This blog post has been sitting in my drafts for almost 3 months, I’ve been scared to post it as I know its a very sensitive subject particularly for people who suffer with endometriosis and women’s health issues. I know that this post may make me come across as a less likeable person and if I was posting I was pregnant it would probably be one of my most liked and read but it is something that I wanted to share.
It seems like everybody is having babies right now and being married for 3 years I often get asked “when I plan to have children?” It often surprises people when I respond with either never or we aren’t planning on it. Even in 2019 it is still seen as one of life’s stepping stones to get married, get a house and then spend the majority of your adult life raising children. If you have children you’ll probably disagree with some of the points I write in this post but it’s my blog and I will only ever be completely real with no bullshit.
It all seems very pressured to me that a woman is expected to want and have children, even more so for myself with endometriosis. It is almost like because I have a condition which could cause infertility that I should want children even more so than the next woman. I have had comments such as “you don’t know what it is to be a woman until you have children” and “you’ve never experienced real love until you look into your babies eyes” “You’re running out of time” and my favourite “You’ll change your mind” which I appreciate that is how some women feel and I am thrilled for them. However I have no concerns about time or internal body clocks, I want my time for myself and there are so many ways I can feel love and be a woman without having a child. In the same way that women are celebrated for being pregnant, why can’t women who choose not to be as well? It almost seems ok to judge someone for choosing to be child free.
In all honesty having children has never appealed to me, I’m not maternal and I do not get broody around babies. It’s not that I hate children but I can’t say that I’m particularly fond of them either. I have beautiful nieces and nephews which I adore but I am very happy to see them for brief periods of time after which they go home with their parents. I could go on and list all of the things I dislike about children but I am sure you know someone who has one who could give you all of the disadvantages themselves and I don’t want to come across as a complete hater.
I love my life how it is and I know that this would not be the case with a child included. Yes I have illnesses but I also get to do what I want when I want, I sleep all night, I have a quiet house when I want it to be quiet, I go on great holidays, put myself first and see my current family as complete. It’s not all about the superficial and material aspects of life for sure, it’s also about the effort and work that goes into raising a child from birth to adult. A feat that I am in awe of women for doing especially the ones who still go out there and work full time jobs while raising beautiful, amazing humans. My conditions obviously do contribute to my decision; I don’t know how much of a good parent I would be suffering with what I have, perhaps my maternal side isn’t there because I have them, who knows?
I am completely content in my choice to be child free and can see my future staying that way. I look forward to retiring and not having a 20 year old still living at home or having to subsidise someones life with the money I worked so hard for all of my life. I also feel at the age of 30 I am too old to even consider wanting children as I’d be almost 50 by the time they were adults themselves. I know 30 is young but to me I just cannot picture my life in 20 years having children or young adults that need me as a parent.
In conversations around the subject I often feel as if I need to defend my answers, I’ve never felt offended by this but I wish people would not make assumptions that just because they have chosen to do something in their life that so should I. Often my wife and myself will get questions such as “is it because of Abi’s health?” or is “it because you’re in a same sex relationship so it is slightly more difficult?”, the answer to both is always no and we are both completely happy with our decisions. I am very lucky in that my wife does share the same opinions as me in this area, we have a very gorgeous, very spoilt dog Eric who is more than enough for us to take care of.
I don’t doubt that many women lead very fulfilling and full lives with children and I make no judgement on anyone who does want to start a family. It is just purely something that isn’t for me and I have different goals and aspirations in life. Maybe I will regret it when I’m older, maybe I’ll end up old and alone but I have to live in the present and for who I am right now. This isn’t like a savings account where I need to do it now to make sure I’m covered in the future. I can’t live my life for a future I have no control over.
In reading about other women who feel the same way as me I came across multiple who felt ashamed by their decision and I completely agree with them. I myself feel that I’m judged for not wanting to reproduce, it’s something I need to work on mentally as guilt and shame are not good to be carrying around. Even writing this post I am worried that people will see me as less of a good person, cynical or less caring which couldn’t be further from the truth. The cultural norms and traditions in society have created this life path for women to follow and the ones who don’t follow it come across as outcasts, less empathetic and less understanding.
I am so happy for people when they have babies as I know that its bringing joy into their life, so I’m definitely not against people pro-creating and their is no hidden agenda behind my choices. I just really wanted to be completely open and honest about my thoughts on this, I love that people read my blog but it is such a release for me as well being able to put my thoughts into a place where I can share them with other like minded people.
