I have said this probably 584321085 times already on this blog, but I’ll say it again, it is SO important that you connect with others who have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. It was the key ingredient in shaping who I am today. I went from a girl who was embarrassed about her disease and who isolated herself, to this girl right here who is typing this blog to you. I can now talk about my disease, and above that I am able to write my blog and do my videos. It’s all because I met people, in real life, who have my disease. It is hands down the best thing I ever did for myself.
I am writing this blog right now because on Thursday I am having a sleepover with two friends I have not met in person before. And I am telling you that to point out that making connections is easy (if you live in an area that people exist). So I would like to mention how proud I am of my new friend Jillian. Back in June Jillian took a step out of her comfort zone to add me on facebook and message me. She said, “I think it’s you that I watched a video or two of…” What a small world, we found out we both lived pretty close to each other! As I got to know this sweet girl I found out that only recently has she started to open up about things online. She’s been having a very difficult time recently and she could really use some friends who understand. You guys understand that right?! My new friend Jillian did a brave thing and she invited me and our mutual friend Taryn (who I have also never met) over for a “Sick Girl Sleepover”. How awesome is that! I think that we should all take a moment here and give both Taryn and Jillian an internet round of applause. To be honest, I am nervous too. I am always nervous when it comes to meeting new people because believe it or not, i’m shy. It’s true you guys!
The cool thing about having friends who share your condition is you can do things like name your events “sick girl sleepover” and everyone understands that laying around in comfy jammies is the required dress code, and that the night will consist of tons of talking, bonding, laughing, and running back and forth to the bathroom. ;P Friends like this understand when you have to cancel or alter plans or when you are not feeling well.
Over the past 3 years there has been a huge shift in my social circles. I have more friends with IBD than without. My best friends are mostly people I’ve met online and then met in person or have met at an event in my area. I know it’s not possible for everyone to do things like this based on where you live and what is available to you. But I also know that so many of you express to me how you wish you had friends in real life with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Sometimes all it takes is taking a step out of your comfort zone to meet someone. You can even take the initiative and set up a support group in your area!