IBS Depression has Returned
In a recent article, I talked about the fact that during this time of uncertainty and isolation, my IBS symptoms have become much more intense than they were prior to the pandemic. While I think I have identified the root of the problem (anxiety and irregular dietary habits) I have still, unfortunately, found my mood is...well...not good.
I have run out of projects, I am only working about four hours a day, I’m tired of cleaning and reading and waiting. I am tired of this particular version of my life. I’m sure there are at least some of you who are feeling this way. Isolation can do really bad things to your sense of self, motivation, and ability to stick to a healthy routine. And depression can sneak up on you very, very quickly without you even knowing it sometimes.
Battling my depression and IBS
I should say, so as not to be a total downer, that this is not a full-blown depressive episode yet. I am still forcing myself to do the things I need to do. The keyword there is ‘forcing’. I am approaching this as something I have to beat with brute force. You cannot beat depression, or anxiety for that matter, with brute force. I have gone back on my anti-depressant as a start and will continue making small positive changes every day to get me back on my feet.
As any of you who have experienced depression with IBS knows, IBS makes all of the things you do to help the depression harder to accomplish. IBS can knock you down when you feel like you are making some progress. IBS can hurt your self-esteem, just when you are starting to feel better about yourself. IBS sucks. Then again, so does depression. :-)
Trying the glass half-full approach
I am trying to take a glass half full approach. Even though I’m pretty sure that the isolation and social distancing is at the root of these blues, I am trying to convince myself that at least I have the time and the space to deal with my problems.
There have been many, many times that I have missed work for both mental illness and IBS. In this case, I don’t have to worry about missing work or letting anyone down. I can just take care of myself. One of my favorite wellness topics is the idea that sometimes, with illness, you need to put yourself first. I find it interesting that most people (myself included), find this so difficult. Well, the world has slowed down a bit for the moment. Why don’t we all take the opportunity to put ourselves first for a change?
Going forward, I will continue to have an open dialogue with my doctor, family, and friends about my condition, whether I want to or not. My experience, even with mild depression, is that I’d rather not speak with anyone or ask for help. My experience also tells me this is the worst thing you can do for yourself. Wish me luck. I’ll report back on my progress.
Did you make any New Year's goals or resolutions?