While most of us associate IBS with the predominant symptoms of either (or both) constipation and diarrhea, nausea can also be a symptom we experience. Nausea is often described as coming in waves. As I’m writing this, I’m experiencing those waves, and while I enjoy the waves of the ocean much more, it is an apt description.
Over the past several years, I’ve been practicing listening to my body more, rather than stuffing unpleasant emotions or sensations as I did in the past. (Denial is a powerful coping mechanism, but I’ve found it’s only effective for a short time.)
So, when the nausea started today, I recognized my initial reaction of wanting to will it away and shifted my attention instead to my breath. (Focusing on gentle inhalations and exhalations helps me relax my body.) And Rumi’s poem The Guest House came to my mind:
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them all at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
I’ll admit that I don’t always find it easy to follow Rumi’s advice of welcoming all the unexpected visitors that come to me, I do find comfort in the idea that they are just a guest, not a permanent resident. And eventually, they will move along.
Did you start experiencing IBS symptoms before adulthood?