If you are reading this and share my same thoughts your not alone!
Back in February I had my first ever colonoscopy and whilst it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be the results we both good and bad. They were good as it confirmed my diagnosis of Crohn’s disease (Honestly I have always been an overachiever but I have never passed so many tests 100%) but the results were also bad because it showed that even after nearly 10 weeks on prednisolone my bowel was still angry and inflamed.
After a discussion with my consultant they decided the best course of action would be to put me onto Azathioprine. Azathioprine is one of those drugs which comes with a list of side effects so bad you may lose a few days or weeks sleep. After a few weeks of panic and reading way too many stories of people projectile vomiting after 3 days on it I decided to put on my grown up hat and just start taking it.
So firstly the side effects! Luckily I haven’t projectile vomited so far and other than some heartburn and indigestion (the irony!) if I don’t eat a big enough snack when I take them I have been pretty good stomach wise. Another big one for me was hair loss, I have noticed that I am losing quite a bit of hair but I don’t know if its because of the Azathioprine or because I wasn’t aware of how much hair I was losing previously. My hair did go really dry but this also could be put down to wanting to be blonde all of the time when I wasn’t even blond as a baby… I was born with dark brown hair. I had a recent hair cut into a jaw length bob and my hair feels great again.
The biggest side effect of all and I am almost feeling superstitious just typing it, is that I feel better!!! My bowel movements are totally normal, I have not taken any painkillers other than for my period which Azathioprine unfortunately does not help, I have a lot of energy and my joint pain and nausea has all but disappeared. I am bloody delighted, I spent some time today reading some of my old blog posts and I feel like a different person. I have not had another colonoscopy to confirm if I am in fact in remission but I genuinely do not feel like I have any active Crohn’s symptoms.
I am not going to go into too much detail on this post about it but I have also made some really exciting diet changes which I think in combination with the Azathioprine have taken me into feeling even better. I will write about my diet changes in a future post as this is still fairly new but I honestly feel really happy.
I want to carry on writing on my blog but feel like since I am feeling so good I will explore different topics and areas of my life and thoughts. Its so easy to get caught up in always thinking about being ill until you no longer feel ill. I remember about 4-5 weeks ago where I went about 3 days without even thinking about my illness and I was like holy shit I am actually getting better.
New medications can be scary and with a lot of the IBD ones they come with some pretty bad warnings and side effects. It really comes down to weighing up whether you think its worth the risk of taking them if they can give you your life back and I can honestly say it was worth the risk for me. I am still only 2 months into taking Azathioprine but if anyone who comes across this post has any questions please message me. I find a lot of people are really quick to share their bad experiences on social media and on forums but if the drugs were really that bad then Dr’s would not prescribe them.
As part of my grand master plan to turn myself into someone who actually listens to her body and takes care of it I have dedicated Sunday’s whenever possible to self love. Now this doesn’t mean I spend all day in the bath putting face masks on and chilling out to the max but it does mean that I completely switch off from work on these days. Sunday’s is all about doing exactly what I love doing and putting some time in to take care of myself as well. Here is what my current self love Sunday routine looks like.
Morning – NO alarm clock, I wake up whenever I wake up! Whether it’s 7am, 10am or 1pm I let my body rest completely and unless I really want to do something don’t make any plans before the afternoon. Once I have risen from my slumber breakfast is usually something more extravagant than the usual smoothie or cereal during the week; some of my favourites are a traditional bacon and eggs or pastries which I used to love having with fruit but that is a no go now. My wife is always off work on Sunday’s but works every other day during the week so this is the only day we get to have breakfast together. We may on occasion go out for breakfast but to be completely honest this is usually one of those things that gets planned on the Saturday and never happens because I wake up feeling like shit, the weather is bad or I just don’t wake up in time.
Afternoon – The afternoon is usually where we go out; we might go and do some shopping, take Eric for a walk if it’s a nice day, visit family or just go out for a cup of tea and some cake. The world is our oyster and we shall do whatever we please. The aim really is just to spend some quality time together and be away from the phones and laptops which are responsible for our entertainment during the week. I would love to get rid of my screen addiction and spend less time on my phone and laptop but I am a complete computer geek so it’s hard when you love something so much. On bad days when I am not feeling great we’ll spend the afternoon watching movies on Netflix and napping, Sunday naps are great and particularly right now because I am not working there is no fear of wasting the day off and getting that pre Monday anxiety.
