Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Denial of Self

I posted a photo of an art project and received a comment that I have never received before: GROSS. I made a rule about this blog and so will not be writing a general diatribe about nudity and nudism. Instead, I will be a tad more pointed with my vantage on nudity and how it affects and helps my life as pertains to my Crohn's Disease. I waited some time in writing, formulating and posting this particular article; I wanted to make certain that as little emotion was included as possible. The only warning that I would give is that if you are looking for sexual innuendo, sleeziness, pedophilia, and general lack of decency to inflame your morals to the point that you must speak out then you will have to go to another blog; this has nothing to do with any of those topics and never will.

Let me start by giving a situation that everyone with Crohn's Disease or some sort of IBD has experienced. The setting is the doctor's office. There has been an appointment set and both sides have held up their end of the bargain by showing up. This is where most people's sense of normalcy ends. In many cases, we are asked to incorporate some stage of undress in our visit. The dread and the stress that comes along with trying to accommodate our modesty has a deleterious effect on us. We accommodate the doctor so that we can make certain that our health is not deteriorating. Everyone knows this situation, right? What about those hospital visits that we have all had to experience? I don't think anyone can say that they have had a hospital stay where their modesty and privacy hasn't been intruded upon by nurses, staff, doctors, or cell mates. The threadbare gown that they give us to wear doesn't even keep us warm, let alone cover us; but I don't care. I have seen so many people that worry about having some other person see some part of their body and just stress over it; but I really don't care. I don't even bother to wear the gowns anymore; it's not like the people that work there haven't already seen everything; I just don't care. Before this mentality of mine kicked in, I was always scrambling to cover up; afterwards, so much stress was removed from the situation. As we all know, stress is a big factor in our flare-ups and getting better.

What I also found, though, is that we all get varying amounts of pressure around our abdominal area. I am fairly certain that most of us have either worn pants/shorts that are several sizes too large or unbuttoned the clothing just to find comfort from the pressure. There are even times when that extra pressure on your abdomen can propagate a flare-up due to a blockage. I don't experience that any more. A slight change in the pressure on my abdomen usually goes unnoticed since there is nothing to press back. There are times where I must remain clothed for longer periods of time. It is these days where I start to feel a slight discomfort in my abdominal area. As soon as I remove the waistbands the discomfort goes away within the hour.

I can see the commentary that might come from others with Crohn's or Colitis: what about the cleanliness or accidents? These are both valid concerns, but I don't believe they are warranted. Many people use their clothing as a way to keep from cleaning themselves fully. Even with the most heinous of assplosions, one can still take the time to clean up in the shower. There are wash cloths and wet wipes that we all have available to us. It only takes a little more time to go that extra mile when cleaning yourself. In the long run, your pants and undergarments will thank you for that extra time.

What of the accidents, though? Go back and read my posting about accidents. Clothes do nothing to shield you from accidents happening. In fact, all they do is make the mess worse. The mess is now smeared all over you. It still got on the floor. It still got on the couch where you were sitting. And, most likely, you have to throw away some ruined clothing. That clothing has lulled you into a false sense of security since you think it will "catch" whatever might come forth. I have found that I am more keen in understanding and feeling any urges my body may send forth, no matter how small. I am more attuned to my body.

In the end -- pun intended -- I had to be more vigilant and more responsive. I also had to come to grips with my Crohn's and how it wove itself through my body. It is one thing to think you understand. It is another thing to see the small changes in your natural form as you tweak your diet, as you exercise more or less, the slight growth of your belly an hour before any pain starts. It was a good step in me accepting myself wholly so that I could make constructive changes.


A little extra reading for those interested: