The Power of Empathy

10:36 PM

Hello from the other side.....

I have been so diligent with updating my other blog and have come to see that yet again, this poor baby gets neglected. But today I had some serious thoughts and thought it would be the perfect post to get back started on here again as well.

The keyword: Empathy

Let’s start from the beginning:

A part of my job is teaching an Anger Management course and last week I was reminded of empathy because it’s one of the topics we talk to our clients about. It is such a simple skills that can build such powerful relationships, yet it is so easily forgotten or is misguided.

People seems to have no problem differentiating between sympathy and empathy, but when they actually put these skills to use, its amazing how quickly we move to sympathizing.

This is the video I show my class and I think it perfectly sums up sympathy and empathy. I have buff, “manly men” get moved by this video, so I highly suggest taking the 3 minutes of your life to watch it.


Now, if you’ve been following my other blog, you’ll know that psychologically I’ve been struggling a bit since my diagnosis. I won’t go too much into it, but I wanted to mention this because though I have been struggling, one of the most empowering feelings I’ve felt is when someone empathizes with me. I’m not saying they need to know what the illness feels like to understand what I am going through, but there is something I am going through that they can connect with and it’s so moving.

I know a lot of people who show me sympathy genuinely care and just want to see me feel better and get back to “normal”. They don’t like seeing me in pain and I appreciate it. But when I can connect with other people’s experiences it reminds me that I am not alone.  And feeling alone, isolated, or like a burden is such a daunting feeling that really consumes you.

My mom and I have built this crazy strong relationship over the last month and a bit due to my illness. Unfortunately it’s because we can both connect over autoimmune disorders and the pains and aches you go through with it. When I’m having a really rough day, she just knows. She can see it in the way I move, the way I carry myself and talk, or even just look. And as a mother of course the first instinct is to protect your child and take away the pain, but she knows she can’t. So she empathizes with me. She talks me through what’s going on and we bond over similar experiences. She doesn’t try to solve my problem but instead reminds me that yeah, it really sucks and there are going to be days that are better and worse than today, but we can get through this. Sometimes she even just hugs me, and that’s enough.  I have a new found appreciation for my mom because I didn’t understand what she was going through. I didn’t understand how she could be so tired from doing next to nothing. I didn’t understand the mental courage it takes to not give into these illnesses and that there is nothing scarier than fighting with yourself. I admire now how much she has accomplished, even on her worst days and she has become my biggest inspiration to keep pushing forward and be stronger as I work my way through this.

Even my friendships have evolved through this journey because of empathy. One of my best friends has IBS, and although it’s not the same level of illness, there is still so much we have bonded over because of it. As funny as it is, having someone who I can freely discuss my poop problems with is a blessing. She has helped me change my thinking in that pooping is not a big deal, it’s a fact of life and something we all do so why should I be embarrassed about it? I cannot thank her enough for our friendship. She is someone who really does know me sometimes better than I know myself. I don’t need to explain myself to her and I don’t need to tell her when there’s a problem because she just knows. She was there when I publicly cried in Orlando and she didn’t try to stop me or hush me or even solve my problem. She just let me cry, because she knew I just needed to do it. It was something so simple, but again it was exactly what I needed. I think if she had tried to solve my problem or hushed me and took me away to the washroom to cry in private, I would have felt embarrassed or silly. I would have felt like I was being dramatic. Instead I felt like “yeah, this is a shitty situation and I’m in a lot of pain and right now I just need to have a good cry and then I can get back on my feet again.” And that’s exactly what I did. I cried and then we got back up and continued our day and I felt a little better for whatever reason.

My boyfriend also excels at empathy and I bet he doesn’t even realize it. He’s seen me at some of my most unattractively and sickly stages of the illness. I can see the worry across his face and can see his heart actually break when he looks at me, but it’s in those moments that he just hugs me. He just pulls me in to this tight hug, strokes my hair, and tells me he loves me. And when he says it, I can feel how much he means it. And this just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It may not solve my problem, but it gives me the strength to keep pushing. To know there are so many people rooting for you, who know how tough this has been on you, but see your own strength and courage- it makes you want to fight harder and find your own solutions. It makes you want to get back up and try again. It makes you want to face whatever demons may be lurking ahead of you, because again, you are not alone.

Empathy is so much more than just walking in another person’s shoes. It’s about giving the opportunity for someone to feel like they belong, they are accepted, and they are not alone. Because when we ourselves are in pain, we usually aren’t seeking for someone to solve our problems for us- usually we just want someone to show they care and that is why it’s so important and so empowering.

But I am off to bed! Goodnight lovely readers.

xoxo.


Bee.

New Blog

11:06 PM


Well I have officially advertised my new blog and I figured I better update this one too! I’m pretty proud of this baby. That will be my blog strictly for my journey through colitis and all my other rants shall still remain here on this blog!

