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A collection of wrapped gifts portraying symbols of gratitude are gathered on a table, surrounded by Christmas lights and in front of a row of candles. Behind the gifts are people at an office party.

The IBS Holiday Party

Well, folks, it’s time for my annual holiday report. While I’d love to say that Thanksgiving was a huge success…it was not. As in years gone by, I have found that I usually mess up big time at Thanksgiving, but learn from my mistakes, and by New Year’s, well, I’ve got the whole thing figured out. ;-)

This is, at least, what I tell myself. From reading everyone’s posts and articles regarding the holidays and all the stress it causes us IBS folks, I know that I am not alone in saying that this illness makes what could otherwise be a lot of fun, a big ball of hassle. