Person Just Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis

So, were you just diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (‘UC’)? Hey, I know what you’re feeling. I’ve been where you are right now. You might be young, maybe in your teens. You might be older, with children and grandchildren. Maybe it’s your child who’s been diagnosed with UC. Regardless of where you’re at we’ve all been there, all of us with UC, and it’s OK to be scared, shocked, indifferent or whatever you’re feeling right now. I can imagine you might feel so embarrassed right now, because I was too. In my mind I was saying how can a doctor ask a girl these questions about my toilet habits but I know the doctors need to know the answers to be able to help you.  
When I was  back in school the students thought I was different because I missed a lot of school . Things were falling apart, I got a lot of bullying with people saying ‘You’re different… don’t hang with her…. omg 😲’. It wasn’t nice. Most mornings I didn’t go in to school until a bit later. If I went to the toilet for a long time, the teachers would be taking me outside the classroom to ask questions. I had to explain to them where I was for so long. These conversations would take five minutes each time which felt so stupid as teachers wouldn’t know what I was going through. I got depression a lot but never told anyone because I didn’t know what they would think. Most of my friends knew because I told them and at least they understood like most people I thought would.

UC is a part of me, and I’m doing the best I can. I can honestly tell you that living a meaningful life is possible. Right now, I have a part – time job in a factory packing fish and I have great support there. I take photography out on the ocean and at different places usually taking photos if people ask for example if there was storm or if somebody was at sea and wanted their photo to be taken. I go partying with few friends at weekends and I am currently in the National Learning Network, I love it there with many great teachers and students.  I go to concerts. I have friends I can talk to and who appreciate me for who I am, regardless of me having UC. 
You may wonder what Ulcerative Colitis symptoms are. People having a flare up of Ulcerative Colitis may experience or all the following symptoms:
·         Diarrhea

·         Abdominal pain

·         Tiredness/lack of energy

Doctors will do examinations of the large bowel from the rectum to the caecum to diagnose UC. This is what I had to do many times before, it isn’t scary. I didn’t care at the time, I wasn’t worried. I mean worrying yourself isn’t good.  It is important that the bowel is empty for the tests so your doctor can get good views of the bowel wall. My doctor prescribed a special drink to take on the day before my examination to ensure this. I was given a sedation for the test which takes approximately twenty minutes. I was asked to rest in the recovery room for about an hour and could be given light refreshments before I was discharged home. Capsule endoscopy is a recently developed technology which may be helpful in certain cases. My doctor also took into consideration how I was coping with my symptoms. He prescribed drugs to reduce the inflammation in the colon and help to heal the inflamed intestine lining. These drugs were useful in rating mild to moderate flare – ups and are used to keep my colitis in remission.
What foods can you eat with UC?
·        white bread without seeds

·        white pasta, noodles, and macaroni

·        white rice

·        crackers and cereals made with refined white flour

·        canned, cooked fruits

The foods which you should not eat are:
·         brown rice

·         quinoa

·         buckwheat

·         oats

·         wild rice

I have no shame or embarrassment in saying I have UC to people if they asked what was wrong with me. It’s not a pleasant thing to have throughout your 20s but one key thing about living with UC is accepting you have it and to not feel embarrassed about discussing it. After all, everyone goes to the toilet – it as natural as breathing – so what the sheepish attitude to talking about bowel disease? But coping with UC is not simply about managing the disease, it can severely affect mental health too. For example, anxiety and depression are heavily associated with having the illness. I do have positive times and navigate times but hey that’s going to happen. They say life is short but you got to be strong for what you have.
I was diagnosed March 2013 when I was 16 years old. For the past five months I have been feeling good like nothing is wrong with me as I have been taking my medication every day. I never like taking the medicine and it’s really annoying for me. I take it morning and night. At one point, I was going to the bathroom 10+ times a day. At one point in time, I had gone in my pants and washed myself off in the toilet in secondary school. It was horrible and I lucky to have a spare pants with me, because being caught short isn’t nice feeling to have.  It had all become so normal at that point. But you know what? Its ok even if you don’t experience all of this, or half of this or even any of this. If you got out of the bed today – congratulations and just remind yourself tomorrow is another day.
I take my medication, exercise and try to follow a good diet. This disease, as we all know, shows us that our body will not always do what we try to will it to do, and don’t worry, I know it’s not easy. I can’t tell you anything that is going to take away this disease because right now its 5 years later and we still dealing with what has actually caused it. You can realise that having this disease is an opportunity and a blessing. With everything you will go through, you will gain experience to understand how much the mind matters through difficult times. This will force you to become mentally stronger and more resilient after a few hangups. And having this disease will lead you to your life’s work: inspiring and educating others on how to get through difficult times. So, in closing, I want you to understand that most of this journey will be in understanding that you have this choice. Once you realise this, you will know you are not cursed but blessed to have been able to live a life full of hard won lessons.

