When You Get Fed Up, Something Happens
I have lived with IBS for many years now, and after trials and errors of trying different things to help my condition, I’ve learned to just do what works best for me. As simple as that statement sounds, that kind of mentality has changed my life for the better and it keeps me grounded.
Every now and then I get sucked into the insecurity-rabbit-hole and I start to compare myself to other people. There are 3 main reasons why I tend to do such an insecure thing at times:
- I’m not able to do certain things with ease like other people can, such as being more outgoing and social.
- Other people can partake in things like alcohol and eat all kinds of junk food without worry of suffering from a painful flare-up.
- The tiniest anxiety and/or stress can trigger a negative symptom for me, which also makes me jealous of those who are not physically affected by emotional distress.
The places where I used to feel insecure and compare myself the most was at work and the gym. When it came to the gym, I can’t tell you how many times I talked myself out of exercising because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to perform like other people there. I couldn’t help but compare myself to the strongest men I would see at the gym, which didn’t help my self-esteem or made sense whatsoever. When someone suffers from a chronic illness how can they be expected to keep up with/live like a healthy person? The issue was comparing myself in the first place and not knowing how to measure my success by the progress I’ve made since the past, which doesn’t require me to compare myself to others at all.
There were even times when I knew I could exercise but I didn’t because I couldn’t see the purpose anymore if I felt I wouldn’t be consistent with it the way other people would, or at least the way I would want to. This wasn’t just IBS; this was also depression at play. Depression has a way of making you feel hopeless and come up with any excuse in the book to not do anything productive for yourself.
Well one day I finally got fed up. Like really fed up. I was tired of IBS and depression winning all of the time. Tired of it discouraging me from creating my best self. And you know what it took for me to overcome my insecurity? Well I certainly couldn’t do it without the encouragement of my support system. But what also helped was having even just a little willpower in me to fight for myself – to tell myself to stop caring about what other people think of me and my condition, stop trying to live by other people’s standards, and start living by my own. Only then was I able to really stop comparing myself to others and say to myself, “Hey, I feel like crap right now, but I’m gonna hit the gym anyway because I refuse to let IBS win. I’m gonna walk on that treadmill for 20 minutes and then I’m gonna leave. That’s it. Just 20 minutes. I’m not gonna try to do what everyone else is doing at the gym. I’m not gonna lift extra heavy weights like these other guys because I know overstressing my body can trigger my symptoms even worse. I’m gonna do just a little at a time and take it day by day.” And after I would walk 20 minutes on the treadmill, I realized I can do just a little bit more. And then as time went on, I was able to get better at staying a little bit longer in the gym while working out through my pain. Not just my body but also my mental strength was improving, and it was all because I got fed up with my insecurities.
For those of us suffering from an invisible illness, and especially a serious illness that not many understand yet, you have to remember that we’re not like average healthy people. Therefore, we have to live by our own rules and standards because not everyone is going through what we’re going through. So if/when you catch yourself comparing yourself to other people, then get fed up like I did, nip that crazy notion in the bud, and just be and do you!