Fighting My Pain vs. Accepting It
For a long time, I didn’t understand my IBS and why I had to be a victim of the condition. The question I asked myself a lot was, “Do I keep fighting against IBS or just accept it?” I didn’t want to comprehend that I was a human-being capable of living with a chronic-debilitating illness, and therefore had to learn to live with a disability, regardless if it was temporary or permanent, or even mild or intense. It was a great learning curve that I didn’t want to adjust to. At the time, I was allowing my condition to control my decisions, actions, and thoughts, which would also affect my relationships with people (both personally and professionally). I feared that I was going to deal with a hardship (a health problem) that would easily hold me back in life and take away people and things that mattered the most to me.
Giving too much power
If you analyze my past concerns about my condition, you will notice that I used to give too much power to the disease I suffer from. It took me a long time to learn this discipline, but I think one of the most important things to practice with any long-term illness is breaking through the psychological barriers that prevent you from living life to the fullest. I used to create all these fears and excuses for myself that would essentially hold me back in life because I would never accept the fact that I have IBS.
For instance, I used to cancel hanging out with my friends and family many times because I was afraid of dealing with symptoms in public. To some people, this might seem like the best thing to do, which I would agree depending on the level of pain and discomfort. However, if I must deal with this pain every single day, then why not learn to deal with it in places outside of my comfort-zone? Why not adjust to this new “learning curve” and do things that I enjoy and make me happy, such as spending time with friends and family or going on a date with my wife, regardless if the pain is present? I believe the best thing for me to do is to go out and enjoy life for as long as I can tolerate because it is best to live happy in pain, than to be miserable in agony. This concept might not make a lot of sense to people who don’t live with chronic pain, but it’s a perspective that I believe will help those who do to take back control over their lives, and not fall into depression or isolation.
Fighting or accepting?
Let’s be honest, one of the worst fears we create for ourselves is that the pain could possibly kill us one day. I’m not trying to be morbid, just frank. And since death is obviously the worst-case scenario, then why not do things that will allow you to leave a positive impact on the world, or even just the people around you before that last day comes? Why let a condition keep you from readjusting your life so that you can eventually find a way to still do the things you love? Why allow a condition or the fear of death take away your will to live or even your passion to succeed to the fullest? Why not go out on your last day with a smile on your face knowing that you did the best that you could on this earth?
When I watch videos online of a man who literally only has half of his body from his torso up and decides to go to the gym and push through his physical adversity, then I personally feel like I have no excuse but to push through my own obstacles with my condition. If a heroin-addict can make a comeback in life by sobering up and helping other addicts recover, then I can also be a support for others who suffer from my condition as well. I choose to be optimistic about any and every situation, which is an extremely challenging thing to do, but I believe it will thicken my skin and allow me to face hardships with a sense of courage, discipline, and perseverance.
So, do I keep fighting against this illness or just accept it and deal? Yes, you're damn right I should accept and deal. I realized once I stopped fighting against my pain, I began to feel a new sense of control over my life. I no longer allowed my condition to dictate my emotions, which means I accepted my circumstances and now I can deal with this condition accordingly by focusing on what’s important – my health.
Do you have a good understanding of what triggers your flares?