Depression and IBS

Depression and IBS

Anxiety, worry, nerves and IBS. I think we are all familiar with this topic. I’ve talked a lot about it because the two seem to go hand in hand like peaches and cream, mashed potatoes and gravy, cigarettes and coffee…oops, not IBS-friendly, then again I’m thinking the mashed potatoes and gravy thing wasn’t very good either.;) The relation between IBS and anxiety is of particular interest to many of us because often we wonder which came first the chicken or the egg? Did my anxiety cause my IBS…does anxiety CAUSE IBS? Some people think so…I do, but I’m not a doctor. Nevertheless, while anxiety gets a lot of attention, I don’t think that depression gets enough airtime. I don’t mean having the blues for a couple of days, being sad or down. I’m talking the kind of depression that renders you incapable of doing many of the things you need to do to have a productive, healthy life. With something as painful and frustrating as IBS, depression is always a possibility, especially if you have been dealing with your IBS for some time.

Depression is nothing to 'wait out'

If you’ve never experienced a true depressive episode, I hope that you never do. I have on several occasions and it is not something that I would wish on anyone.  You are not yourself. Your are sad beyond sad, tired, listless, you isolate; you shut down. The real trouble is starting yourself back up again. When you are experiencing the symptoms of true depression it becomes an extraordinarily vicious cycle. How are you supposed to go the gym, prepare meals, go grocery shopping or do any of the things you need to care for yourself when you can barely get out of bed? The reason this topic can be very much related to IBS is the frustration and anxiety factor. After periods of extreme discomfort and worry, your self-esteem tends to take a nosedive, leaving you feeling hopeless. Hopelessness is the root of depression. When you see no light at the end of the tunnel, no end to your suffering, the result is often depression. I have mentioned before about my extreme anxiety issues and bi-polar disorder. While bi-polar disorder can lead you into periods of depression you tend to fluctuate between two types of moods (I’m not going to go into the many details of bi-polar disorder in this article). My point is that while without medication, I live with almost non-stop anxiety and worry, yet I don’t get depressed for very long periods of time. Do you want to know when I get clinically depressed? After long periods of worrying all the time. When will it end? Can it stop? I feel like I’m doing everything, yet nothing seems to work. I WANT TO GIVE UP. When you get to 'I WANT TO GIVE UP,' there’s a pretty good chance you’re depressed. Depression is nothing to ‘wait out.’ Once you are down there, you need help. Trust me, I know.

Get help

See your doctor, talk to your friends and family (even if you have to force it)…bring other people in to help. It may be as simple as an anti-depressant or as serious as a hospital stay depending on your past history with depression, but take action, make the phone call. Living in a state of depression and anxiety while having your body attacked by IBS is not something that will have a happy ending. If you're not sure you are truly depressed (in the clinical sense) call the doctor anyway. Good chance if you are questioning it, you probably are. Please don’t take this lightly.

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