Crohn's Disease Forum » Support Forum » Mental Health Support » Ileostomy/Anxiety or Depression

02-04-2013, 04:12 PM   #1
Darci's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Ohio
Ileostomy/Anxiety or Depression

I recently hada partial colectomy and loop ileostomy done on 11-27-12. Hopefully the ileostomy will be reversed some time in the near future. My father also has Crohn's and had a permanent ileostomy done back in the 1990's. My family doctor put me on Zoloft some time before my surgery. I have been having some increased anxiety/depression since my surgery. Having the ileostomy has caused me to have a decrease in self esteem, I have been more anxious worrying about what people will think if they find out. I'm also worried about the disease returning. I just feel restless and I'm unable to sleep at night. I was told by my doctor today to reach out to an online support group. Even though my father has an ileostomy, there is a big age difference between us. I was hoping to have the perspective of some people my age and maybe some coping advice. Thanks in advance.
02-04-2013, 05:12 PM   #2
KWalker's Avatar
Hey! I don't have an ostomy myself but I can sympathize with what you're going through. It can be a big adjustment to your life but just think about the benefits that surgery will provide you. There are many members on here who now have their lives back because of their ostomies. If you don't mind me asking, how old are you? You don't look very old in your avatar. I'm 22 myself and have had crohns my whole life. I've been through a lot, had to make a few adjustments in my life, and even lost some friends but this forum really taught me that I was definitely not the only person dealing with IBD and that there are many people out there who are very supportive.

My little brother had UC and was required to have an ileostomy. He was actually supposed to have it reversed awhile back and he said he would rather have the "bag" than live the way he did before hand, which is a risk when they do a reversal. And you would never know my brother has had that surgery.

Have a look at this website as well. It's basically a group of young, proud girls that use their ostomies/IBD to create awareness and educate others.
Age 2 (1992)

Previous Meds:
Methotrexate (oral)
Methotrexate (injections)

Current Treatment:
200mg Simponi, Psyllium
02-04-2013, 08:08 PM   #3
Darci's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Ohio
I do feel much better health wise, I just have to get over the self image issue. I wasn't exactly confident before my surgery with my body, this just adds to it. Thanks for your reply.
02-04-2013, 08:31 PM   #4
KWalker's Avatar
Well your avatar isn't that big, but from what I can see you don't need to be worrying about your body image. Unfortunately some people think of IBD and stomas as being "gross" or "unattractive" but there are MANY very good looking women with stomas and it certainly doesn't make them any less attractive.
02-04-2013, 08:56 PM   #5
Darci's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Ohio
Thank you. You did put a smile on my face.
02-04-2013, 09:21 PM   #6
KWalker's Avatar
Good! You deserve it! You've been through a lot and you're a strong woman to come out on top. You should be so proud of yourself.
02-07-2013, 10:22 PM   #7
Dsnygrl377's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2010
I know exactly how you feel. I am in my mid 30's, and I've had an illeostomy since 2004, and I know how you feel about the self-esteem. At first, I didnt want to go out of the house, nor did I want anyone to know what type of surgery I had. Close friends/family knew and that was ok. Now that I am in my mid 30's, still with the illeostomy I don't struggle so much with the self-esteem, but it is always in the back of my mind what will someone say when they find out. Mainly a guy.

I have a lot of anxieties that I deal with, and am taking medication for it. I am on Cymbalta. I have been on it for several months and am finally at a dosage that I think it working for me. Prior to that I was in such a funk - it was just awful.

I know how it is and how you feel about being depressed. I felt like no one would accept me b/c of the illeostomy. But we are our own worst critics, and with out having this surgery I wouldn't be here typing this. I don't tell everyone right away I have an illeostomy b/c I look at it like, "No one talks about how they go to the bathroom on a daily basis"....but if they ask what all I've gone through, I tell them depending on how I feel. I share what I am comfortable with at that time.

I know I am kinda rambling and may not be making sense...see, I get nervous just typing LOL - but I know exactly how you feel. It does and will get better for you!! I am so glad I found this message board. I haven't been on in a while, replying a lot, but when I saw this post I had to respond. I can always count on coming here and reading that other people go through exactly what I am dealing with, and have given me support!

All the best you to you dear! God bless!

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. - Walt Disney

Go SAINTS! I'm a WhoDat Nawlins girl born and raised!

Crohn's since 1998; 2000 Colostomy 4 months later/reversal; 2004 Illeostomy to present, with many many surgeries in between.

Currently On
Humira & b12 injections

Multi-vitamins - Iron
02-08-2013, 05:19 AM   #8
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: denver, Colorado
Its understandable what you have gone through. Post surgery depressions among the patients are very common. You need to gather all your strength and come out of this difficult phase. You may spend your time doing things what you like to do, meditate, relax and have good conversation with family and friends etc. I wish you come out of these problems soon. Keep well!!!
02-08-2013, 06:22 AM   #9
Pie-Guy's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2013
I have had an ileostomy for 4 years. When I got it my nurse said there were support groups. I told her I didn't need a hug, I got an ileostomy so I could get on with my life, which I have.
  • If I find someone who has a problem with it, they don't deserve my friendship.
  • When people ask about it, I am matter of fact about it. I say "Yeah, bit of a life adjustment but I am no longer sick as a dog"
  • When people look at me with the feel sorry look I use comedy. My fave is "well it has it's positives, for example right now I have explosive diarrhea and I don't really care".
  • When a friend who knows I have an ilostomy say "I need to go take a poop" - Yes some of my friends announce it - I respond with "Already in progress"
  • When something scared me I say "I almost crapped my bag".
The more it appears that it isn't a big deal in your life, the more people will not let it be a big deal to them.

02-15-2013, 09:59 AM   #10
Senior Member
partlycloudy's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010

My Support Groups:
Hi Darci. I don't know how old you are, but I was in my mid-thirties when I had an ileostomy. It was reversed 3 months later, but I pretty much spent the first 3/4 of that time very depressed about it. I felt dirty, ugly, gross, like a freak, etc. I had body inage issues to begin with also so it certainly didn't help to have a bag with poop hanging off my belly. I thought to myself often that if they couldn't reverse it and I had to live with it I'd just kill myself. Literally.

However, with time I got over all that and moved on. By the time it was reversed I was adjusted to it and even now I know if I had to have one I'd be okay with it. Not an ideal situation but I'd be just fine anyway.

And I can honestly say many, many times during a flare in the midst of severe pain and vomiting I'd prefer an ileostomy.

I did nothing special to adjust so I can't really give you any good tips besides try to be patient with yourself. These things take time, different time for different people. And maybe you need to increase your Zoloft dosage.

Hang in there. It will get easier.

Edited to say that, like Pie-Guy above, I used humor as an adjustment technique. Some days I preferred to cry rather than laugh...and some days I did just that.....but if you can get there, there are a lot of funny stoma/ileostomy stories to laugh about. For me, humor diffused my taking it all so seriously.
Crohn's of ileum dx'd 2008.
Imuran, 150 mg

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