Cleaning and IBS

I have been having a really bad month with my stomach. All of my various stomach issues seem to be ganging up on me and have really sucked the life out of me. To say that I’m a bit depressed, frustrated and overwhelmed is an understatement. When we feel this sick, we have a tendency to neglect the very basic responsibilities of our existence. We believe that we just don’t feel well enough to do anything. The dishes get left in the sink, we may resort to ‘convenience food’ because we don’t feel like cooking, no laundry, no shower. When you look at this list of bare necessities, you can see how all of the things, left unattended, will make your IBS, your mood and self-esteem much worse than simply taking care of it. Let me say something about my experience over the last two weeks.

Neglecting daily chores because of IBS

My flare-ups have been awful and have been alternating between violent diarrhea and constipation. My stomach feels literally like a rotten apple is sitting in the middle of it (from gastritis) and I am struggling with extreme fatigue from everything, including my ulcers. So, I have been on the couch...a lot. I have been existing on cans of very salty soup and bread. I have not done my laundry in almost three weeks and am not showering daily. I know there are those of you that cannot relate to this sort of hopelessness, but I’m sure there are many who can. My little apartment does not smell good, I have no clean clothes to wear and I simply feel dirty. Why? Because I feel beaten. I don’t know when the IBS episode will end, I don’t know if when it does end if I will feel better emotionally and I’m not sure I can catch up with all that I have missed while I’ve been indisposed. These are all valid thoughts, but I think the term here is catastrophizing. I am expecting the worse, because I feel the worst.

How to cope

I believe very strongly in the coping tool of mindfulness. One moment at a time, right? I take it very literally when I am this overwhelmed, in an effort to get myself back on track. The other measure I have undertaken is to complete just one thing per day until I can handle two, then three, then as many as I like. If the laundry gets done on Monday, I feel fresher and better about myself. Dishes/kitchen on Tuesday and my apartment smells better and I feel more likely to cook the healthy food I need to recover. You see, the things we avoid don’t take very long to accomplish. We may be in pain or very uncomfortable while we deal with these tasks but they are not difficult to complete. The benefits of having completed them far outweigh the negative effect of NOT doing them have on our illness and our mental health. Just some food for thought.

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