too much and I feel suffocated, drowning in my pain. On that note, don’t let this post fool you. Those feelings haven’t eased.
They don’t tell me I’ve dealt with more because it won’t help me now. When I have more hope, maybe it’ll help then. If this gets easier, maybe. It means everything to me right now to be believed because most don’t. I’m supposed to be the strong one. I’m not supposed to be feeling like this. But I am, and it’s very real. 

5) I’m still fighting. 

I realised this last night and it’s the reason I wrote this post. I’m fighting it. I’ve been posting about it a lot on Instagram. Writing out my thoughts. Some don’t agree, say I’m being negative and it doesn’t help. But every time I write, I’m trying. I’m trying so hard to fight it. I haven’t got far, but maybe it’ll start helping. I’ve been reaching out to people, hoping someone out there will offer a shred of wisdom and it’ll all make sense. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response on the blog, Facebook and Instagram. Thank you to each and every one of you who got in touch. I’m sorry I haven’t replied yet, I just haven’t felt up to it. But I will InshaAllah (God willing). 

I’m not giving in to the thoughts. Even writing and talking is fighting. This is the strongest I’ve ever been. And the weakest.