Evening – Come 5-6pm I will make dinner and then once that’s done it’s where the self care routine begins. I will have a long bath with Epsom salts and bubble bath, Epsom salts are so great for any chronic illness as they relax you but also help with muscle aches and pains. The main ingredient in Epsom salts is magnesium which is great for women with benefits such as reducing PMS, depression, anxiety and headaches on top of the pain relieving qualities just soaking in the bath with it. Following my bath I might put on a conditioning hair mask, a face mask or just give myself a facial with serums, toners and moisturisers. Being completely honest though sometimes I am good with a bath and then getting into bed to watch some TV or read a good book, I do love skincare and pampering myself but I’m not religious about it. If I’m really feeling the self care I may do some yoga, light stretching or meditation but again being completely honest I live with a chronic illness and sometimes yoga is the last thing I want to do. I try to go to sleep earlier on a Sunday to set myself off well for the week, my steroid prescription isn’t really helping that as it is causing me to have some insomnia but I still try.
So that is my self love Sunday! I am not quite the wellness guru yet but I am slowly building in more holistic options to healing myself again. I remember last year when I was totally into supplements, a plant based diet and exercise, which did help in some ways but where I am at with my health right now simplicity is key and I need to just make myself feel better day by day for now.
I have lived the typical British life, I got drunk for the first time when I was around 15, went out clubbing every weekend in my late teens and early twenties and used to absolutely love a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. I gave up drinking completely shortly before my 27th birthday and have not drunk alcohol since other than maybe 2 separate occasions where I had a glass of wine.
I was a pretty hard party girl in my early twenties and was always the loud one who ordered the shots and drank a little too much. Whilst I loved going out and having a few drinks (maybe 10) I noticed around 24-25 that my hangovers started getting progressively worse. I would wake up feeling absolutely terrible with a headache, nausea and quite severe anxiety. Even if I hadn’t done anything wrong and the night had been great I would have this awful guilt and feeling of dread. Around this time I started suffering with panic attacks and generalised anxiety, the way I felt mentally when I was hungover started happening when I wasn’t and it affected my life quite badly. The hangovers kept getting worse and I even started getting anxious after just having one drink like I was worrying about how I would feel the next day.
I made the decision in January 2015 to give up drinking completely. There wasn’t a process or specific way in which I did it I just stopped. For the first few months I didn’t really go out to bars or clubs as it felt odd to me to go out and not drink plus I also wanted to make sure that I stuck to it. It was my priority to get my health in order and at the same time I started exercising and eating a healthier diet. I took up yoga and really focused on feeling better mentally and physically.
My friends and family did ask a lot of questions, some wondered if I was having a bit of a crisis or had an addiction issue with alcohol both of which weren’t true. At the time I was still quite closed about my anxiety issues to everyone apart from my then girlfriend now wife so I just said I didn’t enjoy drinking and this is why I had stopped. I still to this day get offered drinks and told to stop being boring but it’s been so long the temptation is very much gone. I am more than happy to be the person with the Diet Coke who goes home when everyone starts getting a bit too merry.
I do go out from time to time to bars with friends but I don’t go out to clubs often at all. It’s odd to me that people can go out and drink such a huge amount of liquid as I can only have about 3 soft drinks before I am done. It’s also really difficult to be around people who have had a bit too much to drink as the level of conversation between them and I is off balance. I definitely have no issue with people having a good time and having a drink it’s just that we end up being on different vibes. I am also not the person who questions or judges anyone else’s actions, it’s not my place to comment on what other people do and in moderation having a drink is normally no issue for people’s health.
I recently found out that the job I have been doing for the last 8 years is coming to an end. Not because of anything I’ve done or that I even wanted it to end but because the economy isn’t great and the smaller companies are finding it harder to survive. I’ve decided that I’m going to take this opportunity to re-evaluate what I want to do in life and take some time to rest, get as better as I can health wise and find something that I really love doing which works with who I am now illnesses and all.
