A blog about living with ulcerative colitis and healing a flare using integrative medicine
I’ve come to believe that socialization is good for the soul (I know, surprise surprise), and therefore the colon. Unfortunately, when I’m not feeling well, the last thing I want to do is be around people, even my good friends. But Thursday night I was feeling up for heading over to a friend’s house to give her my Christmas gift before she leaves to visit family in Georgia, and to my surprise, another friend of ours was there too, and we hung out until 10, later than I expected I would be there. It was a treat to feel like everything was semi-normal as we sat in her living room catching up (minus the fact that I ate rice cakes while they ate pizza and ice cream). One thing that came up was how we would spend New Year’s Eve, which at this point in our lives would typically be spent in Boston or at a party, neither of which I felt like I’m feeling well enough to do. I expressed this and somewhat shyly said how at this point, I get stressed out thinking about such energy-intensive activities that are away from my comfort zone.
This past semester, I really didn’t see any friends, even the ones who lived literally around the corner from my apartment. I’ve become used to spending my time alone – something I’ve always been comfortable with, but have never been so attached to. However, being at my friend’s house Thursday night showed me that I am capable of enjoying myself while with others and away from home, and I was reminded of how nice it is to be around my good friends. Of course, it helped that I was feeling pretty well – this would not have been as enjoyable if I wasn’t doing as well as I was – but the thing is, I hadn’t realized I was ready for such socialization until I went out and did it.
The next night, a couple of my friends in Boston were having a get-together at their apartment to recognize the end of the world (this was 12.21.12) and because one of them has graduated and will be traveling and then relocating to San Francisco. Since I hadn’t spent much time with either of them since last spring, I really wanted to go, and I did! The interesting thing is, I’m not sure I would have had the confidence or motivation to drive into Boston for this if I hadn’t hung out with my local friends the night before. Again, I ate rice cakes while everyone else ate…well, nothing; they just had alcohol in various forms. Also, I had a pretty long conversation with my friend about eczema, so there is really no escape from how my health has affected my life lately, but still, it was fun to see old and new faces and talk and laugh about things besides intestines.
I got home at 1:30am and slept in until about 1:30pm the next day. Then that night I met up with a couple local friends again and I got home at 1:30 again! (Oh and yes, more rice cakes in my belly and pizza and beer in theirs.)
So I’ve been really social lately, and it has been great. I had started to do better prior to these past few days, but I think I’ve continued to improve during these friend-filled days, maybe partially thanks to being around friends. But you know what’s interesting, is that my stools might not be much better than they were a few days ago; maybe the biggest change is that because of my higher spirits, I’m just worrying less about the same symptoms. But if colitis is related to stress (which it is, although I’ve never been able to pinpoint a correlation personally), then this should eventually help improve my physical health as well as my mental health.
Of course, I haven’t forgotten the importance of rest, either. I’ve been sleeping in to make up for these late nights, and I’m looking forward to staying in today and watching our latest Netflix movie. Everything in moderation!