I am back yet again in this place.

It’s hard to describe to you this place which sucks the very life out of me and leaves me literally lifeless.

I am tired with no energy and no motivation. I am teary and lost. I feel physically ill inside and ache. I can’t eat but know I have too. I feel sick from the core of my being. I am surrounded by demons that make me feel so terribly dark inside. I lie to people about what is going on and shut people out. The witty and vibrant Claire is still here, but the black curtain has fallen over me.

This place is not somewhere anyone would want to be. It is soul destroying. It is lonely.

The battle back from here is so very hard. I remember just how it was last time and it can only be described as my worst nightmare from which you feel you can’t wake up.

But if I have done it once before, I can do it again. I can. I can. I can.

I just need to believe in me and take one step at a time; shutting out the darkness that hovers around me.

One hand is trying to pull back the curtain to see the light that is on the other side. The other hand tries to keep it shut.

I realize it is hard for people to understand the black curtain and to deal with someone who is under it. It is tiring for all concerned. I know too that there is a real stigma attached to it and that makes it even harder for me to reach out and get the help and support I need.

I have lost dear friends over it.

I wish it was different and that I could change it but it is not that simple.

When I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease last year everything I had been through over the previous 6 months began to make sense. I understood why I had been so sick and tired and down.

With most chronic illnesses, the body does not naturally work at its optimal level no matter how hard you try to fuel it with good stuff and rest. Your body functions differently and the black curtain comes into being.

I have seen it in a friend recently diagnosed with kidney disease. Once he was a vibrant, dynamic person full of life and optimism. He said it wouldn’t get to him, but I see it has. Most chronic illnesses are shadowed by the black curtain.

No matter how positive you are. How strong you are. The black curtain does come into being and it sneaks into your life without warning. You can’t control it and for someone like me that is devastating. Soul destroying. I am such a vibrant positive person and yet that has been taken from me … for now.

I am hating the black curtain right now but I am fully aware it is back. I have to be strong. I just need time. I have to be patient. I have to keep talking to people. I have to try and look after myself and rest. I need watch what I eat so that my IBD resolves and the black curtain goes away.

This is my journey through IBD and depression (the black curtain). So many people suffer in silence. This is so very sad. My hope is that more people will openly talk about their illnesses and get the support and help they need to move through the black curtain.

No matter how dark things get you have to find the light. You can do it. You can’t give up. You must reach out. Its hard I know but there are so many people out there who can and will help you. So many people have been here and let the black curtain close around them in a final act. You are the lead character in this play of life and it is your life to live to the fullest.

-Claire Hutton

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