Anger and IBS
I do not consider myself an angry person. I try to be polite, professional, funny (when I can), compassionate and considerate. My therapist has informed me that this does not matter. Apparently, I am a very angry man. Deep down I knew this, I have a tendency to just push the anger emotion down when it arises, not dealing with it, letting it just sit in my belly for it to rear it’s head when it just simply can’t stay hidden anymore. Hmm…sit in my belly. I guess it’s no wonder I have IBS, gastritis and several ulcers (shrug). While I have done a lot of work trying to deal with conflict and frustration in my life, I have to say that over the last couple of years one of the things that has made me truly ANGRY is IBS. I have tried to determine the root of this association between anger and IBS, and at least for me, have found some answers. Please allow me to share.
Why IBS makes me angry
Since being diagnosed with IBS, my emotions have run the gamut from nervousness, apprehension, worry, anxiety and ultimately, depression. Not to say that I haven’t have my successes and even interesting moments with IBS. I HAVE learned to manage IBS, I HAVE learned about the illness and the people that suffer with it. I am happy to be part of this community and it has been so helpful when I’m starting to have an IBS freakout session. Being part of a community helps to keep a cool head when things are getting really rough. Does this mean that all of the worry, anxiety and bad feeling have not caused a certain amount of resentment, annoyance, agitation and dare I say, ANGER? You bet it has. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again…I hate IBS…like you hate a person who has insulted your mother 😉 So I have developed a certain amount of anger and consternation throughout my experience with IBS. I am angry that I have to eat a particular way, I am angry that it disrupts plans, I am angry that I have to make excuses…anybody out there feelin’ me? What to do, what to do? We talk about coping skills with regards to the very common anxiety emotion that many people with IBS experience. Many of these skills translate to managing anger. But, while we often talk about how to subdue anxiety there is a school of thought that says we should ourselves feel it and not suppress. Under certain circumstances that is true (for another time). With anger, I believe, dealing with it and allowing yourself to feel it, is very important.
Well, dealing with ‘IBS Anger’ healthfully is really no different than dealing with other kinds of anger. You have to acknowledge it, feel it, let it come and then, eventually, come to some agreement with it. There is no other way, without it becoming something that will eventually fester inside you and probably will end up making the IBS worse. Just some observations from an angry, angry man lol.