Lived Through This

Learning to Get Comfortable Talking About My Shit

On Crohn’s disease, desirability, and internalized disableism

zipporah arielle
Human Parts
Published in
13 min readJun 11, 2020


Alternating rows of toilet paper rolls and cardboard toilet paper tubes on a pink surface.
Credit: Paopano/iStock/Getty Images Plus

CN: internalized ableism/disablism (and much of it); gastrointestinal disease/bathroom talk

TW: emetophobia.

It’s 4:30 on a Thursday morning when I type this.

I am in the bathroom.

I have Crohn’s disease.

Crohn’s disease, if you’re unfamiliar, is a “bathroom disease.” This means, first and foremost, that I spend a lot of time in the bathroom. Like on my first day in my new home in Nashville, when I knelt on the new bath mat and laid my head against the cool porcelain of the tub as I spent hours throwing up while my roommate/childhood best friend and my boyfriend chatted downstairs. It was hours after I arrived before I even saw my bedroom. It means I have spent at least as much time in here, in this bathroom, as I’ve spent in my bedroom since I moved in, if you don’t count sleeping hours.

It means I have symptoms that society generally considers gross, unfeminine, and irredeemably unattractive — I usually let people figure it out by having them Google the name of my diagnosis, which tells them absolutely nothing about my particular situation but at…