I’m Done Apologizing for Something I Can’t Control
It’s hard enough for someone with a chronic invisible-illness to fully accept their limitations, but to be sorry or apologetic about them as well is even more difficult. When I first started dealing with IBS, I didn’t fully understand it, and I was always told that it’s not a serious enough condition to get “all bent-out-of-shape” about. Therefore, for a while, I was conditioned to not take my pain seriously and push through it as if the pain was all in my head. I would also be apologetic to those I felt my condition affected, like my old bosses, friends and/or family members. Now that I have so much more knowledge about my condition and realize that I can’t always control my symptoms, I find that I should never, ever, have to apologize for my limitations or painful experiences.
Do not apologize for IBS
It hurts me to apologize for something I can’t control, like my IBS. What hurts me, even more, is that my limitations can affect others. However, I can’t continue to live my life perceiving my illness as a burden (at least, all the time), or else I’ll always end up being depressed and feeling pitiful. From now on, my mentality is either people accept me and my limitations and learn to adjust for the sake of respect and compassion, or, they can do me a favor and make room for someone else who will actually truly care and support me, as I would in return.
I know I may sound kind of harsh with this approach but imagine the toll it takes on me to apologize for having to use the restroom or being in pain most of the time, and then when I’m actually on the toilet, I’m filled with guilt, anxiety, and shame. It’s almost demeaning and belittling when I have to express regret for my condition, and I just can’t continue to do that to myself anymore. This notion is part of my reason for being a patient advocate and being a voice for those who find it hard to speak up for themselves.
Uplift and encourage
I engage a lot with IBS communities from many different social media platforms and one of the things many of us have in common is that we get depressed because we don’t like when our condition causes us to disappoint others. For instance, there are times when we have to call out of work, cancel on friends or family, or possibly miss out on an important business meeting/opportunity due to the effect our condition has on us. And as a result, we deal with the disappointment from people who don’t understand or acknowledge our condition and apologize for something we didn’t do to ourselves.
So, I advocate for patients like me because we shouldn’t have to constantly demean ourselves and feel sorry about our unfortunate and uncontrollable circumstances. I also do my best to make it a point to uplift and encourage the IBS community to constantly practice positivity and living a lifestyle that best fits them and their condition, so that they truly never have to feel regretful about their condition and limitations.
Can any of you reading this relate? Do you find yourself apologizing all the time about your condition? If so, how does that make you feel? I look forward to reading your comments and thank you so much for taking the time to read my article.
Have you tried eating smaller portions to manage symptoms?