An IBS Story

I’m not sure this story is for everybody, as the situation is pretty unusual I think. I am writing this to share how insensitive people can be to people who struggle with IBS…in this case; me. I am not going to whine or woe is me, it’s just honestly the first time that I’ve faced relentless teasing in my whole life and the root of the teasing is, you guessed it, my IBS. So, please allow me to share my shame (lol) and also how I was able to use a lot of the skills I have learned managing my IBS to offset this little problem.

Teasing about IBS

I work in a basement office with no windows. I very much like the people I work with and generally have no problems with them at all. Since we all do social work I guess, I honestly have never received so much support for my mental health from my colleagues. This is where the good part stops. There are five men sharing a big room. We all have our own offices but we share a bathroom. In the past, I have received passing, teasing comments on the days my IBS is bad. You know, ‘the bomb in the bathroom’, ‘what are you doing in there’, ‘did someone kill an animal in there’…embarrassing, but easy enough to ignore or laugh off. Then one of my co-workers started calling me ‘Fart Man’…and it caught on. I literally had to remind myself that I was a grown man, because for a minute I thought I was going to thump somebody (if someone called me that in High School, it would have been on ;-)). Anyway, shame, shock, embarrassment and how to deal with it (in an adult way)? Once I had collected myself, I started thinking about all the things I have learned throughout my struggle with IBS.

Speaking the truth

Most importantly, especially in a case like this, it’s important (I think) that people understand that IBS is an illness and at times, a serious one. Sooo…I came right out and told each one of them one by one that I had IBS and talked about some of what went along with that in easy to digest (pun intended) terms. I think each and every one of them felt bad for teasing me. That made me feel good. The other part that helped me, was to remind myself that I have worked so hard and suffered so much that I could certainly handle some childish comments and this would not affect my sense of self or my happiness there at work.

While your story might not be exactly the same as mine, I’ll bet some of you have experienced something similar. Just remember who you are, don’t be ashamed and remember that dealing with IBS is much harder than dealing with a handful of knuckleheads. That’s it 😉

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