Posted on 09 Sep 2021
Whether you have been newly diagnosed, or have been living with IBD for a long period of time, disclosing the details of your condition with others in your life may feel difficult to do.
You may experience feelings of embarrassment, uncertainty or shame around your condition, due to the sensitive nature of the symptoms it may cause. It’s really important to remember that although your condition is a part of your life – it is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is also completely up to you whether or not you share your diagnosis or experience with others.
We have put together a quick list of things to consider when approaching the subject of IBD with those around you, just in case you are looking for a bit of support in the process!
We suggest thinking about the WHO, WHAT and HOW:
Your diagnosis of IBD isn’t anyone’s business but your own. Don’t feel pressure to share information with others if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. However, if there are people in your life that you feel comfortable telling – having support can be a crucial part of your health and wellbeing journey.
Once you have decided who you would like to share your diagnosis or IBD experience with, begin to think about what aspects and details you feel comfortable sharing with them. Perhaps you want to simply tell them what the condition is and that you are living with it, or maybe you want to tell them the more specific details of what you experience because of your condition. There is no right or wrong amount of information to share – decide what feels comfortable for you and know that you can always disclose more in the future if/when you are ready to do so.
There is no right or wrong way to share your health information with someone else. However, you may want to take into consideration various factors before doing so. For example, some people may not want to know the intimate details of your condition, while others may want to know everything. When sharing with others, don’t be afraid to go slowly or at a pace that feels comfortable to you and the other person – so that you can decide whether or not you want to provide further details and the person you are telling can also share their thoughts in the process. Also, choose the right environment for you – for example one that makes you feel comfortable and feels appropriate to you and the person you’re speaking with (ex. your house versus a public setting).
Having a support system is important – but not everyone has people in their lives that can provide them with the support they need. There are many online communities and resources that you can join/access to gain additional support in your life.
Here are some that we recommend:
- Ampersand Health’s Instagram
- Ampersand Health’s IBD Articles
- Crohn’s and Colitis UK Forum
- Crohn’s and Colitis Support Resources
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