The emotional side of an ostomy

Caitlin M<sup>c</sup>Ginnis

Caitlin McGinnis

How do we control our emotions while living with an ostomy? We don’t. Just like anything else in our lives, we need to let ourselves feel the emotion.

How do we control our emotions while living with an ostomy? We don’t. Just like anything else in our lives, we need to let ourselves feel the emotion. Any traumatic event can leave a lasting effect on someone.

I remember when I was diagnosed with UC, I didn’t think much about it. I knew I was sick but I was taking medication and didn’t have much control. When I spent a month in the hospital and had emergency surgery to remove my colon to save my life is when I truly realised I was in bad shape. This is when all the emotions and reality came. I knew that I would die if I didn’t have this surgery. Can you imagine what that does to someone’s state of mind?

Fast-forward 6 years to today, I have good moments and bad. The other morning I woke up with a bag leak (this is only the second time this has happened!). I was almost in tears because I was frustrated this has to happen to me. When I go out to eat with friends and my stomach doesn’t agree with something for whatever reason, I get upset that I’m in the bathroom for the rest of the night. When I meet other people that have ostomies and see that alcohol and salad doesn’t bother them, I get frustrated because I can’t enjoy those things without getting very sick. I definitely have pity-parties and that’s okay! We need to be okay with not being okay all the time.

Most of the time, I embrace my ostomy and I am grateful for being alive and healthy. There are days where I wish I were like my other friends that don’t have to worry about any of this crap. We have the right to be angry, sad, depressed, lonely, and afraid. It makes the happier moments more worth it.

Find a coping mechanism that works for you. Whether you talk with family/friends, work out, meditate, yoga, blog (like me!), arts/crafts or just relax at home. Please find something that can help you feel normal again and that will help you feel better when you’re feeling down.

Meet Caitlin

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