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What People With Ostomies Want You To Know

What People With Ostomies Want You To Know

Chances are you have heard of someone living with an ostomy, you just did not know that is what it is called. An ostomy is a surgery that involves creating an opening that links someone’s urinary or digestive systems to an outside source, like a bag.

People might have ostomies for different reasons. They may also have different kinds of procedures. But the thing that brings people together is that there are some things that they want you to know about what it’s like to have an ostomy.

There is no shame in carrying a bag

Unless you suffer from an issue with your bowels, you might find it difficult to talk about your bowels. You might have been told that it is impolite when you were a child. You might have been told that it is just a bit gross. But the reality is, carrying an ostomy bag is nothing to be ashamed of.

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One of the hardest parts of having an ostomy is in the beginning after you’ve just had the surgery. It is a life change that some people have a hard time coming to terms with. But when they have support from their community, it is easier to realize that there is no shame in carrying a bag. Waste is a fact of life!

Ostomies do not change you, just how you remove waste

You might not talk about it at the dinner table, but every single person on this planet removes waste somehow. The President of the United States, Hollywood celebrities and your great aunt all have to do it sometime. People with ostomies remove waste too. They just do it a bit differently.

Having an ostomy can be a life changing experience. It can make people more comfortable and relieve so much pain. But it doesn’t change who they are.

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They are the same person that they were before they had the surgery. They have the same hopes, fears, dreams and sense of humor. The only difference is that now they can go out their daily lives with a similar level of comfort to what you already enjoy.

People with ostomies don’t mind talking about it

If you have never had issues with your bowel movements, you probably don’t talk about them. But for those who have had the misfortune of inheriting bowels that do not work quite the way they should, they used to talking about it. They talk about it with their doctors, their parents, their partners and with other people if they have to.

People with ostomies do always not mind being asked direct questions about their experiences. In fact, they prefer it. The more comfortable people around them are, the less stigma is attached to the bag. This is better for everyone.

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Do keep in mind that some people might think this is a private matter. Make sure that you read social cues before pressing on with this. Ostomy or not, not everyone likes to share!

Anyone can have an ostomy

Some people believe that it is only the elderly that have ostomies, but this is a myth! Even young children can need an ostomy.

Inflammatory bowel disease is one of the most common digestive diseases. It can affect anyone from the age of 10 on up. Lots of people who have Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis also end up having these procedures as well.

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It doesn’t mean your life is over; it is just beginning

Having an ostomy is not something that people choose to have. It is often a procedure that happens when little else is working. But that does not mean that their lives are over. In fact, it means the opposite. For many people with ostomies, it means their life can finally begin.

There are some things that might have to change after the procedure. But these changes are as unique as the person carrying the bag. In fact, having an ostomy does not have to stop people from doing anything they want to do. As mentioned before, they still have the same hopes and dreams!

Unfortunately, some people sometimes start to have issues with self-esteem and turn to social media, going on a binge collecting Twitter followers. It’s not surprising that your confidence might take a hit if you have been sick for a while. This is why it is important for you to talk to people about their ostomies. Even if they’re feeling sad, you can remind them that now they have an opportunity to live a life that is more comfortable than before.

There are a lot of things that people with ostomies want you to know. The best thing you can do to support someone with an ostomy. The best thing you can do is to not treat them any differently than you did before.

Featured photo credit: Miss Shari via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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