Keepin’ it Real in the Real World with IBD.

by on Wednesday, June 17, 2009 15:54
This entry is filed under: Living with jpouch

So, first off, I’m am really too white and too dorky to be throwing around phrases like, “Keepin’ it real.”  Just wanted to acknowledge that!  I am thrilled to have recently earned a position at a prestigious law firm in downtown Portland.  I am currently working as a paralegal and am super-swamped with work already!  I notice a trend when I’m working though-really, it’s a very personal thing and something that I think is common to a lot of IBD-ers/J-pouchers.  We tend to be, based on my experiences, very smart, good-looking (duh), and type A personalities.  Ironically, I can be very anal retentive, although I try so hard not to be.  After the Crohn’s diagnosis I embarked upon a major personality overhaul.  Well, I kept the sweet, adorable, witty parts, but tried to work on the neurotic, perfectionist ones.  So the bad thing is, I’m one of those people who thrives on stress.  I think it’s good for my brain and bad for my guts.  I can physically feel my body tensing up and I just feel like I’m constricting.  I am at least aware of this and do things like yoga, prayer, and simple acts of stopping to take deep breaths and remind myself to “keep things in perspective” and chill.

My new job requires me to write, a LOT, which I love, but I’m feeling really overwhelmed with my case load.  I know 99% of this is just coming into a new position and trying to become familiar with all the nuances of the work environment, people, learn how they do things, and become acquainted with my position.  I really had to check myself today though.  I had a reality check moment with myself and with God.  I just said, “Okay…I realize that I’m freaking out.  I see what will happen if I don’t get this behavior under control, I’ll get sick and have to leave another job and be unemployed again…” I know it’s something I can control, but it still shocks me how our personality types and stress levels can affect our diseases.  It’s just a pattern I’ve noticed with myself, so I’m trying to surround myself with Zen thoughts, but it’s been a rough transition so far.  It’s also a good reminder to keep things in perspective.  My job is important, but without my health, what do I have?  If there is anything good to be gained from being chronically ill, it is the appreciation for the things that matter.  Most refer to these as the “little things”, but we know better.

I’m trying to live life in the moment and not worry about things that, like my yoga teacher always said,” are no longer serving me”.  I’m enjoying my dog and my fusband (fiance+husband…we like fusband better) and learning that days go by a lot faster when you are incredibly busy!  So those moments of “little things” are already much more valuable.

Just a friendly reminder to all you workaholics out there to keep it real and be good to your guts, and yourself.

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6 Responses to “Keepin’ it Real in the Real World with IBD.”

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    Megan says:

    June 18th, 2009 at 8:44 am

    As an EX-workaholic, I greatly appreciate this post Lizz. First, congrats on the position it sounds wondeful. The reason I appreciate your post is because my old habits of being type A, perfectionist, work all the time was truly tested during the sick times with Mark. Now, he was the sick one with UC but that process of him being sick and trying to get him healthy really weighed on me. I found tyring to get my Ph.D. while being perfect and dealing with his disease was too much and it forced me to re-evaluate how I handled work. It was one of the benefits of his illness was me learning how to let go of work perfection. Now, I work just as well but have totally new habits that are life friendly. My first mantra for survival is “Don’t take yourself too seriously” – these words are so key for me. I also have learned that work and accomplishments are NEVER DONE. In other words, I was once worried about passing my phd exam, then I passed the exam, then I was worried about proposing my dissertation, and it goes on and on…..And seeing that it just goes from finishing one thing to starting another has helped me learn so much my second life saving mantra, “Life is in the journey.” I am very thankful that I had to learn how to balance my workaholic traits during the height of Mark’s disease, I feel it has made me a much happier and effective person today.

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    Elise says:

    June 21st, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Congratulations on your new job Lizz!! And we are a darn good looking bunch arent we :)

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    Megan Reply:

    Hey Elise, Aren’t you heading inot surgery soon, like June 24th, right?

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    Eric Reply:

    Damn straight we’re good lookin’. I’m a sexy beotch, sexy beotch!

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    sig says:

    June 22nd, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Lizz, I loved your posting also, thanks! which Portland?

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    Lizz Reply:

    Portland, OR. I love it! :)

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