Tips for having a useful and healthy outlet

Saleem Juma
Saleem Juma
You have to own having an ostomy. You have to be proud of who you are and what you’ve been through. Remember, you still stand a survivor of great pain and suffering; the experience showing just how strong your spirit is, unbreakable.

Self Pity… I despise that term; or maybe it’s the term “pity” in general. More likely it’s the latter, whenever people ask me about the disease or the permanent ostomy bag on my stomach, the expression and tone of the conversation always turns to that pitying look and demeanour.

I used to think it was a good thing, people will feel sorry for me and they won’t expect as much of me right? Wrong. This is a trap, not only the pity of others but more importantly seeing yourself as a victim and falling prey to thoughts of self-pity.

I saw myself as the victim for a long time, hated and had bitter thoughts to those that I thought had it better than me. I felt like God was punishing me. This did not help me one bit, my social anxiety got worse as well as my depression (because I was so busy feeling sorry for myself all the time, I’d get lost in my thoughts of how bad I thought things were). I still lost jobs for getting sick too often and ending up in the hospital; my superiors may have pitied me but they still had a company to run. You ever heard the term “pity date”? Where someone goes out with you but only because they feel bad for you? While that in itself is enough to really get you down, even worse it shot my confidence; so, no girl I ever went out with ever stuck around. Nobody wants to have to carry their partner (there’s a big difference between being there for each other in rough situations, and being with someone who wallows in self-pity all day).

This is why I say it’s a trap; your friends won’t want to be around you because you’re always sad or depressed. And the worst part is, it’s a stacking cumulative effect, a vicious cycle. The catch 22 that you can’t run from (because you see yourself as a victim and cannot pull yourself out of the hole). There’s really only one way to get away from that hole.

You have to flip the script, flip it from what seems like a disadvantage into an advantage; see the positives instead of the negatives. You have to own having an ostomy. You have to be proud of who you are and what you’ve been through. Remember, you still stand a survivor of great pain and suffering; the experience showing just how strong your spirit is, unbreakable.

I know it sounds hard, trust me I know. When you’re in that state of self-pity; you don’t want to think of anything else. Only about how hard everything is for you and nobody understands; trust me, I know.

But it’s not the disease or the ostomy that will destroy you, it’s self-pity and feeling like a victim that will mar and corrupt your spirit; eating away at it until there’s nothing left.

Don’t let that happen, fight for your confidence back, show the world your strength. Show them you’re not going down without a fight.

Technical Tips:

Now that you know that I too understand what you’re going through (because like you, I’ve also lived it); here are some actual technical tips to help you pull yourself away from feeling like a victim and going back out there and owning every battle you come across.

1. Writing, whether an online blog like myself or a more private journal. It helps to get all those thoughts out on paper, they’ll stop floating around in your head as much; helps with the anxiety too because it makes them visual and concise. Not just a bunch of random thoughts racing through your head at the worst possible times.
2. The gym, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. I’m not much for vanity but looking good means feeling good. It helps a ton and those massive endorphin rushes after you finish a long workout don’t hurt either.
3. YouTube videos and meditation (especially guided meditation and hypnosis); I listen to 2 hours of guided meditation every single day. Once in the morning before I start my day and once at night before I fall asleep. It’s become like a ritual for me; I love it. I noticed the subconscious benefits after only a couple weeks, my mind was much stronger, I had more control of my emotions; I believed in myself both consciously and subconsciously. It’s the best way to succeed to have both of those working in tandem.

I really hope this article and tips help you; it’s not easy to have what we have, deal with what we’ve dealt with. I know how it is, how easy it is to fall to bitterness and anger. Don’t fall into that trap, never see yourself as the victim, see yourself as strong and confident; and keep the fire of your spirit burning red hot. ?

Please note that these tips are what has worked for Saleem, we advise that you visit your stoma nurse or GP for specific advice to your personal situation.