Things That Make My IBS Flare-Ups Worse
Whenever I have a flare-up, I need to be in my own space and concentrate solely on getting better. Even though IBS is supposed to be a merely digestive issue, it really takes my entire being to cope with an episode.
While every outside stimulation seems to negatively affect my recovery, some things have a particularly bad impact on my well-being while I experience bouts of IBS.
Eating as a trigger
Food is my worst enemy during a flare-up. There is no way I would ever, ever eat while my IBS is acting up. Most of the time, even a few mild symptoms are enough to cancel out any hunger or appetite I might have previously had.
Moreover, eating even a little bit makes every flare-up a million times worse. For me personally, fasting is the way to go, even if that means skipping breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Thinking about my to-do list
IBS flares make me terribly unproductive, and this can negatively affect my anxiety levels. In fact, even thinking about anything I need to do makes me super anxious during a flare-up.
And since anxiety is such a huge trigger for me, my symptoms instantly get so much worse.
Whenever I have an IBS flare, I try to focus on breathing and not think about anything at all. Especially not my to-do list.
Looking at my phone
For some reason, I also can’t look at my phone while I’m in the middle of an episode. Maybe it’s due to the visual stimulation, maybe it’s because it reminds me of all the things I could do if I wasn’t sick.
Whenever I try to distract myself with my phone, my anxiety levels instantly rise.
So, I never have my phone with me while experiencing IBS symptoms. My laptop is okay though, for some reason.
Talking and listening to people
I just cannot, for the life of me, have a conversation while experiencing an IBS flare. Not only because I spend most of my time in the bathroom, but because talking makes me feel even more miserable.
And it’s not only talking: I can’t even have someone speak to me. Instead, I prefer to be by myself and not interact with anyone at all.
This aspect of my IBS is particularly difficult because it makes me so anti-social when I have symptoms. I feel so bad for asking people not to talk to me during a flare. After all, all they want to do is help. But they can’t, and what I need them to do is simply ignore me for a while.
Trying to be productive
The last thing that makes my anxiety levels spike and ties my bowels into knots during an IBS flare is trying to be productive.
I just can’t do anything at all, besides lie on my bed and be miserable. And the more I try to combat this, the worse it gets and the longer it takes me to get better.
The only exception to this is writing about IBS. For example, this article was written during a pretty bad flare. Somehow, venting about my misery makes things better, and that’s all I can ask for right now.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?