This week is Children’s Mental Health Week. We asked one of our young ambassadors, Iolo, to tell us about his experience of living with a long term chronic condition and how he manages the impact that can have on his mental health.
My name is Iolo and I am a young ambassador for the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity.
I came to the children’s hospital in March 2018 and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. The doctors there did everything to try and calm my illness but they were not able to save my bowel and so I had to have it all removed in an emergency operation on April 10th.
At the time all I wanted was to feel better again and the surgery was brought forward as I was getting sicker and sicker. I didn’t have time to think about what was happening at first, but when I started to slowly recover after, I knew it was going to mean a big change to my life.
I was offered counselling at the children’s hospital and I did visit a doctor twice to talk about what had happened and what I was feeling about it all and he was very nice. We decided that I was coping quite well but if I ever felt I needed to go back, I can see him whenever I want to.
My way of living with my feelings about my illness is to talk with my family and learn as much as possible about keeping my body healthy. Sometimes schoolwork will make me very tired or I’ll get headaches and need time off and this can affect how I feel, but mostly I try to be positive about my situation. If I need to do something to make me feel better, I like to swim, to take my mind off things.
My consultant at the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital looks after very well over the last few years and I think I could ask him anything if I ever need advice. The charity and being an ambassador for them has been a really good thing for me – I really enjoy it.”