A girl who has fallen onto the ground sits next to a backpack spilling out papers. A man standing next to her offers a hand to help her up.

You Are Not a Burden, You Are Carrying the Burden of IBS

…and sometimes that’s too heavy to carry on your own. For much of my time since having IBS, I’ve found myself saying “sorry.”

Sorry, I can’t make that event. I'm afraid I can’t eat that, I have to cancel, sorry for taking up your time. I'm sad, we can’t live a normal life because of me…

You get the gist.

I'm regularly apologizing for my IBS

I tend to hide away and push people away from me and try and deal with it on my own. I'm even worse when those flare-ups hit, which is when I need to support the most.

I’m regularly apologizing for something that’s not my fault, and something that I do often need help and support with. I’ve realized I often push them away because I can’t bear for them to see how much I’m struggling inside. Not only have I always felt like a huge burden on my loved ones but quite often the guilt hits me hard. I’m guilty that they’ve been lumped with a sick loved one. I’m guilty that on occasions they’ve had to step in and help me out. My loved ones are often offering advice on how they can help. I feel bad that they may not be able to help me or change the situation.

I’ve had IBS for over 13 years and it’s only recently that I’ve really started to learn that this is not a healthy way to be. Firstly, I’ve realized that this isn’t a healthy way to talk to my own mind. I NEED to be kinder to myself, there can only be a positive outcome by doing so. Would I speak to a friend the way I speak to my own mind? Definitely not! I know for sure that if someone I cared about suffered from a health condition I would want to offer my love and support and I certainly wouldn’t want them feeling guilty about it.

Accepting love and support

Secondly openly accepting love and support from others is totally ok to do. I know it might sound silly to most, but really feeling that feeling of being supported and cared without any guilt can help make you feel so much better. Happy thoughts can help create a happier and healthier body.

In day to day life if we have problems we often chat them through and once that problem is shared, more often than not, the burden is lightened. The same should apply to our health conditions. IBS can be a huge burden to carry on your own at times. Take a moment to take a look around you and turn to the people who are cheering you on. There really are people who are proud of you for how far you’ve come despite dealing with a health condition on a daily basis. They see you for YOU and not your IBS.

Tune into your mind and body and know when you need to ask for help, be brave and just do it. It doesn’t need to be a relative or friend, I love that we are now able to make supportive friends online who understand and are able to offer support and advice. Needing support is certainly not a weakness, getting the support can only help to make us stronger.

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