How Can I Help

A few ways to make a loved one with IBD feel safe and supported By Jo Power

1. Supportive But Subtle

Your friend or family member knows that their body is like a ticking time bomb. If they want to talk about that, great! If not, they most definitely don’t need to be reminded with frequent questions about how they’re feeling or if they need to find a toilet. Instead, let them know when you leave the house that all they have to do is say the word and you’ll join them on a high-speed quest for the nearest toilet. Also, let them know that you don’t mind stopping a million times if they need to; that’ll help relieve some of their anxiety about ruining your day.

2. Be Gross

If you’re up to it, make jokes about some of the unsavoury bodily things that happen to you. It depends on the kind of relationship you have, but if you’re close, open up a dialogue about pooping, gas and anything else that’s usually considered too gross for conversation. Once you start talking about it, your friend or family member may feel comfortable enough to start talking about it. And feeling comfortable enough to talk about the most embarrassing symptoms of Crohn’s or Colitis will make them feel less alone.

3. Respect Their Routine

Routine can be very important for someone with IBD. Even just getting up earlier than usual and leaving the house right away can be traumatic, especially if they’re then getting in the car and driving a long distance. You can help your friend or family member feel safe and supported by being aware of their routines and respecting their importance of them. If you don’t live with them and you don’t know how they manage their disease, ask! Just ask them if there are any times of day they feel weird about leaving the house, what sort of places stress them out and what they do if they need to be somewhere and they feel sick.

4.  Send Them Snippets

You’re probably on the internet every day. When you come across something interesting and IBD-related in your web trotting, share it with your friend or family member! Just pop the link into an email and send it over. IBD is hard to talk about, so a lot of sufferers go through their symptoms in silence. But this sort of gesture will let them know you’re thinking of them and that you acknowledge their disease.  Plus, they might learn something that could help them feel a bit better!