But essentially the goal of this blog was
a) to help me because writing has always kept me sane, which is why I even created this blog here. I mean have you seen my really lame angsty high school blog posts? If only I could tell myself then that those were not problems!
b) to help other people as the navigate through whatever battle they are going through!

I really just hope it helps one person as well as helps me. This shit is tough and I feel like I am getting my ass kicked everyday. I literally got winded teaching my program for a bunch of toddlers. Singing with them winded me. And today I almost couldn’t open a jar of peanut butter! How am I supposed to be a strong independent woman if I have no strength?

But if you wanna check it out go ahead! Its www.shitsandgiggleswithb.com

I mean you definitely don’t have to. I talk about poop a lot. It’s why I literally called it shits and giggles, thought I could toss in some humour if I’m going to be stuck with this for the rest of my life.

But love you all, dear faceless readers!

xoxo,

Bee.

Ulcerative Colitis & Me

7:03 PM

So I am in a new relationship! After months of not knowing what was wrong with my body I have finally received my diagnosis: Ulcerative Colitis. And it looks like we will be together forever. In light of this and everything I had gone through to get to here, I have decided (after a great suggestion from my best friend) to have a blog as I journey through this new chapter of my life and hopefully help other people going through this as well. So once I make the blog I will post it here!



Hello, It’s me....

5:44 PM

I’m back, for probably the bazzilionth time.

This time it’s because life is getting blah and I need to work on my sanity. And stress levels.

So let’s do that thing, where I update you on everything that’s been happening.


  1. Tanner and I (the boy who I referred to in one of my posts) are dating and have been now for over a year! *cue crowd applause*. It was an emotional rollercoaster, but in the end so worth it. I have never felt so in love or so loved by another human.
  2. I am working in my field! I get to work with itty, bitty humans (children if you did’t catch on, although working with draws would be interesting as well) and teach parents about their kids and their development! So freaking happy because I’m actually challenged.
  3. I went to Europe for 5 weeks and it was glorifying. Literally one of the most magical moments. We went to England, Scotland, Amsterdam, Belgium, France (just Paris), and ended in Switzerland. And the terrible thing is I cannot wait to go back. Europe just captivates my soul and makes me feel so at home. 
                                     
   4. I have applied for graduate school for my Masters in Counselling Psychology! Now let’s pray I  
       get in.
   5. The main reason I am writing this post, I’m sick.


Now let’s clarify “I’m sick”. I’m not dying. I mean, I really hope not! But since October I have been consistently bleeding from my rear end. Like every time I go. Obviously, this is not normal. And you would THINK doctors would have warning bells ringing, but funny enough I was not taken seriously until I explained my symptoms and he looked perplexed. My symptoms didn’t match what he was already diagnosing. He literally sat across from me and said “I don’t know”

I. Don’t. Know.

Now readers, was I shocked? No. For years I have been a medical anomaly, and have often heard this phrase. But I think the frustrating part is this whole experience since November has been just more questions with no answers.

I have done so many tests and everything comes back normal, but I know what I am feeling is not normal. But I look normal so how does someone take that seriously? So now I’m in this limbo where all signs so far are pointing to having Colitis, I just need a colonoscopy to actually confirm it. And I was okay with this. This was a possible answer finally. But the frustrating part is I can’t get anything to help me until I get the actual diagnosis, which I’m on two waitlists for. I did get one appointment..... in March.

So now here I am, trying to find ways to deal with my body literally going to war with itself without making things worse. I’m at my wits end, because I’m fucking beat. Somedays I wake up feeling so sore all over my body. Like I just ran a triathlon. Or other days I wake up so nauseous that it physically causes me pain to even drink anything. Or I have 5-7 poop attacks in one day. Like yesterday. In a span of 2 and a half hours I had 4 poop attacks. And I’m ALWAYS tired. No matter how many hours of sleep I get, no matter how many naps. I’m tired.

I’m only 22 but I feel like I’m trapped in a 60 year olds body. And what was I to do? I was told I would just have to wait.

But screw that. Wait. I’m not waiting, and neither should anyone else! Be proactive about your health. Be proactive about yourself and your life! 

I bought myself a recipe book and did research to better understand my flare ups because colitis was just thrown at me like I already knew the term. No one told me what it is, what to expect, or what to do in the mean time. Then I bought probiotics from HUM Nutrition (which I highly recommend and will leave the link and discount code at the end). I’ve been drinking ridiculous amounts of water and taking it day by day. Days like yesterday I just applauded myself for getting through the day even though I spent the majority of the day in my bed, and today I felt good so I did more things for myself.

I never thought there would be a day that I would get sick and possibly never get better. I can only be “managed”. So I don’t try to dwell on it or ruminate. I am trying to find positives and be positive. I’m trying to take this as a turning point for my health. So let’s hope it sticks. But I think I need to get back into writing. Help me stay mentally sane as I embark this new unexpected journey. And maybe I’ll scavenger for a support group or forum.

But HAPPY NEW YEARS (Almost) LOVERS. And thanks for still reading my posts after all this time!

With Love,


Bee.


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