I have been on a fairly healthy salary the last 5 or so years and I’ve become accustomed to living with this amount of money and having no kids and a fairly cheap mortgage. Changing my career focus and taking some time off means I am going to have to be more careful with money and scale back on my usual habits. I’ve put together a list of 10 ways I’m saving money and living a simpler life.
1. Need vs Want – We love in a consume more world, feel sad; go shopping. Had a great week; treat yourself to a new dress. I’m taking the time to really decide if I want something or I need it. Not everything we need has to be essential but if I have 3 pairs of black trainers do I need another one? If I have 4 foundations all that make me look semi flawless do I need to try out a new one because Jeffree Star approves it. Probably not to both of them so I’m taking the time to really think about these decisions before I impulsively spend.
2. Separating food money – This is something I have done for years and it works really well. Each week money goes from our main joint account into another account with no credit facilities just for food. If we want to eat out, do an online food shop or get a takeaway it comes out of this account. We no longer overspend on overpriced Waitrose cakes and treats as once that money and food is gone there is only the cupboard and freezer as an option.
3. Write down expiry dates – For so long we have been stuck in a cycle in our home of buying food for the week, not eating it and then throwing it away. We now put a sheet of paper on the fridge listing the expensive items like meat and desserts and their expiry dates. Every time someone goes to the fridge they see it and if it’s close to the date we either eat it that day / next day or put it in the freezer.
4. Cook in bulk – this is a super easy one and I know I’m not discovering fire but things like lasagnes, cottage pies and spaghetti bolognese can be made for 4 or 6 people and then eaten for lunch or dinner over 2 or 3 days and it doesn’t cost much more to do it. Plus the added bonus of only reheating food the next day is a dream.
5. Organise your clothes / makeup / etc – When I feel the urge to go online shopping I’ve started taking to my wardrobe or make up drawer and sorting through what I already have. I often find things I’ve forgotten about and putting everything neat and tidy brings a new love to items I may have got bored of. I love doing this and putting new outfits together and trying out new make up looks.
6. Stick to what you love – Another simple one and it goes similarly to if it’s not broken don’t fix it. If you find a product you love keep using it, there is no need to try something new if what you currently have is working well. Shop around and look for when your favourite shampoo is buy one get one free, you may even be able to buy it in bulk somewhere like Costco.
7. Plan out your money – I love being organised and excel sheets are a hidden passion of mine, I have a full excel spreadsheet that lists all of our incomings and outgoings, I put our savings on here and track how much they’ll be over 6 months and 12 months. Seeing what can be in our savings account if we do keep to the plan is really motivating to stick to it. It’s also then really easy to add in unexpected expenses so you can plan out if you need to be a bit more frugal in other areas that month. It’s a good idea to check through all of your direct debits and see if any can be scaled back, prime example is me having not one but 2 Netflix accounts (when most of the world is sharing passwords).
8. Set realistic savings goals – Leading on from the above it’s important to save money each month in case something expected comes up but it’s also important to budget enough for life as well. Set a realistic savings goal for each month that you know you’ll stick to and it’s not going to impact what you normally like to do. It may be good to cut down on certain areas but if your me going from spending a lot to being a minimalist is not going to happen and won’t make you happy.
9. Try cheaper products – You may only like a specific type of face cream but some items do not need to be branded. Try out cheaper and supermarket brand products and see if you can replace some items and save some money, it may only be 50p off your food shop but it all adds up.
10. Cut out the unnecessary items – A really good example here is my addiction to bottled water, it’s just not necessary. I replaced this with a filtered water bottle and it paid for itself in 2 weeks. Have a coffee on the way to work? Just get a travel cup and take it with you or if you like beauty treatments like me why not try some out at home and save loads of money. I actually bought a hot wax heater about 2 years ago and love spending the day once every few months doing it myself and it saves me a small fortune.
I’m sure as I delve deeper into exploring what my new more simple life looks like I’ll have more tips and will be sure to share them on here. If you have any good money saving tips please share them in the comments.
Before being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease I suffered with bowel and digestive issues for many years. I got fobbed off by the Dr’s with IBS as my symptoms didn’t really get severe until the second half of 2018. It’s the all too true story where you have to literally be on the verge of surgery before anybody listens. In the years leading up to my diagnosis I tried every diet in the book to try and fix my gut health. I often get messages on social media asking whether I have tried this diet or tried this supplement and in all honestly I have tried 90% of them.
