Dealing with Anxiety after Ostomy Surgery


Hi all - not sure if this falls in this category but I finally worked up the nerve to post my question! I have had my ileostomy for over 26 years. I am 46 - been married for 23 years and have a great 18-year-old daughter.

I was 7 when diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Like most of you, life stunk and school and running to the bathroom was awful. Especially when I did not make it in time. Many awful embarrassing moments. Finally, I had to be homeschooled. Then the disease got so bad that I almost died 2 and we went for the ostomy. I wish I had done that years prior!!

Sorry to ramble on... My question now is after this long, I am now (past 18 years) mentally dealing with anxiety! My pregnancy was awful. I was in the hospital over 30 times - high blood pressure + a few other fun things!! It is like a counselor said to me that I went from my growing up years of illness and pills and hospital stays to literally health after my ostomy to a bad pregnancy that flipped me back mentally. I have tried medicine - acupuncture. I do great in my work of teaching and going to my daughter's events, but I live with the "what if" fear. It is really weighing on my marriage as I prefer to stay home in case - I maybe get a blockage or anything. I fully get how weird this is. My surgeon and ostomy nurse say that they have seen this a few times and it is really like a post-traumatic situation where I never probably dealt with the crap of my younger years - then within a few weeks, my life changed for the best with my surgery.

So I guess have any of you dealt with something or am I just a spaz?? I really would like some advice not someone telling me to just get over it. I have done that myself along with a ton of praying. Thank in advance for any info or help. I have seen 4 therapists/counselors and I see it but it's like my brain won't let me just push through. I put roadblocks up like I was sick when now I am healthy.

Thanks! Happy New Year



There is definitely a huge age gap between us but you will be surprised how some of your situations are common ;to mine. Obviously not the pregnancy and

I was diagnosed with UC since i was 2, that's what i been told and what the medical reports state. Gonna turn up 25 in February. So that's like 23 years of UC. The surgery had not fixed everything, and still dealing with UC manifestations outside the colon and the long run side effects of treatments.

Yes i been home taught as well and haven't gone to school regularly till I turned up 14 or 15!. Since that, education experience was just a mess and hated every single memory of it. Not just because of illness. But, made it to the honours university degree. It was 10 times harder for me and had to turn around too many situations and deal with situations that are ;way beyond my age at that time. I had to deal with those situations on my own, even some medical situations, as I was not very close to family since I turned up 16. Some of those situations still stuck in my head. Thus, current anxiety triggered all those situations and even revealed some shocking situations that I have completely forgotten.

I know it's kind of weird to take advice or listen to someone who is probably close to your daughter's age, but we deal with something – believe it or not - off the norm. Since you are 45 now, there is no point remembering any of those situations or digging after it. What's done is done and you are now far beyond those moments. Having said that, will share with you why I recommend that. What happened to me is, I kept remembering those childhood and education experience situations till I had flash backs of shocking situations that I have completely forgotten when I was at very young age. After investigation, it was true flash backs and not delusion. I was better off not remembering those situations again because they are just horrible and could drive anyone who experienced into a mad person. Can't even share them easily

No one told me ignorance is bliss, or probably been told that but never paid attention to it- cant remember-. I had to learn that in the ugliest way. I probably had anxiety for most of my life which was left untreated, this did put me in the dark whole of substance abuse and mad thoughts once I got older in age. Now I only focus on anxiety treatments rather than ending up in a cage.

The –what if –question could lead to creativity as well as destruction. I did over think – what if- questions till all my fears came true in front of my eyes, and didn't have a solution for it, because i only thought of it from the fear side and not how to avoid it or how I would fix it. Would been much better if I had said to myself, if this happens I should do this and not over think it. -The devil is in the detail-.

Having those thoughts about I should of had the surgery 10 or 20 years ago is kind of tricky one. I should of had the surgery when i was 7 and only had it the last year November 2013 – 17 years later!!_ Just after my graduation. So, will try balance things for you here...

