Advocating for My IBS Symptoms
Last updated: March 2022
Once I hit adulthood and had a child of my own, I realized the importance of advocating for others. Whether that is me being her advocate when a bully at school makes her feel like she can't speak up and go to the authorities to keep her safe or standing up for myself when I know, I shouldn't eat something because it can cause a flare, but I am being pressured into it. Being an advocate for yourself and others is just something you should do or should be doing.
Advocacy for those with IBS should be the normal thing we are all seeing. It should be something that happens all the time without being prompted or asked. We advocate for others and so many things that we tend not to think about ourselves.
Sharing IBS symptoms
One fun little symptom I have been experiencing lately, along with my IBS and other medical problems, as embarrassing as it is to admit to the internet, is an inability to control my bladder. This past weekend we were traveling for a holiday and stopped at a gas station to gas up and all of us to go to the bathroom. Luckily it was a good day and no issues because when we all walked into the gas station, they wouldn't let us use the restrooms (they had cleaned them and didn't want anyone to go in there because it was close to closing time).
We left after getting gas, and as we got into the car, I commented on a joke that I was glad I wasn't having a bad day. Because with the IBS, I took meds to help control it, but there is no control when my bladder wants not to work. Mike immediately said, "no, they would have let you go, or it would have been a big problem." You see that that is something new for me. To have someone finally understand and willingly advocate for me. I've never had that. This is what we need to see more of in this world.
Feeling supported with IBS
Having him be willing to stand up for me to keep me from feeling embarrassed meant more to me than he will ever know. Because if it were a bad day, I wouldn't have made it back into the car, and there would have been a puddle for them to clean up instead of wiping down a few things that we would have touched using their bathroom. Mike would have done the same if it was a bad IBS day as well.
Ways others can help
We all need to take just a few seconds to really think before we speak and do what we can to help others. We truly never know what someone else is going through or if they have something medically wrong. Invisible illnesses are everywhere, and more people hide them to feel "normal."
Just taking a few seconds to think, "I don't know why they need to use the restroom even though they just used it, but that's okay, maybe something is wrong." instead of "gosh they go to the bathroom a lot" can make a difference in this world. Things aren't always what they seem. From someone who has many medical issues, mostly invisible, we tend to be really good at masking and fitting in with others. You never know what the person beside you is masking.
Do you find yourself trying to mask symptoms to make others more comfortable around you? Have you found your voice to stand up and advocate for you and those who need it?
Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or IBS-Mixed/Alternating?