Plant based diets and the vegan lifestyle are huge at the moment. I completely understand the difference between being vegan and having a plant based diet. I tried the plant based diet twice in the last 2 years, the first was right after my second laparoscopy to remove my ovary in 2016. I absolutely loved it and stuck to it for nearly a year, my digestion was great, I had loads of energy and my skin was glowing. I stuck to the 80/20 rule with 80% of what I ate being whole plant based foods and 20% being more processed and treat type foods. I eventually ended up coming off the diet as my energy dipped and I started having looser bowel movements. This did resolve temporarily when I came off it but the symptoms of course returned later on. I tried going plant based again for 10 weeks in 2018 but it actually made me worse this time, in fairness I was really unwell anyway by this point and I think my body just could not handle that much fruit and vegetables. It’s a diet I would love to try again once I get myself into remission and I actually feel quite passionately about the vegan lifestyle as well. Unfortunately as my stomach can’t even handle carrots right now never mind any other veg I have to put my health first over my morals and love of plant based foods.
On almost the opposite end of the spectrum is Paleo. I tried Paleo for about 3 months in 2017 going with a more flexible version where I did allow white potatoes. Paleo is essentially cutting out all legumes, wheat, dairy, grains and processed foods with a focus on grass fed organic meat, vegetables, eggs and non dairy fats. Similar to plant based but on a shorter timeline all started well and within a month I felt like a new woman. I was full of energy and working out regularly at the time, I was hitting personal bests on weights and felt really strong. Body wise I felt really toned and had a lot of self confidence, more than I have had before. After about 8 weeks the carb monster in me was agitated and I felt quite drained, I go through periods of really bad fatigue and I had this for a few weeks. Having to make all food from scratch when you have fatigue is so tough and I think that is what made me give it up in the end. I also found the meat side of it being grass fed really expensive!
Ah the old gluten free.. it is the go to recommendation whenever I speak to someone about Crohn’s. Gluten free is removing everything that contains gluten from your diet including breads, pasta, cakes and even things you wouldn’t expect like sauces and ice cream. I actually first went gluten free in 2015 before I was even diagnosed with endometriosis. I was suffering with unpleasant bowel issues, I was going to the toilet a lot and was getting a lot of stomach pain. I stuck to it religiously for 6 months and even watched for cross contamination buying new kitchen products to ensure there were no microscopic pieces of gluten in my old ones. My stomach troubles only worsened to the point I wasn’t really eating at all so I added gluten back into my diet. Since then I have tried it again with other diets and had tests for celiac, I don’t have any issues when I eat gluten and can eat white bread without any problems.
This one I only lasted a week. The low FODMAP diet is recommended for IBS and essentially removes products that are hard to digest such as wheat, dairy and certain fruits and vegetables. The food you remove is essentially food that causes a lot of gas and irritation in your digestive tract so by removing them your reducing the irritation. I hated this diet as I love pretty much all of the food it restricts. I only tried it for a week so I’m not sure if that’s long enough to determine if it did help but in that time I didn’t feel any different symptom wise.
As a baby I was lactose intolerant and would throw up any cows milk given to me. Because of this I was given soya milk until I started eating solid foods. I didn’t have dairy products until I was about 7 or 8 and even then it was only ice cream and cheddar cheese. I first took the step to cut out dairy when I went plant based and even when I stopped being plant based still carried it on. It didn’t do anything to improve my symptoms but I do have a huge love for almond milk now. Since I have been diagnosed I was heavily recommended by my dietician to include dairy in my diet to gain weight and it doesn’t affect me when I do eat it.
Overall my favourite diet I have tried is definitely plant based, I was so disappointed when I tried it again in 2018 and it felt like it made my symptoms worse. Perhaps by this point I was too deep into my Crohn’s flare for any diet change to help. I loved how the plant based diet made me feel less full after eating and gave me lots of energy. I also really liked the moral side of not eating animal based products and the environmental benefits of going plant based. The choice and variety both in the supermarkets and eating out is amazing now and I really miss trying out new plant based dishes. It’s the one I’d recommend people try to improve your health and generally feel better living the busy lives we all do. I’m not a medical expert and have no formal training so do speak to someone before restricting food from your diet. I can’t offer any diet advice just my own experiences and I definitely felt the best on plant based before I was in a full on Crohn’s flare up.
