Thursday, September 11, 2008

Why Bright Side?

Readers might ask, what's the bright side of Crohn's? A strange name for a blog, I'm sure, and if anyone knows the real answer, I'm all ears. No... it's not about some wry attempt at making light of Crohn's -- "The weight-loss program that works!" ba dum ching! -- no, it's about the general philosophy I try to live by. I always try to look for the positives in my life. Count my blessings. It sounds trite, but it works.

Ok, if you, dear reader are suffering from Crohn's, some other illness, or just dealing with one of the many possible sources of suffering in our lives, I have a project for you. Go grab a piece of paper and a pen. Yes, real paper, don't use your computer- having a physical result helps. Now, at the top write a title like "My Blessings", or "Good Things In My Life". Next, write the numbers 1 to 20 down the margin. Now, I want you to fill that list with all the bright sides in your life. Your blessings. I know you have at least 20. If you fill 20, add 5 more. Keep doing that till you just can't rack your brain for more. Fold up the list and carry it with you, it might take a few days to complete it, and it will change with time. The items can be big and serious, or small and light-hearted. To help you out, here are a few random items from my list of over 50:

- Parents that love and support me.
- An amazing super-hero, dragon-slaying husband.
- My beautiful baby boy.
- The most awesome group of friends.
- A close relationship with my siblings.
- Finally getting a diagnosis, and starting treatment.
- A country that is free, and has free health care.
- My intelligence and love of learning.
- My Xbox360. Who needs mobility to have fun! :)
- Being able to work from home as needed.

You get the idea. Now you can jazz up your list with some coloured pens, and keep it with you. When things get bad, and the weight of your illness feels like it's tainting your soul... whip out that list, and remind yourself that it's not ALL bad. In fact, there's a lot to be thankful for.

Now, I'm not saying to just count your blessings and it will ease your suffering; there's nothing I hate more than the "Don't worry, be happy" advice (which I get from a surprising number of people). But I do believe that we sometimes lose ourselves mentally in our symptoms, and we can add to the suffering of our illness. There are so many positive things in my life to think about.

I hope this helps at least one person. Then I could count that as a Bright Side of this blog! Post some of your own blessings in the comments below!


  1. Bright Side, you've got the best Crohn's blog I've seen yet. And it's a crowded field. I have a daughter (8) with Crohn's (diagnosed around the same time as you, actually), and since then I've become a blog-lurker (the mirror compulsion to yours, I guess). Anyway, thanks, and good luck healing up.

  2. Thank you Liz! That means a lot. I hope your daughter makes it through her flare up soon.

    Don't forget not to lurk too much on forums and blogs. The thing is, people who are suffering greatly, tend to post on forums and blogs for support and to vent. But people who have come through it and are feeling great, or people with a less severe Crohn's tend to post less frequently b/c they are busy living their lives. So by looking online you can get a skewed view that having Crohn's is just horrible all the time. It's hard, yes, but there are good times and light at the end of the tunnel too. Don't forget that!

  3. Hello, "Bright Side", hope you are doing well! I have been sick for the past 3 years with Crohn's, but here in the US, health care is hard to come by, so I never saw a doctor, until April and May of 2008, when it was so bad that I had to go to the ER. I was referred to a place that will help people who can't afford it with health care, and after a few tests, was finally diagnosed on September 30th 2008. I'm in the process of forming a path to being well again, so that I can enjoy what life has to offer. And in researching, I found your blog here, which was a bit of a pick me up. I'm totally going to make that list of blessings. Every step counts. Good luck to you, and everyone who suffers from IBD (or anything else for that matter).

  4. Thanks Autumn! It's wonderful that you have finally received a diagnosis. That's the first step to getting proper treatment. Good luck to you too, and thanks for your comments!

  5. Hi BrightSide. I love your blog - keep it up. I'm 66 years of age and have had Crohn's since I was 18. So I'd be very happy to hear that anyone ever recovered completely from Crohns, but alas remissions from crohns usually means just a reduction of the symptoms to the degree where you can live a more normal life. I was able to do that thankfully for a number of years.

    But, alas again, as you start to reach your golden years that durn thing starts coming back at you with a vengance, and that's my current state.

    I hope all is well with you now. I realise that I am commenting on quite a dated post and that you may no longer be there yo respond, but thank you for all you've written here.

  6. Hi Terrence, thanks for reading! I'm still around and writing for the blog, however I'm expecting my first baby in a few weeks so I've slowed down.

    I hope you find a resolution soon to your recent flare up!

    Bright Side