If u had the surgery let's say 15-20 ;years ago you would think i would been much better, at least i would avoid all those accidents, hospitalization, endo-oscopies, embarrassments , anxiety, side effects etc ;when you where younger. But hold up, the ostomy supplies are now 10 times better than before. Also, U probably wouldn't handle the surgery shock when you where younger, or ended up so anxious that you couldn't even be confident marry who you loved now.

For myself, i would not have the guts to continue education and become a survival if I had the surgery when i were 7- 10 years old. I know i wouldn't handle it and would end up somewhere else. On the other hand, the disease- uc- ;had several manifestation in my body from head to toe as well as long term medecation side effects.

I kept thinking this over and over, cycles in ;cycles, till i ended up with a blown head ,confusion, racing thoughts , and even so close to jump in a deep lake. I don't dare to just tell you get over it because I hated everyone who told me that. On the other hand, realistically, u cant time travel. Respect how you got it over it before with prayers. I been there and wouldn't been alive today if I had given that up. It is the only thing that didn't me let go with ending up my own life.

Wish i had delivered my point here and hope this makes you think brighter. From the marriage and pregnancy questions, there are too many awesome ladies on this website who have tons of life experience and dealt with all kind of situations. If you think this reply had helped you where I'm only 24, imagine how much assistance you can get from someone who s 50+ !!. They can provide you with unlimited help.. Give it a try and you will be surprised. People who are willing to help, with nothing in return, do usually come across who requires it. You will also feel comfortable talking about your situations to them.. I tried that myself, and discussed very complicated issues with them while I couldn't even do that with my own family.

sorry for being long,Allow typo errors and grammer :D:D

Happy new year to you


Ah, anxiety. It rears its cute little head at the most unlikely moments. I have had anxiety for so long I cant remember when it started. It had nothing to do with this stoma stuff. Dont you just hate it when you are all snuggled in bed and so tired you cant think and you are drifting off in a wonderful state and all of a sudden it HITS ! DAMN! ;And you tell yourself, oh its just that stupid anxiety again, but you cant go to sleep even if someone hit you on the head with a hammer. There is nothing wrong with you that isnt wrong with 243584752487 people in this universe. Youve just had to deal with a lot more in your life. If you arent already on some pretty decent anxiety medicine that is out here (which if you arent you should ask your doc about); there is really only one thing you can do. Keep telling yourself its just this stupid chemical imbalance in my body and I need to shove through it. Say you are afraid of spiders, for instance. Instead of running from them every time you see one, you get your shoe and smash it! ;Pretty much all you can do with anxiety, smash it with your mind at the time it surfaces or ride it out. But keep telling yourself its just anxiety, there is nothing wrong with your thought processes. I know, you are probably saying, shes just telling me to get over it. But Im not. Im telling you to fight it. Punch it in the guts! If youre scared to go out because youre worried about accidents. Put some armor on. Like I do. Grandma underpants that cover the whole damn appliance and stretchy pants with a big top that covers. The stretchy pants are to hold it in place in case. Thats only IF there is some place you really have to go. If you dont have to go anywhere, then stay secluded in your comfy home and try not to worry about it. In spite of all else, it sounds like youve had a pretty good life. Youre doing great, JQ. Dont beat yourself up over this little demon that wants to invade your mind. You should know by now if you are going to have a bad day with the bag or if its going to be pretty mild. If you want to stay in because youve already been to the bathroom 5 times in an hour to empty, it really has nothing to do with anxiety, it's just common sense. (And what's with all these backslashes wherever I need to use an apostrophe?) ;You are not going bonkers.

P.S. Darious, just because you're younger doesn't mean you are not intelligent or have anything pertinent to offer. You do a great job here and in your own life! HUGS

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Thank you so much!! You made me laugh. Yes, I have much to be thankful and happy about, and I tell myself that daily. I know anxiety is just a part of me, and I need to take control of the darn stuff. Meds just always made me feel worse. Probably all the years I had to be on meds, now my body is saying "no more ;)".