I’m currently on a low fibre and low residue diet whilst I wait for my colonoscopy and go onto long term medication to get me into remission. This diet is mainly meat, dairy and refined carbs. You can find out more about this diet here and my update on it after 6 weeks here.
In truth I’m actually closer to my 31st year now than 30, but last year due to being majorly unwell and skipping over the whole big celebration I thought I’d take some time to reflect on what I had learnt in my long 30 years being alive. As in true Abi style some of this may change your life, some of it may just sound like total shit.
Going to bed early is actually amazing
Drink water a lot of it!
Trust your own judgement and decisions
If people don’t like you for who you are that is just tough shit
Don’t change yourself for anyone
Wear what you want
Save money you never know when you might need it
You are never a true expert on anything you can always learn more
If you don’t want to do something say no
No one is actually thinking about you so stop worrying about it
Nothing good ever happens after 1am
Feeling fresh is always better than a hangover
Exercise is good for you
Listen to your gut
Be kind to the ones who matter and don’t be cruel to the ones who don’t
Ask for help when you need it
Buying more shit doesn’t matter you happier
I definitely do not want children
Money and things only matter to pay your bills and keep you comfortable
Doing something you love to be happy is better than doing something you hate to be rich
Look after you skin and have a good skincare routine
Do not use box hair dyes leave it up to the professionals
Be honest about how you feel in a diplomatic way rather than bottling it up inside
Never apologise for being who you are even if not everyone likes you for it
Don’t stress about the little things
You are responsible for your own life and have to take full ownership of everything in it
Never let anyone make you feel like you are not good enough
A positive mindset will get you miles further than a negative one
I feel exactly the same as I did when I was a teenager and do not feel anymore mature or grown up
Until very recently I worked in a job that I loved and had been working there for 8 years. It all ended very suddenly and despite the best efforts of all of the people I worked with the company had to close. I blame Brexit and the current economy but overall it was a very sad time for me and the end of an era in something I had so much security in. As you can imagine with how unwell I’ve been over the last year and being diagnosed with Crohn’s in December it has been a really tough time and not something I’m taking lightly.
In my time at my last job I got to work with some really talented and great people, some of which I will miss dearly and some of which I know I will be staying in touch with for a long time (you know who you are). I also gained a huge amount of experience and knowledge in the content, website and digital marketing areas of running a business as well as spent 5 years managing a team. I know I could easily go out and get another job but something inside me just doesn’t want to. Firstly I am in desperate need of some time off to get myself back really well so I’m going to be taking the whole of February to do nothing other than self care and self improvement. Secondly I don’t think that I want someone else to be my boss again, the last person I worked for had so much drive and ambition. I was lucky enough to work closely with them for many years and their passion to be their own boss and have a great life really inspired me. I have this overwhelming urge to be my own boss and really see what I can achieve on my own. Which is why I have decided to give it a go at being a freelancer and offer my skills out to businesses.
Practically, going freelance is ideal for my conditions, having flexibility on hours and being able to choose how much work I do each day is not something normally available in the 9-5. Also with the skills and experience I have it really lends well to working from home without the need to dress up in office attire. Mentally I enjoy the work that I do so am confident that this venture will be something I love and look forward to each day. I was a manager in my previous job for 5 years and loved managing a team but always wanted to get involved in the creative side still. There is something about designing an epic graphic banner or seeing organic clicks improve on SEO that I just really enjoy. That probably makes me a bit of a geek but I’m more than happy to take that title.
I am realistic and know times are tough right now which means I may have to get a job to ensure I stay financially. If that is the case then I will carry on with my freelancing but more as a side hustle until I can support myself completely with my own clients. My plan is to set up my own website and do some marketing, get onto some networking events and just show people what I can in the hope that I can turn this into a long term career path. I am sure along the way I’ll need some more training and will add to my skills list, which is also exciting to me as anything technology or web related is truly what I love doing. It’s a really big step for me having worked in my present job for so long and being employed in some shape of form since I was 15.
Mentally I have had a few moments of questioning myself which has led to checking and improving my CV even further ready to apply for jobs. I have confidence that I can do this but I’m nervous around getting new clients on board and getting it going. I am someone who does like having a lot of security in my life but also know I really want to be my own boss. I’m definitely going to be sharing what I learn along the way on my blog and as I get things set up around a website and social accounts I will also be sharing these too. Don’t worry it’s not going to become a blog all about promoting my new hustle, I love writing about my life and health on Chronically Abi and will be continuing to do this as well. Purely for love at the moment but who knows what might happen in time.
If you are a freelancer yourself I’d love to hear if you have any tips about getting started or any pitfalls you found? Also if you are looking for any work relating to website management, copywriting, Digital Marketing or graphic design please get in touch!
If you follow me on social media you’ll see that its pretty evident I’ve been in a crap mood recently and I apologise. I started my blog and social media channels to be a voice of how you can live a great life with a chronic illness, you can work hard and do all of the things you used to do. The truth is that is genuinely what I thought when I got out of hospital, I felt great on a high dose of prednisolone with my pain nearly gone and an incredibly flexible boss who let me split my time between working from home and coming into the office part time to balance out my remaining symptoms.
All was going well for about a month, I had a few ups and downs but overall everything appeared to be going great. The end of January rolled around and everything went a bit to shit… The job I loved so much came to an end and I found out that the medications I had been taking everyday had made me feel better but internally everything was still a mess. This is where I am at now, I don’t have a job and I’m not well enough to work in a full time job. Essentially the last 3 weeks I have been at home and doing a bit socially but the main thing I’ve noticed is I’ve become more and more down and my mental health is suffering quite badly. Not one to want to stay in a bad situation for a long period of time I have decided to put a plan in place for myself to get out of this funk and at least get myself mentally back to my usual happy self. Some of the list below can definitely be applicable to many people but some are specific to my current situation.
Commit to taking some time off – When I first found out I was losing my job I went head first into job hunting, I am a natural problem solver so this was my first instinct. What my instincts didn’t help with was reminding me that I am not well and starting a new full time job might be out of my physical capabilities. I realised this about a week ago and have decided that I am taking a few weeks off at the very least to allow my mental health to recover a bit from the things that have happened recently and hopefully give my body a rest to do some physical healing as well.
Allow some time to find work which is within my capabilities – I am having time off but I’m also going to allow some time each week to look for work from home jobs in my field or start focusing on getting into a freelancer position. My first choice would be a work from home job to get some stability but I understand these are few and far between so I’m focusing on this first and have set a timescale for when I will turn it more to freelance work.
Sleep, sleep and more sleep – I have not slept properly since I got out of hospital bar one day this week. This is due to prednisolone and my mind being filled with negative thoughts when I do try to sleep. Unless I have a specific appointment at the hospital I am not setting any alarms and just letting my body sleep as much as it needs to. Sleep is essential for healing physically and mentally.
Privately journaling – I love writing on my blog but I am going to be starting to write in a journal privately about how I am feeling. Whether I am having a good day or a bad day; I’m going to write things that have upset or worried me on bad days and write about the wins and things I’m grateful for on the good days. If anyone does journal already please share in the comments any tips and if this has helped you.
Spend more time doing things I couldn’t do when I’m working – I have a lot of free tine at the moment and I could so easily spend it watching Netflix all day or scrolling through my phone. This does not help my mental health when done in excess so I’m going to be including more things that I never had time to do whilst I was working including art, sewing, reading and yoga. These are just a couple of things and I’m sure during my time off I’ll find other hobbies I never knew I would love.
Reducing caffeine ie Diet Coke – I love Diet Coke! I could drink Diet Coke all day long and I know its not good for me, I know the artificial sweeteners have some serious potential health issues but I still do it and it has to stop. Im still going to allow myself a treat of maybe once a week but I am going to be consciously switching to green tea and water. Caffeine is not good for mental health as the highs and lows definitely effect your mood.
Exercising more – I used to love weight lifting, I would be in the gym at 5.30pm lifting heavier than my own body weight. Obviously because of my ongoing Crohn’s flare up this currently isn’t possible (I struggle some days to lift a 2 litre bottle of water) but I do still need to do more exercise. I do find it difficult to love exercise but I did love weight lifting so I’m going to start doing some very very low weight exercises at home 3 times a week. I will be starting with literally 10 minutes and increasing by 5 minutes a week. I keep trying to make walking a thing for me and unless I’m actually going somewhere like from one shop to another it’s not happening.
