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Girls With Guts New Attendee Retreat, 2019

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Thank you for making yourself vulnerable because I know that's hard. It's hard enough to do that as a woman much less with IBD. So thank you for sharing that story because it actually can be empowering. Someone said that earlier like they know that they can now get through it because there's so much other stuff. When I was diagnosed from UC to Crohn's, I did lose it. Because back then, in my mind, with UC I could at least have the surgery, and with Crohn's, there's nothing. And now I know that is not the case. My Crohn's caused my mental health to just diminish. Like you were saying - I hit a brick wall, like I felt like I was there. I just, felt like I didn't have a reason to live because there was nobody. I felt like there was nobody in this world and now I feel like there's - Look at how many people there are in this world. I lived in this bubble and now I know my bubble is a lot bigger than I thought it was and I'm so grateful for that. "I have an ostomy, I feel completely isolated and I don’t know what to do because sometimes I don’t feel like I fit in UOAA or other groups because I don’t technically have Crohn’s or colitis but everything that I experience is so similar. But you can't share that with other people because it's not socially acceptable. So it’s nice to have somewhere to go and know that I can text and message and ask the crazy, weird questions that I can’t ask anyone else." You know, I've often pushed myself to do adventurous things like the high-ropes. I don't thin I would have pushed myself to do something like that. That was something else. And just to see the camaraderie that we built around whether or not we could make it all the way across.. that doesn't matter. The fact that, you know, we were there cheering each other on, or helping each other even take that first step to get onto the ladder or those things that we had to hold onto while we're all shaking.. We're still helping each other do that and I think that's really symbolic of what this disease is and what this community is. We help each other tread the path that we don't think we should have been dealt. When I finally found Girls With Guts, I kind of was like ,"Oh I'm not going through all of the different things people are going through. I'm just going through the loneliness." And I'm going through the fact that people who were my greatest friends in my 20s have now bailed on me in our 30s. I thank you for making me feel accepted, even though I might not have had to have all of the surgeries, or all of the infusions, or have been on all the medications that you are all on. I don’t feel alone anymore. And it just feels really nice to be in another country and feel connected to people. So thank you for giving me the opportunity and I'm really inspired by all of your stories and by your strength, and your courage and your fearlessness. I still sometime get that look or I still kind of have to put the mask on of "Okay, I can't say this. I have to put a filter on about this." I can't talk about, especially with IBD but so many other little things too. And I love that we all, like, not only have like niches but we all have similarities in some ways that is so loving and accepting. Even though I'm an only child but you're all my sisters now. Walking in here and leaving with 30 new friends. I have a support system at home but nobody else is really sick. So I'm glad that I got to come here and not be the "sick one" for once. And I'm glad that I got to come here and meet all of you guys and I really appreciate all of you for everything that you are. And I really appreciate you guys for making this possible.

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Duration: 4 minutes and 24 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: ibdgirls on Jun 23, 2019

The Girls With Guts Retreat is a weekend-long event providing opportunities for women aged 18+ with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and/or ostomies to foster friendships and learn ways to improve their lives emotionally, mentally, and physically. Girls With Guts recognizes the importance of surrounding one's self with supportive, positive, and encouraging individuals who inspire each other to move into the future with heads held high, free of any shame previously associated with the disease.
This years retreat was held at Trout Lake Retreat Center in Stroudsburg, PA, on June 7th-9th, 2019.

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