Oh, July. We meet again. Each and every year I dread you. For some reason, you like to throw me curve balls—time and time again. From my diagnosis of Crohn’s, to that tennis ball size abscess, to starting Humira, and to the bowel obstruction that resulted in 18 inches of my intestine being removed. The month of July and I just haven’t meshed well since 2005.
Do you ever feel like certain times of the year, months or seasons tend to trigger your symptoms? I don’t know what it is about July, but that’s always been my danger zone. I always breathe a sigh of relief when August begins. Call me superstitious, but prior to getting married, I knew I could never have my wedding this month nor would I want to welcome a baby into the world. I have July’s number.
Keeping those difficult moments in the past and not allowing them to seep into my daily thoughts can be a struggle this time of year. I’ve always been one to reminisce and think about memories and experiences. I have a reputation for having a mind like a steel trap. Ask me what I was wearing, where we first met, when your birthday is…I could probably tell you the information without having to do much thinking. Sometimes that’s a nice trait to have, but it can also be detrimental. The difficult July moments in my past still feels so fresh, despite the years that have ticked by.
So how do we get passed the past? It can be easier said than done. But, here’s what I do to cope:
Get out of your head
Sure, my Crohn’s has wreaked havoc on multiple occasions during the month of July—but, out of the last 13 years I’ve also had nine good Julys. It’s easy to fall back and focus on the negative, try and think about the times your body has surprised you in a good way. If you stress and worry about the unknown that will only increase your likelihood for experiencing painful symptoms.
If you are noticing your disease is spiraling out of control, nip it in the bud. Don’t try and be a superhero and take on a flare yourself or fail to communicate to those around you. You and I both know exactly how it feels when a trip to the hospital is a must. Delaying the inevitable will only add insult to injury. Stay on top of maintenance medication, vitamins, exercise and sleep.
Try to place more emphasis on self-care
If there’s a pesky month or time of year be selfish and do what you need to take care of you. Does walking outside in nature help you clear your mind? Do you enjoy taking an Epsom salt bath? Reading a book by the pool? Do whatever brings you a sense of calm. Your body and mind will thank you for it.