5 Confidence Boosters
Ultimately, the key to good relationships -- with lovers or friends -- is to feel good about yourself. These long-term strategies can help:
Educate yourself. Stay on top of your disease. Explore all medical, nutritional, emotional, and spiritual options that can help you cope and manage it with confidence.
Learn to accept your body. Medication side effects such as stretch marks, acne, and weight gain (or loss) can do a number on your body image and interest in dating. Exercise -- even short walks -- and eating well when possible can help you feel better about your body image. Working with a counselor or psychologist who is familiar with UC can also help.
Find ways to relieve stress and pain. Having a lifelong disease is stressful. So is the uncertainty of a disease like ulcerative colitis. Regular exercise, yoga or tai chi, meditation, relaxation exercises, cognitive behavioral therapy, or psychological therapy can help with pain and stress.
Don’t try to go it alone. Joining a support group -- in person or online -- can help you feel less alone. “There’s sympathy and empathy, and sometimes you need the empathy,” says Rima. “You can get tips from people who have been through the exact same situation. Otherwise, there aren’t many people you can talk to about bathroom issues that are so monumental and humiliating.”
Create a sense of purpose and meaning from the disease. Volunteer at an organization for ulcerative colitis or at camp for kids who have the disease. You’ll feel less isolated and may be a positive role model for a child who may one day face these same challenges.