Why IBD Awareness Needs to Happen

Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week 2020 may have come to end, but that doesn’t mean raising awareness for IBD, and other chronic illnesses, ends there. But why? Why talk about IBD? What’s the significance in raising awareness online? These are a few key reasons that have been on my mind lately after nearly 2 years of living with IBD.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀There are many reasons why IBD awareness matters.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

To reduce the stigma

Talking about IBD openly helps people who may feel embarrassed or worried to talk about their thoughts, feelings, symptoms, experiences with IBD. Unfortunately, there is a taboo umbrella over talking about your body, and anything related to toilets, poo, and bowel habits. Raising awareness is a way to normalise bowel talk and open up discussions.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Not every disability is visible.

Raising awareness opens up the realities of IBD and creates a better understanding. Some people struggle to get their head around this concept, which is why continued education is vital.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Because IBD is invisible, there are times when you can think, am I the only one? You are not alone. The online community is amazing. We share stories so that people with IBD have a safe place to get support and not feel judged.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Improved opportunities

Having open conversations about IBD to improve health care and mental health support. To reduce diagnosis time. To create more equal opportunities in life for people with chronic illness, in your personal life, the workplace, and society as a whole.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Why on social media?

Social media is our main way of getting IBD voices heard. There are more IBD stories in the news and medical documentaries, which is great. Living with IBD by Bryony Hopkins and Strictly Amy: Crohn’s and Me by Amy Dowden are two documentaries well worth a watch.

But you don’t get fiction books, TV shows, or movies featuring characters with IBD. You don’t get taught about chronic illness and invisible health conditions at school. Search Crohn’s on Goodreads and results for cookbooks come back at you. Search IBD films on Google and you get how the one of the Alien writers had Crohn’s. Many forms of media that people grow up with, you don’t see IBD, or barely any chronic illness, represented, so the majority of the population won’t have had the chance to be familiar with IBD.

This is why social media is so pivotal in improving understanding and education of chronic illness.⠀

Sharing your health is incredibly personal, but know that you’re not alone, and it’s ok to talk 💜

Megan x