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On Coping (and some updates)

It was really slow at work today and I found myself sucked into the forums over at the CCFA's website. A lot of what I read got me thinking I'd like to share some of the coping mechanisms that I've used over the years to vent some of the built-up steam over life with IBD.

The very first time I ever felt humbled about my illness was when I was first diagnosed and had been in the hospital for about a week and a half.  I was down on everything, could barely be dragged out of bed to stretch my legs, singing the "why me?" blues all day and night.  And then I got a new roommate- a six year-old with leukemia.  Well that snapped me out of it.  This kid was always happy, always playing with something, and constantly asking to go for walks to the maternity ward to look at babies.  I'm happy to report she's a happy, healthy twenty-something today, but back then she had death knocking at her door and there I was literally belly-aching.  It certainly put things in perspective for me.  Since then, I always try (and often fail) to think of scenarios that are worse than my own.

Other coping mechanisms throughout my high school years included playing the drums, taking art classes, hitting golf balls at the driving range, and clumsily pummelling a boxing bag in our backyard.   I also was, and continue to be, an avid colorer, preferring markers and design books like they sell at Pearl Paint over crayons and picture books.  I don't indulge in coloring as much anymore because I feel like there's not much of a productive outcome, but the meditative nature of coloring is nothing to be scoffed at.  Despite being raised Catholic I don't really subscribe to any particular religious belief, but I am a firm believer in making quiet time for yourself, be that in the form of prayer, meditation, coloring, whatever. 

I tried therapy a couple of times, but never had much luck finding a therapist that did anything but sit and "listen" before kicking me out after an hour.  I decided I have better luck staying home and talking to myself for free.  I do, however, take 10mg of Celexa, an anti-depressant in the SSRI class of drugs (Select Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitor, I think).  I could probably use 20mg, but I want it to be a tool and not a crutch.

This blog is my latest vent, but then writing has always had that benefit in my experience.  I don't play drums anymore, nor do I have the opportunity to golf much, but I have been trying to swim on my lunch break at least once a week.  In addition to helping me relax it's also been helpful in easing my leg pains and loosening up my back and shoulders.  I discovered how much I love yoga a few years ago, but I haven't done it in a while because I haven't quite been up to participating in a full-on class.  I've done some stretching at home on my own, but I'm eager to return to a class setting and do a complete hour routine. I find that, in addition to relaxing me, the quality of my poop is outstanding the morning after a good yoga class. 

On that note, let's transition into an update on my meds and poop.  I was having some malformed doodoos with hints of pink last week, and obviously that had me concerned.  My doc decided to have me stay at 15mg Prednisone for the time being, and called me in for a blood test to check my Imuran levels.  I've put the SCD routine on hold for now, and am back to my full dosage of Pentasa as of Wednesday (that's 3000mg a day). I also got my period on Monday.  I'm not sure if it's one or all of these variables, but I've slept completely through the night for the past four nights in a row, and today I took the biggest, most normal looking crap I've seen since I can't remember when.  You know, the kind you really want to show someone because you're so proud you made it but you know that would just do more harm than good. So that has me pretty happy.  I'm also happy to have a weekend that's not totally devoted to shopping and cooking (although both of those things are on the agenda).  So that's that for now.

Li'l Crohnsie


Lisa said...

Your post came at the perfect time because I am as down in the dumps over this stinking condition as I have ever been. I just can't seem to get myself out of this hole and it's making things even worse. I've been thinking about seeing my primary physician about an antidepressant and I think I'm going to make it happen. Right now I don't even want to leave the house. Thanks for the post.

Jane Doo said...

So sorry to hear that! Definitely let your doc know, but as with all meds it can be a trial-and-error process to find the right anti-depressant. And if there are any plausible ways to spoil yourself now, go for it- take a nice bubble bath or buy yourself a treat online. the internet can be an IBDer's best friend!

Steven Wright said...

@ Lisa - I'm not sure if you've exercised much in the past but it is the best natural anti-depressant out there! If you don't like lifting weights or cardio like Jane Doo says try yoga or I find even just going out for 15-20 minute walks especially when the sun is out to help out tremendously. You may also want to look in Vitamin D supplementation especially if you don't get outside much.

@ Jane Doo - I'm so happy you talked about the best crap you've had! HAHA that is the total truth! No-one ever really wants to see it but having one friend who sickly appreciates getting a picture message of a giant log in the toilet is priceless. I hope you get your med's figured out and give the SCD diet a try again. I think if you slow down a bit it could do you wonders.