IBS Flare Up At A Concert

Picture this: you’re at your favorite band’s concert. You’re so excited because it’s been just over 3 years since you last saw them in concert. It’s a packed venue. You’re there with friends. Everything is great.

You decided to get an alcoholic drink to enjoy, testing the waters with it because today had been a better day with the bowel. Then, you also got fries because you were hungry, and you just felt like eating fries. Fries are delicious! But... you forget sometimes that you can’t just have that cavalier attitude towards food. You forget that you can in fact end up on the toilet in pain for longer than most people who toss fries in their mouth at a concert.

IBS urgency at a concert

Twenty minutes into the concert, during a song that wasn’t on your top favorite list (at the very least), you're racing out of the concert, stumbling past people in your row, muttering "sorry, sorry!" You have that panicked feeling of "am I going to make it" as you can feel your stomach squelching. You think, "thank goodness you're in an arena where there are tons of bathrooms" and as you slam into the door of the stall to open it, you think "man I hope I’m not too loud and too smelly because that’s embarrassing."

Then through the next 3 songs (not the longest ever but still), you’re stuck in the bathroom, bent over, miserable, hoping, praying, a song doesn’t play that you actually want to be high energy for.

Finally, it feels safe enough to leave the bathroom and go back to your seat, stumbling over people, stressed from the flare and sad that you missed a small part of the experience of the concert.

Regret and anger

I was so angry with myself for "testing the waters" and ruining my own experience at the concert. I still was able to have a wonderful time but it would’ve been so much better if I had been physically and emotionally present for all of the songs.

I want to enjoy life without IBS

This feeling, of an experience ruined or made less great because of IBS, is one that trails me always. Just the other day, I was out with a friend and had to dash into a portapotty because there were no other public washrooms close by. I was feeling so exhausted and worn down from the experience that I did not even care we were in a park with a small zoo to enjoy. I also had to push away that usual feeling of shame that comes from being close to having an accident in public. My thought after I made it home with no further incident was that I wish I had felt healthy enough to take pictures of the zoo animals.

I hate the feeling of not feeling present in a moment or situation because IBS sends my anxiety (and my bowel) barreling. I want to be able to enjoy things without fear and panic or without losing the energy that I could’ve had towards the situation.

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