Just stop!!… Is the line my wife finds herself saying to me most days. I am of course referring to the endless chatter one has with ones self when dealing with a chronic illness. You see my brain knows there is a “system error” it knows there is something terribly wrong and is constantly trying to find a way out, I mean constantly! It’s absolutely exhausting! For all the useful torrents of information connectivity has gifted us, its so very easy to find ones self falling down the rabbit hole of endless Crohn’s disease forums, Facebook groups or “Expert” YouTube channels in search of some relief, and lets face it, the list is endless.
I often wonder if there is some link between the classic over thinker (me) and chronic disease. Indeed, if it was 5000BC and I was leading my tribe across a lion infested plain in southern Africa, I would be in my element! Firing on all cylinders! Intently observing the horizon for any potential threats, maybe a herd of marauding wilder beasts? A pack of starving hyenas? I would be constantly monitoring for any threats. But as it’s November 2018 and I’m sat in my living room writing this month’s blog my classic over thinking brain is largely redundant.
As you may know from previous blogs I like to share best practice, and one of the most significant treatments I have found for dealing with this disease is CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) it’s basically a talking therapy that helps manage problems by changing the way you think. CBT is pragmatic in the sense it helps identify specific problems and tries to solve them. The sessions are also highly structured, so rather than talking freely about your life, you generally focus on current problems rather than attempting to resolve past issues. CBT certainly helps reduce the “noise” from my over thinking brain. Which gives me time to put things in perspective and focus on anything that isn’t Crohn’s disease.
I am incredibly fortunate to have access to IBDoc in the context of my over thinking brain as it gets shut down immediately when I see the results of my latest test; knowing I’m not hours away from a massive flare up with a low u/ug reading cannot be under estimated.
The main focus from our GI teams has to be based on the physical of this disease, i.e. disease maintenance, blood works etc. but as we understand more about the gut- brain connection we must pay attention to our wellbeing and part of that wellbeing is to accept that maybe today there are no solutions, so put down that laptop, turn off that phone, or as my long suffering wife says…Just Stop!
Follow link for NHS CBT services.