My #GetYourBellyOut story: Kevin

To try to understand how #GetYourBellyOut have played a part in my life I need to go back in time to when I didn’t even have a clue what Crohn’s Disease or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) truly was…

Life has let’s say never been straightforward in terms of confidence and mental capacity to fully believe in myself. Then a few life changing events shaped me in ways I never thought I would come through.

Darkness was a friend of mine it played the role of my safe keeper. I still functioned. I still felt a part of society but what part I never fully understood.

Then 17 years ago, well 19 years ago I guess when I consider when the actual illness decided to rip through me…. pain, pain and more pain. My skin and shell shedded to reveal the darkened shadow of my existence.

The day I got diagnosed well let’s say it was a blessing and a curse because being blind to what was going on I had a belief that my illness was terminal and my life would no longer be on this earth. So, when the Consultant advised I had Crohn’s of my Small Bowel I didn’t have a clue what the journey I was about to undertake would actually resemble.

That was 17 years ago, and the Darkness was ever more my friend. Isolation was my daily existence in a crowded room. Selfishly putting the worlds to rights but only with myself to reply.

I wasn’t alone I had a loving family and at the time a loving girlfriend who became my wife, so I had no reason to feel alone but I did, and it was an abyss of mental pain. The medication helped, physically I felt better, stronger but inside I still wasn’t coping, I wasn’t ME. Although I still fought daily to actually see who ME was.

This continued until 10 years ago my Father passed away suddenly and I didn’t get to say goodbye, He wouldn’t get to see my unborn child and later my other daughter. This was a turning point though. In reality for me that you only get one life, I looked for a way out a way to start to build myself mentally and I thought the best way to do this was by helping others.

I took to studying counselling and the human mind. Learning more and more about how people work and what drives them to feel and act in ways. I learned more about myself and how I found darkness to be my friend. I realised it but it still wasn’t easy to try to pull myself out of it.

Then like a lightning bolt of pain. 6 years ago, I got rushed into hospital to have an operation to remove a large section of my colon and fistula. The bowel resection went well and even though I have since had another 2 operations due to health issues.

I decided after coming out of hospital that I had been neglecting the community that I had been part of for so long without reaching out and maybe seeking some light to the darkness that I had engulfed myself with.

That brings me to My Community, My extended family, and the light for my shadow. I had flirted with other support groups until four years ago when I bravely decided to go to a #GetYourBellyOut ball. This was the start of what was to become an ever-growing fondness for the moral compass and value of this organisation. It’s desire to make a difference, sow positivity into minds of IBD’ers and spread the value of communication of IBD into communities and avenues that haven’t been thought of is ground-breaking. It’s what keeps me believing that there is hope to grow, hope to conquer and hope to survive for with a strong support my mental capacity has new life and a new desire to make that difference also.

I try now to get as involved as possible in GetYourBellyOut events and sharing their achievements, as the person who 10 years ago wanted to help others is finally reaping the rewards of being able to recognise I needed to change. For in change I have a chance to better myself and help others better themselves too. Maybe even bring some Light to their dark minds.