It Takes Guts


It Takes Guts

Sunday 19th May 2019 is ‘World Inflammatory Bowel Disease Day 2019’. This is a time to reflect and to raise awareness of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which are the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease affecting 300,000 people in the United Kingdom and millions more worldwide.

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of thirteen in November 2007. It took four years, blood test, colonoscopies and a second doctor’s opinion to get a diagnosis. This was after my first doctor stated the regular symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhoea, weight loss and vomiting I was experiencing were ‘imaginary’ and a product of an ‘over-anxious mother’. Since then I have undergone surgery, liquid diets and medication to try and manage the disease. In October 2013, during a flare-up that hospitalised me for six days, my potassium levels dropped to such a dangerously low level that I was put on emergency intravenous drips.

However, I have also graduated with a first-class honours degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from University of Hertfordshire; passed my driving practical test first time in an automatic car; completed a tandem skydive in June 2018 in aid of Crohn’s and Colitis UK and Dyspraxia Foundation; and have met many kind, support, determined, empathetic, passionate people living with hidden disabilities. As Crohn’s and Colitis UK have campaigned this year, it takes guts to live with this disease.

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It takes guts to live with a hidden disability where inside your intestine or colon is inflamed and ulcerated but on the outside you look like a ‘healthy’ and ‘normal’ boy or girl.

It takes guts to inject yourself with biologic treatments; take medication tablets with unwanted side effects; to go to hospital in order to survive; to cry in toilets; to feel so scared.

It takes guts to confront doubters, who claim you ‘don’t look sick enough’ to use the disabled toilet as you need to go or need to empty your stoma bag.

It takes guts to stand up to school bullies who call you ‘lazy’ or ‘stupid’, who laugh that your underweight or overweight, you are ‘different’.

It takes guts to say no to friends who have invited you out, because you are too exhausted, too anxious, too depressed to go along.

It takes guts to write poetry, to sing songs, to make videos to express how you truly feel.

It takes guts to talk, and realise you are not alone.

It takes guts to do what is right for you to get through the day.

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Thank you for your kindness and supporting me living with Crohn’s disease, dyspraxia, anxious and depression. I am proud to have written most of these words whilst sitting on the toilet. I will not let any of my conditions beat me, and that in itself takes guts.


It takes guts to talk, and realise you are not alone....Copyright © 2019 It Takes Guts. All rights reserved. 

Mum


Mum

I would like to wish you all a very happy Mother’s Day 2019 here on Sunday 31st March 2019. I know I would not be here without mine in more ways than one. Thank you for all the laughter, the smiles, the hugs and believing in me through the good times and bad living with hidden disabilities and mental health conditions.

I have written a poem titled ‘Mum’ to explore how much she means to me, and to show that mums are wonderful. 

Mum

Mum,
You believe me when I say I am ill, when they do not,
Your ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ routines make me laugh a lot.
You light up the room, make the darkest English skies so bright,
You make me proud you challenge systems that are not right.
You talk to strangers in supermarkets, banks, ques,
Then embarrass me like all parents do.
You terrify all the monsters that want to take me away.
You make life magical, worth living, in every way.
There is so much more I would like to say,
But remember this, I will love you always.

But remember this, I will love you always...Copyright © 2019 Safetykart. All rights reserved. 


Alive


Alive

In the most violent of storms, look towards the lighthouse guiding your way
In the heaviest of showers, find the pot of gold at ends of rainbows
On the cloudiest of days, search for the patch of blue in the sky
When the sun descends into the horizon, remember it will always rise

When knives and needles bite in your arm, stroke your mother’s hand
When boys shove you in school corridors, get up and stand
When fake friends leave you, remember real ones who stayed
When loss and terror scare you, know that things can change                                  

On the darkest of days, when you feel like disappearing
Think of sunshine, starlight, rainbows appearing
Think of snowdrops, laughter, skiing and skydive,
If you do one thing, please, stay alive.


If you do one thing, please, stay alive...Copyright © 2019 Nature Wallpapers HD. All rights reserved. 

Blue Skies


Blue Skies

2018 has been a challenging, frightening, exciting year for me. I had a minor urine infection; had a colonoscopy and an MRI ‘Small Bowel Study’; have recently started the biological treatment, Adalimumab ‘HUMIRA’ in order to treat a stricture of my small bowel due to my Crohn’s disease; have been overwhelmed with anxiety; felt extremely low on difficult days; and have seen the further decline of my dad’s health due to his primary-progressive multiple sclerosis.

