Ailish had a subtotal colectomy just two weeks after being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in October 2020. She now lives with an ileostomy stoma and has been on the end of upsetting comments because of this.
Over time, though, this got easier and she turned her attention to combatting the ignorance that often leads to these comments.
I was so worried about having surgery, as I was very new to having Colitis and everything was moving so quickly.
I didn’t really get the chance to process what had happened or what was about to happen and I was conscious of how my body would look post-op. I didn't know whether I’d still be accepted after surgery as I’d look “different” to a lot of other 24-year-old girls. I’m very thankful to have a very supportive boyfriend, who loves me no matter how “different” I may look to others. My family and friends have also been a great support and I didn’t feel that I had to make many changes in my daily routine because of having a stoma. I just always make sure I take my supplies with me wherever I go!
However, since having my surgery, I have faced a lot of negativity and many hurtful comments. I’ve heard it all from “you are just seeking attention” to “having a stoma bag is disgusting, you shouldn’t show that off it’s not attractive”.
At the start, the negative comments did upset me and it was really hard to overlook them.
They made me feel really self-conscious but, in the end, it’s the comments like this that spurred me on to creating my blog on Instagram. I thought I could use my platform on Instagram to show to people that looking “different” is okay, and that no matter how we look, we should be proud and accepting of who we are and where we’ve come from. I think we all need to love ourselves just that little bit more, we only have one body in life and everyone was born to be different - so let’s embrace it!
Rather than getting angry at people for their comments, I try to educate them.
My top tips for dealing with people’s negative comments would be to ask the person why they think what they think. Usually most negative comments are stemmed from people being uneducated on the matter or just believing what they’ve heard and seen online before! And try not to let the bad comments get to you. They may make you self-conscious at first but I hope you’ll find that they’re not worth the time or effort of being upset over them.
Just remember to hold your own and keep your head held high!