The following guide covers the importance of Crohn’s Disease Support.
Many people who have been living with Crohn’s Disease can tell you that the struggle is real. There are days that, except for frequent bathroom visits, getting out of bed in the last thing on the proverbial to-do-list. The active stages can be debilitating and embarrassing, to the point of feeling isolated. Or, maybe you think nobody could possibly understand, so you want to be alone.
However, that negative view…as understandable as it might be, will make things worse. Family and friends might be offering help, but not know exactly what they can do or say, because they have never experienced it themselves. You could liken it to someone who has always lived in a tropical climate trying to understand what it’s like to be without heat in the middle of a snow storm. They might have seen pictures, or read about it. But, could they possibly fully understand how uncomfortable being without heat would be in sub-zero temperatures?
That’s why it’s important to find a support system with people who also have Crohn’s Disease.
The Importance of Finding a Crohn’s Disease Support Group
Nobody is denying the importance of having a supportive family, group of friends, or an employer. Having compassionate people surrounding you will certainly help in many ways. However, if they don’t know what it’s like to have been dealt the news of a chronic illness, felt the pain and discomfort, or had an accident in public, they might not be able to help as much as you might need.
In fact, they might be uncomfortable in discussing some of the more personal and embarrassing areas of Crohn’s…or, you might be the one who is uncomfortable discussing it with them. Again, understandable.
A good support group for Crohn’s Disease will not only allow you to freely discuss things with like-minded people, but it also can get you out of the house without worrying about an embarrassing accident. They’ve been through it, and will understand.
You could also learn more about the disease, treatments, and coping methods from those who have long been dealing with it all.
How to Find a Crohn’s Disease Support Group
There are literally hundreds of groups throughout the U.S. alone, that are specifically created for patients with Crohn’s Disease. Approximately 40 local chapters will host at least 200 support groups, for both patients and family members.
They are there for people to share stories, discuss challenges, exchange ideas, and to support each other through a tough illness. And, it’s not all about sitting in a circle and taking turns speaking. Many of them will also organize picnics, luncheons, family outings, informational seminars and workshops, as well as other social events. If you find a group that you don’t feel comfortable with, look for another that will be better suited for you.
Search online for a group in your area, ask your doctor, or look through brochures you can find in the doctor’s office. If you still can’t find one you like, or one that is not in your preferred location, you can apply to start one of your own through your local chapter.
Traditional Support Groups
A traditional support group is one that you will meet with people in a building, a hospital, or a home somewhere. This is a good option for those who are ready to socialize and meet outside the house. In these groups, you will be interacting with people face to face, which might be uncomfortable at first. But, it’s a good way to get accustomed to being around people again.
This is also the type of support group that would be more apt to host social events around support. So, if you are ready, they are ready for you.
Support Groups Found Online
Maybe you are not ready to meet people face to face to talk about very intimate topics. But, that’s fine. The traditional groups will be there for you, when you are ready. For now, an online support group might be the best option for you.
Finding one is probably easier than finding a traditional support group. Just type in “Crohn’s Disease Online Support Groups” into your search engine, and a few should pop up. For an online group, they could be across the world, as long as they speak the same language. Time zones might be an issue, if you want to post live. But, many have boards that you can post messages and get replies.
Just like meeting people in person, you also need to be careful about “meeting” people online. When forming friendships with people online, you really never know who you are talking with at the time.
It’s also recommended that you attend meetings with groups that meet in person, because it will get you out of the house, and perhaps your comfort zone. Even if it’s an occasional meeting, it’s a healthy step to take.
Awareness Ribbons and Bracelets
One last form of support are the awareness ribbons and bracelets. It’s another potential way to meet others who suffer from Crohn’s Disease. The color for Crohn’s Disease is purple. So, if you see someone who is wearing a purple awareness bracelet or ribbon, they might be wearing it in support of Crohn’s Disease. If they are, you may have just met a new friend, someone who you can bond with and find support.