Voice or No Voice


Person who has diagnosed with Depression

I’m Aoife. I’m 20. I’ve lived with depression for most of my life, ever since I was a kid. I never used to understand the thoughts and feelings that I had. In my teenage years, I started to develop feelings of low self-esteem and confidence that affected my everyday actions and thoughts. I never talked to anyone about what I was going through – ever. I just hid my thoughts and feelings and thought I could deal with it that way. That was such a mistake. People thought I was a cool kid nothing was wrong but it was so hard to be in a class with 30 people and me feeling crap, most the days I couldn’t come into the class anymore because it was hard to talk to the friends who felt like there was nothing wrong with them. Some days I would go to the bathroom meet few other girls and hang out there and be able to just talk for ages the differences the friends who were in my class were snobs and bitches and I would never forget I would of took my own life all those times. People who have depression will go away but the people who are going true it over 2 years might have it more.

Mental Health

Mental health is part of me it usually includes my Emotional, Psychological and my social well- being. I never thought I would have this but when I realize I did I obvious had no choice to look after it and dealt with. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and through adulthood. Over the day anyone life , if you experience mental health problems , you thinking mood and behaviour could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems include:
• Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
• Family history of mental health problems
Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

Early Warning Signs

Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviours can be an early warning sign of a problem:
• Eating or sleeping too much or too little
• Pulling away from people and usual activities
• Having low or no energy
• Feeling numb or like nothing matters
• Having unexplained aches and pains
• Feeling helpless or hopeless
• Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual

Mental Health and Wellness

Positive mental health allows people to:
Realize their full potential
Cope with the stresses of lifework productively
Make meaningful contributions to their communities

Ways to maintain positive mental health include:
Getting professional help if you need it
Connecting with others
Staying positive

Signs of depression

When someone is depressed they can experience a range of things including:
• Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
• High use of alcohol or drugs
• Losing their temper
• Headaches or stomach aches
• Feeling empty
• Feeling anxious

There was a time I felt depressed?

Feeling of depression can be a completely normal reaction to my events in my life, like sudden negative changes in personal circumstances or an experience of violence.

Depression can develop over my time  possible when negative experiences haven’t been resolved in positive ways , like talking to someone.

Ones I felt low at some point and I struggled to cope it may be difficult in your situation but talking about how your feeling can help put things into perspective and help you to feel more positive about the future.

Help with depression

Its both normal and common to have feelings of depression. those feelings can often be resolved with a little help from friends or family.

However, if feelings of depression persist over a couple of weeks its worth looking at the range of ways to get support – both by changing our behaviour and engaging formal help.

Eating well and being active – even though you might not feel like it , exercising and eating well can help when your feeling down. Biological factors , as well as social factors, influence how you feel and think about yourself.

Writing down your feelings – this can be a great way of understanding your emotions , their triggers and a specific situation. it can also help you think about alternative solutions to problems.

Taking time out- its a good idea to try and take a but of each day to do something you enjoy. when your feeling down it can be hard to motivate yourself but try to make a list of things you enjoy. plan to do one of them each day.

Going easy on drugs and alcohol- This can be easier said than done but the feeling is usually temporary and the after effects often make the problem worse.

In a Crisis

People experiencing depression can sometimes have suicidal thoughts. if you feel like this its important you seek help.

if you feel your in danger of hurting yourself or someone else, you can call 999( or 112 if your outside Ireland ) or go straight to your local accident and emergency department where they’ll be able to help you.

Many people have problems where they don’t want anything to happen to them again, I have friends who are suicidal thoughts and cant do anything about it just to put their self- first. 

There are many different management and treatment options for depression. Try to remember that overcoming depression will take time and you need to stay strong through some of the tougher days. remember  overcoming it is achievable.

This is a time where you are intense in a difficulty or danger time of your life that you cant help but got to make an important decision must be made if you feel like this don’t worry you be okay and don’t mind what people say to you.