If you feel lost and upset about ostomy life, here’s a reminder that your feelings are important.

Why do we often answer, "I'm fine," when the honest answer would be much different?

Keeping my feelings or ostomy secretive and isolating myself from life can grow so comfortable, I may not see the signs that I need help.

I smile, but I want to cry. I’m quiet, but I want to talk. I pretend to be happy, but I’m not. Some days it’s just hard, and nobody knows what I'm truly feeling on the inside.

In moments like this, it's easy to feel alone. But you’re not. You have a connection with others who understand what you're going through. Be comforted knowing that grief is simply a reaction to change, and change is an essential part of the journey. 

As I go about my day, I have confidence that the people I know and love are supporting me. Even people I’ve never met have a direct effect on my life as they speak words of encouragement. I am grateful for the hope it brings to guide me through every challenge.

The next time someone asks me, "How are you doing?" I am going to assume this person is genuinely interested in my well-being and wants to listen to what I have to share. I graciously accept their comfort as I acknowledge and express my true feelings. 

Like other skills, the ability to communicate how I feel is strengthened through practice. I will do my part in consciously slowing my physical and mental activities to offer more space for peace, rest and guidance.

We all have moments where we at our life and break down because of everything we've been through. It’s okay to admit you're not okay. And you don’t have to be happy about your ostomy, or even like it. It’s normal, it’s OK, and we support you.

“Living with Crohn’s disease since age 17 has taken its toll on me. Add to that the many treatments and surgeries over a 26-year period which left me with a permanent colostomy. Developing Hodgkin’s Lymphoma three years ago has put me over the edge, since it was a direct result of my treatment plan for Crohn’s. I am finding myself more and more depressed.

My therapist says it’s a direct result of the traumatic nature of my health events. I’ve never realized until today that seeing the struggles of other people only drives me into deeper depression. 2018 is my year to repair the damage done to my mind and create a healthier mental environment. I only hope that over time, life will become easier.” 

– Douglas Yakich, photographer at Isabee Photography 

We're all just trying to figure things out. Be patient with yourself, we love you.

We're all just trying to figure things out. Be patient with yourself, we love you.

This article was made possible by a sponsorship from our friends at Nu-Hope Laboratories.