Please Get Outside
As I sit writing this, it is 95 degrees outside. That kind of hot where you can’t breathe. Depending on your physical condition, perhaps you shouldn’t be outside right now. I took a walk, though (a short one, anyway) because I don’t have any physical problems other than the stomach stuff (that’s what I call the IBS/ulcer/gastritis combination).
Why did I take a walk on that soup of a day? Because I did not want to isolate myself in my apartment. I have found, without a doubt, that one of the worst things you can do to yourself is to develop a routine based around being inside. I have written before about the pitfalls of loneliness and isolation. But after you get past the initial despair and negative mental reaction to loneliness, you get used to it.
Break the habit: get outside
Human beings are creatures of habit and require structure to live their lives. The structure does not mean all things to all people. One man’s structure is very loose, sometimes chaotic, but the base framework is there. Other people require a schedule and regimen that would make a four-star General proud.
Once I got used to living alone for the first time in my life, I slowly started developing a routine that really didn’t get me out of the house much, except to work. I even started going to the gym at lunchtime so I wouldn’t have to stop on my way home, or heaven forbid, leave my apartment once I entered it. This is not a healthy line of thinking. Even though I struggle with IBS and am literally stuck at home sometimes, it certainly isn’t all the time. But, there is this thing in the back of my head that is telling me I’m safer in my place. Safer, more comfortable and happier. I’m not. I just think I am.
Change your "safe" IBS routine
I have noticed myself eating the same things on the same nights every week. How fun is that? It’s totally possible to stick to my IBS diet and switch things around a little, but I don’t. I read at the same time and for the same length of time every night. Same with TV. Video games. I don’t dare make any overtures to go on a date. THIS ISN’T ME. Between illness and isolation, I have become something else. Something that I don’t like very much and it isn’t making me very happy.
Being aware of your own discontent is a powerful thing. Taking care of this situation for me was simply like jumping into a freezing cold pool. Just do it. Tear off the band-aid. Take the routine out of the house. I have joined a group and a pool and make sure to have dinner with someone at least once a week. That makes four or five nights I am not running in the door after work and locking it. Progress and I feel much better for it. To be continued.
Have you ever had a public IBS accident?