Do IBS Sufferers Complain Too Much?
When IBS sufferers attempt to describe their symptoms, some people tend to think they’re over-exaggerating about normal things that everyone else goes through occasionally. To them, anyone who has ever experienced a stomach bug, or the flu, knows what a little stomach pain, constipation, and/or diarrhea feels like. So, what’s the difference, right? However, what people without irritable bowel syndrome fail to realize is that they do not experience the pain from those symptoms like people with IBS do. The pain many of us experience can be very frequent and taxing on our bodies, making it hard to function in normal life. Simple things like doing the dishes, spending time with family, or being productive at work or school can become daunting. The unfortunate truth for many of us with IBS is that we can experience the normal activity in our guts at a very intense level. For example, a gas bubble can stop me dead in my tracks and make me hold on to something for balance because the pain feels so intense. This sensation is known as visceral hypersensitivity. To some without IBS, it may sound like I’m “over-exaggerating” but simply because my gut is oversensitive, it’s a biological response I cannot avoid.
They’re not just excuses
Some people also think IBS sufferers just come up with excuses to be lazy. What they fail to realize is that we have very valid reasons for us to relax and recuperate more often in order to be able to go back out into the world and function with some efficiency. It’s unfortunate that some people demean or belittle what they don’t understand or deal with themselves. Some think everyone should have a certain tolerance for pain and should be able to push through no matter what. There are only so many circumstances those of us with IBS can push ourselves, especially depending on the severity of our condition. And let me remind some of you, what is one person’s experience with a condition, may not necessarily be the same for another who is dealing with the same condition. Everyone, in my opinion, experiences pain and the circumstances it comes with differently.
I have personally dealt with several medical doctors who don’t believe irritable bowel syndrome is a “big deal”. There were times when certain doctors would make me feel like I’m complaining, and would say things like, “You’re a big boy. You can handle it.” And before I knew any better, I used to believe them. They would tell me to change my diet, prescribe me medication, and recommend I continue with my normal life. And guess what? I would try. And even though their recommendations didn’t improve any of my symptoms, I still took their advice because I was conditioned to think that doctors would always know what’s best for me. I also felt, as a young and naïve adult growing up, that I should let doctors be solely responsible for my health. Needless to say, I finally “woke up” one day and decided to take responsibility for my health, which I have expressed how in past articles.
Take us seriously
The point I am trying to emphasize is that people with IBS still do not get taken seriously because many of us get told that we’re “complaining too much” about normal things. I don’t think it’s normal to be very depressed because you feel like you have no control over your life. I don’t think it’s normal to use the toilet more than 5 times a day, or not use the toilet at all for more than three days. I don’t think it’s normal to get woken up out of a deep sleep in excruciating pain because a gas bubble feels like a knife is slicing your insides. IBS is a condition that can take a huge toll on many different areas of a person’s life. So, if complaining is what it sounds like when we express our pain, then that’s what it shall be to some. And as much as I like to preach about positivity, I still think it’s important to depict and stress how this condition can negatively affect a person’s quality of life, so that we can be taken even more seriously some day.
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