Having IBS is constantly about making decisions. One of the hardest decisions to make when you have IBS, is whether to have fun now and pay for it later, or sit out on the fun, and feel somewhat decent for the following days. Being in my twenties, there are all types of events that have come up since my IBS diagnosis. Whether it is weddings, bachelorette parties, concerts, birthday parties, beach weekends, or holidays, the list goes on. When I attend these events, I often find myself faced with that one big decision. To have fun and cheat on my IBS/chronic illness diet, or let myself go, and enjoy the night.
Often times, I find myself letting go and enjoying the night. I feel like it’s so important to live life, but I also feel like it’s important to feel good. I’m always so torn! If I go off of my diet, I can pay for it up to a week! I then have to go on a huge detox to try to make my tummy and body happy again. During the week, I find it pretty easy to stay on a restricted diet, but on the weekends, it can be so hard! When so many other people around you do not have to worry about what they put into their bodies, I find it hard to stick to the diet I know my body needs.
Special diet woes
One of the most annoying things to me, when being around other people, is that when you have a special diet, everyone assumes you are dieting for weight loss. Especially at work functions, I have found that people are not sympathetic to other health reasons you may have a special diet. I remember when I had lost a lot of weight without trying to, and I would order gluten free, dairy free, pizza at work, people would just say, “You need to be eating that real pizza!” What some people don’t understand is just because it’s gluten-free and dairy-free, that doesn’t necessarily even mean that it has fewer calories! I try not to let things like this bother me, but I have found if I am with a big crowd, I will shy away from my IBS diet. I will order something off of the menu sometimes without making IBS friendly modifications, because I just don’t want to go into it with everyone.
I have noticed that the decision to tell people at work that I have IBS, is harder than telling someone I do not work with. It’s sad to say, but it almost makes me feel like a weak link! Shamelessly, I am always thinking if they were to know about my IBS and other chronic illnesses, they wouldn’t think I would be fit to do the job because I had these issues. I also think with the stigma around IBS, and you know, poop, it makes potty talk awkward around people that you are not super close with, but you are around all of the time by default.
The bottom line is, life is full of decisions. When you have IBS, you are dealt with a handful of different decisions than someone who does not live with IBS. Decisions can be easy, and decisions can be hard. Making decisions that are best for you are key to managing your anxiety, and your IBS.
Is gluten a trigger for you?