Living life with an unseen problem

Colin Gollish, Online Reporter

Before the age of 11 I had a lot of problems that no one in my family could seem to figure out at all. I only weighed around 90 pounds and I was having stomach pains to the point where I never wanted to eat any food. We had gone to the doctor over and over trying to get help with whatever was wrong with me, but none of them could seem to put a finger on what was going on. Finally after countless tries we got an answer to everything, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. It was a rough time for everyone in my family, including me. I was put on a new medication called Remicade, it was given to me through an IV in the hospital in a process that takes a few hours. The medication worked well for about a year, until something happened that no one saw coming.

While I was in school we were all getting ready to go out to recess. I was sitting down when all of a sudden I got really sweaty and cold at the same time. Nausea set in and I tried to shake it off and go outside with my friends. As I was walking around my body started to shake and I got colder. Making my way inside and to the nurses office I was scared out of my mind. I was thinking that I was dying and had no clue what was going to happen next. My parents were called and I was brought home and put in my bed with a ton of blankets to warm me up. The next day I was brought in to the doctors for some test to find out what had happened to me. It turns out that my body had become immune to the medication I was taking and I was going through severe withdrawals that caused everything that happened to me during that school day. My doctor suggested that I start a new medication called Humira, because it would be more beneficial for my Crohn’s.

The first time I was given the medication was through two different injections on my legs. It was one of the most painful experiences of my life, I had waves of pains going through both of my legs. My parents forgot to read all of the instructions and did not realize that we had to leave the injection out of the box for 10 minutes to let it thaw out from the freezer that it was kept in. They were also supposed to give me an ice pack to put onto my leg to numb it a little bit so it would not be as painful. So in short, my parents were injecting ice cold liquid into my legs, which let me tell you, is not the greatest feeling.

As time went on, the Humira started to not work out as well as it was supposed to. So we went back to the doctor’s office and he increased my dose to a little over what a grown adult would be taking. This worked really well, and I finally started to feel a lot better. The only problem I had was that I felt really tired all the time and did not really want to do anything other than sleep. It affected my school work and it was getting hard for me to keep up. On top of that, there were times where I would still get really sick for a week or two and would be out of school for long periods of time.

I could also feel my mental health slowly start to deteriorate as time went on. I just figured it was teenage emotions starting to get the better of me, and I continued on with my life. However, in the recent years I started to grow more and more depressed and could not figure out at all why I was feeling this way. I started to feel that my life was not worth anything and that I would feel better if I wasn’t here. I did research on a lot of my medication and saw that they could be affecting my mental health pretty badly. I kept to myself for a long time, but it only got worse and worse until I finally couldn’t handle it anymore. I opened up to my parents about how I was feeling and what I wanted to do to myself. They were both very understanding and supportive of what I was going through, and immediately started looking for help.

I started to see a therapist and I didn’t really see a difference at first. My parents were still very worried about me so one night we all got into the car and drove to the hospital. I entered the emergency room and they did asked me a lot of questions, eventually putting me in one of their units. However, because there were so many people in the emergency room at the time I had to stay out in the hallway. I stayed there for about 16 hours until I was told that I was being transferred into a psychiatric hospital. I was put into the back of an ambulance and brought there, they took everything from me and left me with clothes they had given me. I was then checked again to make sure I did not have anything else on me. They then brought me into a community room and left to go get me a room.

All of the kids in the community room were around my age. We all went around the room and introduced ourselves and then ate dinner together. I was given my room and everyone went to sleep. The next day was an interesting one. There were a few therapy sessions and we all ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. Each day was pretty much the same. I would go into all the little details, but that would make this 100 times longer than it needs to be. I was given a journal which I wrote in every single day for multiple pages. I can say for sure that my time at the hospitals definitely helped me. The therapy I received, and the new medications I got, greatly helped.

Leaving the hospital was probably even more crazy than staying there. While in the hospital they cut off any contact with the outside world, so when I left there was a lot of catching up to do. Apparently COVID-19 had spread to Michigan and all schools were closed until April 13. I couldn’t believe that while I was in the hospital the virus had gotten worse to the point of closing schools like that. I am still continuing therapy to this day and I am feeling a lot better than before. I also changed medications for my Crohn’s disease which makes me feel even better than the Humira.

As a pretty shy and quiet person it is a very difficult challenge for me to open up to anyone reading this. I want anyone that reads this to know that it is okay to feel these ways sometimes, and that life will always get better for you. It is okay for you to open up to people you trust and get the help that you need and deserve. Seeing people in life that are unhappy is the worst feeling for me to ever have. I want to thank all of my friends and family for supporting me through these times in my life.