How I Fight With My IBS
Last updated: December 2021
My relationship with food has evolved over the years. What started out as a loving dynamic between 2 star-crossed lovers, had devolved into an anxiety-ridden butt war where I often find myself losing. I used to love trying new foods. It was a staple of my personality. I took pride in not being a picky eater! While my sister hated rice, bananas, and all soups, I frolicked in the lands of calamari, alligator burgers, duck, kangaroo, and fresh cheesecake from the factory itself.
Now, I’m a food hermit. Resorting to a select group of trigger-free options. When I’m out? I’ll usually go for vegetables or vegan options to avoid the tummy-wrecking power of red meat.
IBS bums me out!
Losing out on unique foods has been such a sad reality. IBS has made my life a lot harder in ways I didn’t know I preferred before. Food is such a stable of our society and all cultures across the world! Feeling like I can’t participate has been taxing. So where does that leave me? Recently, by a professional therapist, I’ve been told that I’m a fixer. That I just can’t leave well enough alone and always need a way out. She saw it as a shortcoming.
I look at it as motivation. Why sit around and feel bad at me for not being able to eat some foods, when I could see it as a way to make the most of it? There are so many things in life that take away our control and urgency, my diet and IBS relief techniques are something I CAN do myself.
Imodium has saved my life
ALWAYS ASK YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TRYING A NEW MEANS OF RELIEF! AAAH! That being said, being able to regulate my bowels has changed my life, honestly. I’ve taken some in the morning and been able to eat whatever I want, on the go. Whether it’s on a film set where the food options are limited and time is precious, or on the go in NYC, where bathrooms are hidden and anxiety can run rampant. Being able to eat wherever I want has freed me up to so many possibilities.
Do some things slip through the cracks? Yes
Does this mean I should just get wild with it and eat whatever the sam heck I want? No
Does it mean I’ll be constipated and bloated for the next 36 hours? YUP
I find that this is a price I’m willing to pay to put IBS on the back burner for a day and try and enjoy life as much as I can.
Breathing and fidgeting through IBS symptoms
As someone with attention issues and a fidget disorder, moving as a coping mechanism is not something I struggle with. When I feel severe IBS symptoms, IE cramping, nausea, and imminent butt-death, I’ve found that breathing and tapping my fingers on my leg significantly help me pass through the cramping waves. This very day, I was driving my mom from the train station when those eaves crashed over me. I drummed a cool drum beat and fidgeted in my seat long enough to get to the bathroom on time and SAFELY. It’s not a perfect solution, but it buys me time all the time.
Ultimately, I listen to my body
Some sacrifices need to be made when managing IBS. No matter how we fight it, or fend off against the pain, holding the line, it’ll get you in the end. Constipation will be too much, the bloating will be too unflattering, and your fidgeting will buy you less and less time until your jeans burst. Yes, I will do everything I can to fight for the foods I want, but at the end of the day, the best thing I can do to fix my body is to listen to it. It’s smarter than I am. If I hadn’t listened, I’d still be perplexed, to this day, as to why ice cream renders my GI tract into one big nasty slip and slide.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?