How Fashion Freed Me While Navigating My Crohn’s Diagnosis

In a world where self-expression is a powerful means of communication, fashion is a unique avenue for individuals to convey their identity and creativity. But what happens when fashion becomes entwined with the tumultuous journey of battling a chronic illness like Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is not just a physical ailment; it permeates every facet of existence. Crohn’s can erode one’s self-worth, and the visible signs of the disease, such as weight loss, can lead to feelings of self-consciousness and shame. For many, a diagnosis of Crohn’s necessitates a revaluation of identity. The disease becomes a part of who you are, influencing daily decisions and priorities. It’s a constant balancing act between the person you were before diagnosis and the person you are now. The quest for identity can be challenging as you seek to reconcile your past self with your current reality. Building a solid support network and finding creative expression or advocacy outlets can mitigate some negative impacts.

Living with Crohn’s disease is an ongoing physical and emotional challenge. The unpredictability of flare-ups, the pain, and the various treatments can take a toll on one’s self-esteem and mental well-being. However, my journey with Crohn’s has also taught me resilience and determination.

Since the beginning of 2021, I have struggled with the symptoms of Crohn’s, often feeling isolated and insecure about my body due to the visible effects of the disease. But as I learned to accept my condition, I realized that fashion could become a source of empowerment rather than insecurity. I began experimenting again with clothing styles, and fashion became a form of self-care, helping me regain a sense of control over my life. My love for fashion has been a
lifelong passion of mine. From a young age, I was drawn to the transformative power of clothing. It wasn’t about following trends but using fashion as a canvas to express my personality and creativity. I discovered that fashion could uplift my spirits, boost my confidence, and distract me from the daily challenges of living with my disease.

Motivated by my personal experiences, I created an Instagram account that merged my journey with Crohn’s and my love for fashion. At first, I was hesitant to blend two seemingly unrelated aspects of my life, but I believed others could benefit from my story. It became a platform where I openly shared my experiences living with Crohn’s while showcasing my fashion choices, demonstrating that my illness does not have to restrict style and confidence. Through posting on my account, I aimed to raise awareness about IBD, demystify the disease, and show that individuals with chronic illnesses can still lead vibrant lives. My Instagram became a space for connecting with others who shared similar experiences, sharing stories, offering support, and fostering a sense of belonging.

Fashion and inflammatory bowel disease may be an unlikely combination, but not for me; they are inseparable elements of my identity. My journey with Crohn’s disease has taught me that self-expression through fashion is a powerful tool for empowerment and healing. Crohn’s can be debilitating but can also be a catalyst for discovering inner strength and forging meaningful connections with others who share similar experiences. I plan to continue breaking down stereotypes, promoting self-confidence, and building a supportive community for those with IBD. Ultimately, fashion is not just about what we wear; it’s about how we wear it and the stories we tell through our clothing.

About the author

Taylor Sinnott

IBD Advocate | Style Blogger | Crohn’s Warrior since 2021