5 Tips for Accepting a Life with IBS
Last updated: March 2019
I’m going to be honest, accepting a life with IBS is something that I’ve really struggled to do. Having quite a severe case, I’m often to say to myself – why should I accept this is my quality of life, is this the way it’s really got to be for me?
But I’ve learnt over time, that fighting it, just angers my IBS and it doesn’t do anything for my mental health either. So, since I've taken a look at the positive aspects that have helped me come to terms with my IBS. I decided to share them with you guys too.
Surround yourself with compassionate, positive people
It’s safe to say that I’ve definitely lost some friends along the way. It’s something I used to find hard to deal with but now I’m ok with it. Maybe they couldn’t deal with my illness, but that’s ok. I don’t need someone like that in my life. It’s definitely about quality and not quantity when it comes to friends.
I used to be very ashamed and embarrassed about my IBS. Yes, it is an embarrassing condition. But I’ve found, the more I’ve opened up about it, the more support and compassion I’ve received from people. I’ve built up a good network of friends who understand my limits and are happy to accommodate to me in social situations. Why on earth shouldn’t they? They chose to be my friend based on my who I am and not my illness. When my IBS wears me down, I don’t need further negativity in my life so people that are positive and help me see that my life isn’t defined by my IBS is what I need.
Know your worth and know that you are worthy as much as anyone else
I think it’s very easy for IBS to affect your confidence. I spent years thinking I wasn’t worth being in a relationship with or my friends would get fed up with me canceling on them all the time. I guess it’s hard not to feel good about yourself when your body doesn’t function the way you want it to function. But if you had a friend in this situation, what would you say to them? I’ve got friends with health issues and when they decided to tell me about their health, my opinion of them as a person has certainly never changed. Yes, IBS is now a part of me but I am so much more than that. It’s absolutely not my fault that I have health issues and I will absolutely not let it take away my personality. Even when I’m feeling at my lowest, I try to make me personality shine through. You deserve as much love as anyone else.
Make the most of the good days
For me, they may not be often, but good days do happen. I’ve always been an adventurous, outgoing person and it’s been difficult to give part of that up. But there are days I can still be that person. There are days I can still do normal things, I find it best just to take my IBS day by day and see how I feel like that day. If I’m not feeling my best there are other things I can do. Having IBS has taught me to take up new hobbies I’d never even considered before. I’ve learned new crafts and lots of new indoor hobbies and enjoy them just as much as I do my outdoor hobbies. When you’re having a bad day or flare up, remind yourself that good days do happen and they really can be great!
Find a professional that understands
This one took me quite some time and a lot of chopping and changing between people. But having a health professional that really understands your illness and is willing to listen to you is so important. Whether it’s a doctor, counselor or therapist, it’s so important to feel comfortable. You should be able to go to them with ease and feel valued and listened to. Your health is just as important as anyone else’s.
Don't compare yourself to others around you or on social media
Probably the most important piece of advice I can give to anyone and is one I am really working on myself. Comparison is the key to unhappiness. It’s so easy when you feel like so much has been taken away or changed in your life as a result of your chronic condition, to look at other people around you, and wish you were more like them. I know I certainly wish my mornings were much easier and I find myself envying others for being able to make it work without an issue. But everyone is on their own little journey, all with their own issues. Whether you see them as big or small, it’s all relative to them. So, what is the point comparing your life to theirs? Life throws hurdles at us all, some people choose to share and some that are kept quiet. Yes, your path in life may have taken a little detour, but that’s ok.
Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or IBS-Mixed/Alternating?