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Coping with Intestinal Transplant as a Young Adult

An intestinal transplant brings a rollercoaster of emotions. As a young adult you may feel lost amidst highs and lows of the journey. Here are some tips on how you can cope with emotional aspects of intestinal transplant.

1. Identify one or two adults and one or two close friends to act as your support system that you can talk to on a regular basis and share your innermost thoughts. Keeping your feelings bottled up is unhealthy and only leads to more emotional disturbance.

2. See a counselor. On top of those designated people in your life, you should also see an objective, outside counselor that can help you through the journey. It is always helpful to have someone from the outside looking into the situation and is not emotionally involved.

3. Join a support group for young adults with a similar condition or transplant- this includes in person meetings or online support groups. Just be careful with online support groups that not everything on the internet is valid or true. Try joining Transplant Unwrapped’s forum if you are looking for an online support community for intestinal transplant.

4. Journaling. Keeping a journal of your intestinal transplant and daily life experiences and feelings is a great way to share your emotions while maintaining your privacy. This can be very therapeutic for young adults.

5. Meditation. Give yourself 5-10 minutes a day to reflect, sit calmly, breathe deeply, and relax. Removing yourself from a high stress, emotional state will help to lower overall stress and anxiety.

6. Exercise. Get up and moving to the best of your ability. Sitting around all day and moping about your transplant and illness is not going to make you better or recover faster. When you exercise you release certain chemical in your body which can help put you into a better emotional state and feel better overall.

7. Self-Advocacy. Learn about intestinal transplant and share this knowledge with those around you. Start taking control of your own medical regimen and medications. Show your parents you have maturity and independence.

8. Find a passion. Try to take your focus away from the transplant and focus on something you love, such as knitting or painting. If you can put your energy into something positive, it will improve your overall attitude.

9. Practice Yoga or Tai Chi: This is low-im­pact and slow-moving exercise designed to promote relaxation, balance, and health.

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