However, there were many positives and achievements. Some of the highlights include:
        Passing my driving practical test first time in an automatic car with four driving faults. This led on to getting my own car and driving on the motorway.
        Completing a tandem skydive in aid of Crohn’s and Colitis UK and Dyspraxia Foundation. Thanks to your donations, we raised over £2,000.
        Joining a gym to improve my physical and mental health.
        Being a finalist for ‘The President’s Award’ at the St Albans District Chamber of Commerce’s Community Business Awards 2018.
        Doing a bit of travelling.
        Working on writing projects.
        Appearing on Trident Media Radio in association with University of Hertfordshire, Radio Verulam and BBC Three Counties Radio and in The Herts Advertiser.
        Raising awareness of hidden disabilities and mental health conditions.
        Spending time with loved ones, friends and yourself.

I also learnt that is important to be kind to yourself; it is okay not to be okay; and to always believe in yourself. You are amazing.

Resolutions for 2019
It is currently Tuesday 1st January 2019 as I write this article and the year ahead is uncertain. Like always there will be difficult times but there will also be a fun, emotional and lifechanging moments. Like every year I set some possible goals to aim for.

Here are some of mine for 2019:
        Spend time with the people I care about. You are the reason why I am still here.
        Become a published author of children’s and young adult fiction novels.
        Travel the world as there is so many beautiful places to see.
        Raise lots more awareness of hidden disabilities and mental health conditions.
        Ultimately, to be happy.

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I want to say thank you once again. You are the reason I keep writing; keep speaking; keep living. It means so much that I have you. You make the cloudiest of the skies the brightest shade of blue.

Jake Borrett completing his tandem skydive in aid of Crohn's and Colitis UK and Dyspraxia Foundation in June 2018...Copyright © 2019- Jake Borrett. All rights reserved.                  

Scars


Scars

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of thirteen in November 2007. This was four years after a doctor branded my regular symptoms of my health condition as ‘imaginary’ and a product of an ‘over-anxious mother’.   

Since being diagnosed I have been on lots of medication; tried various food and liquid diets; had bowel resection surgery in July 2010; and in October 2013 had a flare-up that hospitalised me for nearly a week, during which my potassium levels were dangerously low I could have died. I have also made so many lifelong friends, and completed a tandem skydive for Crohn’s and Colitis UK and Dyspraxia Foundation in June 2018.

One of the many lessons I have learnt living with Crohn’s disease as well as dyspraxia, anxiety and depression, is health conditions, both physical and mental, are very ‘hidden’. If you were to look at me you would see a boy in his twenties. You would not see the hospital visits; the crying in the toilets; the bullying in the school corridors; the caring responsibilities of looking after a dad who has primary-progressive multiple sclerosis.

As we are coming to the end of ‘Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week 2018’ I wanted to share a poem with you. Scars is inspired by all the experiences mentioned above, especially the ‘hidden’ nature of health conditions. I am thankful that there are many people including yourself who are willing to listen to my story. Thank you for making these ‘hidden’ aspects more visible.

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Scars

When I look at myself I see a scared boy.
I see him crouching over the toilet with brown
Shit dripping down his arm, cursing as the burning
Never stops. I see him being told by his doctor that
He made this nightmare up; that it was ‘imaginary’.
That’s a scar.

When I look at myself I see a vulnerable boy.
I see him being bullied in school for being ‘different’
As he can’t run, can’t write, can’t read, can’t speak.
I see him being teased for needing that little extra help
So he doesn’t become another shadow in the corridor.
That’s a scar.

When I look at myself I see a lonely boy.
I see him without his dad carrying him up high
On his shoulders, standing over the darkness below.
I see him alone in the hallway listening to old voices,
Old memories from the one who slipped into the night.
That’s a scar.

But you don’t see this boy when you look at me.
You don’t see the cursing in hospital.
You don’t see the bullying at school.
You don’t see the mourning at home.
You see a ‘normal boy’ when you look at me.
That’s the deepest scar of all.

That's the deepest scar of all...Copyright © 2018 Rakicevic Nenad. All rights reserved.