Planning in family days – It’s so easy when you’re in a relationship where one person is working and the other one has a chronic illness and is not working to get stuck in a rut of work and sleep. We are making a conscious effort to plan in days where we do something nice away from computers, phones and TV screens like taking the dog to a beach an hour or 2 away and then having a nice lunch, going to local events like one of Cardiff’s amazing food festivals or just spending the day baking cakes and pampering ourselves.
Getting off Prednisolone – I’m taking control of my physical and mental health but being very demanding with my consultant that I need something other than Prednisolone to control my Crohn’s. Firstly I’ve been on it for 10 weeks and I’m still in a flare up and secondly its messing with my sleep and my moods. I hate this drug and will not stop until they find something that will help me and won’t make me feel like I’m crazy.
Spending less time on social media – I love spreading awareness about my condition and I love that I have already talked to so many people and potentially helped them. I am very aware though that spending time on social media when the majority of your following is centred around chronic illness makes it difficult to not continuously think about my chronic illness. Im committing to spending less time on social media, this doesn’t mean I’m going to be spending any less time spreading awareness about my condition; I’m just going to be limiting the amount of time I spend once I have posted and connected with the amazing people I have met on there.
This is my plan and I am hoping in a few weeks I will be feeling more my usual self. If anyone has any other tips or advice on how to get out a funk please do share in the comments.
When I got diagnosed with Crohn’s disease I had been suffering with what I had thought was a severe Endometriosis flare up. For a year I had severe abdominal pain, bowel issues, fatigue and stomach problems. I got diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in December 2018 following a weeks stay in hospital. I was severely unwell and am still in the process of getting into remission. My symptoms come and go for both conditions depending on what time of the month it is, what I eat, if I am stressed or tired. What is guaranteed each month is that when my period comes all hell breaks loose and my symptoms from both go crazy.
I’m currently laying in bed it’s 1am and my period started earlier on today, I’m waiting for my second dose in 3 hours of oramorph to kick in and I am in 8/10 pain. My pelvis is on fire and the top of my lower abdomen just below my belly button is cramping beyond belief. I have a constant feeling off needing to go to the bathroom and have shooting pains in that area. I’m nauseous but starving and my whole body aches like I’ve done a hard workout at the gym. Today is the standard for the first day and unless by a miracle the rest of the week has magically changed from the last year will follow with; the same pain for 3 more days, nausea, headaches, excessive bowel movements and sometimes blood in my poop. On top of it all my periods are super heavy and tampons are very painful so I have the luxury of just feeling gross the whole time as well as bloating like I’m 6 months pregnant and getting acne like a teenager. I know some of the above is applicable to any period but the combination is a complete bitch!
I understand why the endometriosis pain is bad as this is one of the main symptoms but I’m still learning why my Crohn’s goes crazy as well. Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease so I think that the inflammation there makes my Crohn’s more active as well. All I know is that each month I get mini flare ups and it makes me so worried as 2 of these mini flare ups are what drove me to go to a&e last year with one of them being when I was admitted for a week.
I can not take ibuprofen or codeine because of the Crohn’s disease and I’m allergic to paracetamol. I hate taking oramorph as it’s such a strong medication but I feel like I have no choice, the pain is that severe. Using a heat pad on my back and a hot water bottle on my stomach is a complete necessity and I’ve even got toasted skin on my stomach from using a hot water bottle too much before.
There really isn’t much information about having both conditions and how it can be helped. I’m hoping if I get my Crohn’s into remission it will improve but even that is looking like I will need to go onto a strong medication with more side effects. At the moment I find it very difficult to function on the first and second day of my period so need to find a solution as work and living my life is just not great on these days, I’m usually dosed up in pain relief and just consumed by the symptoms.
My periods are regular within about 2-3 days but this doesn’t make it any better, I still feel really unprepared and the pain does not get any easier each month. I am lucky in that my mental health isn’t too bad, I do feel a bit down in the week or so before but I did used to get a lot of anxiety which has been ok for the last couple of months. What is suffering right now is my sleep and lack of it, I am sure it’s all down to prednisolone as this causes insomnia but it’s just not ideal right now when I just need to sleep the pain away.
If you are like me and have both Crohn’s and Endometriosis please comment below or message me on one of my social media accounts. The 2 together are a shit show of sometimes embarrassing and painful symptoms and I’d love to speak to others in the same boat as me. Also if you have Crohn’s and also find it is worse during your period please let me know as well.