Dealing With Mental Health After An Ostomy

by Nathan Wheeler

Dealing With Mental Health After An Ostomy

Hello everyone!

In this blog I want to talk about mental health and the dealings I’ve gone through since my stoma surgery.

I’ll start right back at the beginning of my journey. When I was finally diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, I was in a hospital bed and being sent down to surgery. I didn’t have long to think about what was going on, so nothing seemed to affect me mentally at that point. Having any sort of surgery is stressful, both physically and mentally but for me, it wasn’t until the healing process started that I registered what had actually happened and that’s when I found myself struggling to find happiness.

I would find myself asking the questions, ‘Why me?’ and ‘What did I do to deserve this?’

It would upset me so much that I had to go through this, and I just didn’t understand. I would feel completely worthless as though I was a hassle. If it wasn’t for my family being such an amazing support around me, I think things would be very different today. I don’t think I would have really gone ahead with it, but I certainly had those thoughts that life would be better if I wasn’t around.

I didn’t want to see anyone about it for such a long time. I thought that maybe I was supposed to feel that way for the rest of my life!

I kept up this way of living for a few years before mentioning anything to a doctor. It was my mum who convinced me to say something, because she could see how much I was mentally hurting. I was offered counselling. I went for my sessions but I didn’t feel the benefit. They weren’t telling me anything I didn’t already know. I just couldn’t switch that feeling of worthlessness off.

That being said, counselling works for so many people, so I always recommend giving it a go. Even if you’re sceptical at first, just give it a try before making your own mind up about it.

After I finished the counselling sessions, I still wasn’t ‘right’. I went back to the doctors and decided to try antidepressant medication.

At first, I was so against pills. I think we are brought up to not accept help. There are so many strong opinions about antidepressants, but I can honestly say, going on them changed my life. I do believe that if you have tried everything and you’ve been struggling to deal with something for a long time, then it’s worth a shot. At the point I was put on them, I was at the end of coping, so I was willing to try anything.

Once I started antidepressants, I was able to see a little more clearly.

I was looking at things with a more rational outlook. I then felt like I could really start working on myself and making myself happy again. With the wounds healed, I was able to start exercising and I focused a lot of my time on getting fit and healthy. I also found things like positive affirmations helpful on the days when I was still feeling low.

I think talking to others and hearing their stories was a massive help in my recovery. I started doing social media and contacting people that went through the same thing so I didn’t feel so alone. I started a YouTube Channel and have made so many friends through it.

The biggest thing I have to say about mental health is that you are worthy, and what we go through is tough, but things do get better.

I wouldn’t change a thing about what happened to me, it has made me who I am today. So, if you are struggling right now – I want you to look at me. I was the weakest person ever and I feel so much stronger now and you can too. It’s all part of our journey and our story. Do things that make you happy, take time to love yourself and reach out because you are not alone.

See you next time!

Nathan

Nathan Wheeler

About the author

Hello - I'm Nathan Wheeler! I'm a YouTuber and I've had an ileostomy since 2007 when I was just 17, so I have a pretty good idea about how to deal with the struggles of a stoma!  I want to share my experiences with you and bring a light-hearted approach to all the questions that no one wants to ask! You can follow me an Instagram and YouTube.

Recent Comments

  • Catherine

    I’ve had a colostomy bag for three years. I also had one ten years ago that was reversed. This one cannot be reversed as I don’t have much bowel left. I feel so sad about this as my husband died three years ago and I now find it hard getting on with my life alone without my husband and coping with my permanent bag.

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