We sat down with Juliann to hear about her journey with an IBD. Check out what she had to say:
My name is Juliann and I serve as the Health Advisor Operations Associate at Pack Health. I was formally a Health Advisor but changed positions partially due to my IBD. My journey with a chronic condition has been challenging and exhausting. I have missed work, changed plans, and felt a deep sense of loss along my journey.
I started getting sick in January with frequent GI symptoms including severe pain. I began seeing a litany of doctors, but few answers were found. I began to feel depressed, anxious and concerned I would continue to get worse.
I felt a darkness creeping over me that I could not control.
That’s when I realized I needed to make some changes for myself and focus on self-care. I thought I was spending a significant amount of time focusing on the issue but realized I was only wallowing in it instead of making improvements.
I began eating healthy, exercising, and sleeping on a normal schedule. I reached out to friends and family and asked for support. Then I did the hardest, yet most rewarding thing I knew to do – I discussed my chronic condition with my employer.
When I first went to my boss about the problem I was scared I would be met with negativity. But I was completely wrong. I was met with understanding and a continued sense of support. We modified my work schedule to better be able to reflect “bad days” and doctors appointments. Ultimately, the position I was in proved to be too stressful for me to continue with – so Pack Health helped place me in a position that had more flexibility.
I believe the most important part of self-care with a chronic condition is to accept help. I understand the sensation of feeling like a burden or feeling insecure because you cannot do it on your own. But there is beauty in breaking down and accepting help. I want to encourage you that there is no shame in needing assistance. In fact, it is a sign of strength and determination to reach out when you are in need.
If you have an IBD and have not yet signed up for our IBD program, click here. You’ll be able to work with your health advisor, like I did, to better prioritize self-care with your condition. Just remember, you’re not alone, and some of us here at Pack Health battle health conditions of our own. Let’s stick together and offer each other the support we need along the way.