IBS Reflections - Will I Ever Feel Okay Again?
Last updated: September 2021
Flare-ups feel like they will never end. In the midst of one, I can hardly remember what it’s like not to be sick. To think about something else than my digestion.
While IBS is at its worst, I can’t help but question the food and lifestyle choices that led me here. Why did I eat X, Y, Z? Why on earth did I think that leaving the house was a good idea? How could I even think about inviting people over?
IBS and interacting with humans
During each and every flare, I wonder how I’m supposed to handle my relationships with my family, my partner, my child. It’s so hard to find the energy for human interaction when all you want to do is hide in the bathroom forever.
The fact that I can’t even talk during my IBS flares makes it that much harder. No one really understands, even though they try to. But it’s hard to shut out the people you love because you physically can’t handle being around anyone in moments like this.
Whenever my IBS flares up, I also wonder why I even bother making plans. I start believing that I could forgo having friends, going out, doing things if I could just feel better.
It all becomes clear when looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: psychological needs (like feeling okay) are the most basic needs of all. When these are not fulfilled, how can one focus on anything else? I never feel lonely during a flare. On the contrary, I’m always glad if no one is around!
IBS and food
Every single time my IBS flares up, I promise myself not to eat ever again. Although this isn’t feasible, it feels like my digestive system cannot handle food. And I also don’t ever want to feel this bad again!
Of course, this only lasts until the flare is over and I’m hungry again, ready to throw caution into the wind. But until that moment comes, I’d gladly renounce putting anything inside my stomach altogether.
IBS is a mind game
Whenever I’m in the middle of a flare, I feel like I’ll never be okay again. My exhaustion and anxiety take over, telling me to hide in my bed until the end of time. But once the flare is over for good and I’m doing fine, I can hardly remember how bad an IBS episode can be!
Isn’t this the weirdest thing? We, as IBS sufferers, live through so many of these miserable moments, day to day, sometimes multiple times a day or multiple days in a row. And yet, it’s easy to forget how bad it really gets.
If this didn’t happen, I would never let myself get tempted by unsafe foods (but I do, way too often!). I would never make decisions in a healthy state that I regret later on.
At yet, that’s what happens, over and over again. It’s a never-ending, vicious cycle that I never seem to get out of. Sometimes, I feel like there are 2 sides of me: the healthy, sociable human, and the sick, miserable hermit. And I’m just thankful that the people close to me are able to handle both.
Does the same thing ever happen to you? I’d love to know if I’m the only one who experiences these changes in personality when it comes to IBS!
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?