I am so grateful for your thoughts and advice! Thank you - hope you have a great 2015!!


Darius - you have much wisdom. That is so much appreciated. I had no problem reading all your advice. I have re-read what you said many times. You have been through so much. I wish you a great 2015 and I am working on me to have a good one also. Thanks and please take care:)

Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister


Thanks JQ and Zywie.

I am more than happy to share my stories with someone who has gone through the same thing. I usually thought I'm one of a kind, but after reading too many stories, I felt that's the only place where someone understands... Didn't mean to take over your post JQ, but that's the first time I hear about someone's experience with UC since a young age.

Since you said that you've been on all kinds of anxiety pills and have gone through the side effects as well, I would like to take your opinion about amitriptyline 10-20 mg. I started with 10mg then rose up to 20mg. It did help me lots and I was satisfied with the outcome. The pamphlet is like a one-page newspaper, and I've also heard that there are too many advanced medicines for anxiety that have much fewer side effects. I've read and been told that it is an old-fashioned treatment for anxiety. I asked my GP if he can put me on something else, and he said as long as you have a very positive result as you say (better sleep, fewer nightmares, fewer mood swings, better appetite, less dependency, etc.), you better stay on it than trying new things. He also said that amitriptyline is the only non-addictive antidepressant. I will admit that I have an addictive personality and I'm wondering whether to stick with it or try another one with fewer side effects...



Hi, I'm not sure how to answer this, but I'm 56 and had stage 3 cancer which caused me to have a permanent ostomy for life. I have a cancer test every 6 months and the anxiety that goes along with waiting for the results can be overwhelming, and I'm sure you can relate to that. So what do I suggest? Perhaps just accept the notion that this stuff is scary and a part of our lives. I have read that you have prayed and have seen specialists, etc. and nothing has helped. So I guess there is not much anyone can suggest; sounds like you have all the bases covered. So in the end, it is totally up to you if you want this stuff to have the best of you or if you want to look in the mirror and decide to control it. Your choice in the end, I guess. You can do whatever you choose to do because you control you :)




Hi JQ, Darious, Zywie and sunasea.   I may be a lot older than most of you but I just started learning about this stuff a few years ago.  Before my cancers, chemo, radiation, surgeries and all the other crap that goes with them I didn’t know anything about anxiety and depression though I was close to people who suffered from mental illnesses. Heck, I couldn’t even spell PTSD.  Then, after a few surgeries, another round of chemo, a stricture, shingles, a year or so of pain I found myself to be very unhappy, quick to get angry and didn’t much care about too much.  My oncologist prescribed Alprazolam for the anxiety and it works well.  It helps me accept or ignore some stuff that might otherwise really piss me off.  Depression is something way different and I think I might have been experiencing withdrawal from pain meds without recognizing it.  I have a lot of respect for the mental health people who try to help us but I have way more respect for those who admit they don’t have a clue as to how a medical situation like mine would affect them.  Even here with this wonderful group of folks so willing to share and help, we’re limited because each of us has our own pain.  It’s ours and only we can feel it for what it is.  Someone else with identical medical maladies has their pain but it’s theirs.  I can try as hard as I can and I’ll never know if I can really feel it.  I want to, maybe just for a moment, but it’s not mine, it’s theirs.  So we continue to empathize, tell others we can relate and tell them what works, or doesn’t, for us.  I think the energy from our intentions might help.  I think our “listening” helps.  I got so much sincere, constructive help from so many special people here, I value it as priceless.  Sure I had to do my own struggling, fighting with myself and maybe that battle might continue on a much smaller scale but that’s just the way it needs to be done.  Drugs?  I Don’t know enough about them but if we can take something that won’t hurt us and it makes us feel better, why not?

I apologize for rambling and just want to wish us all well for 2015 and all the years after.



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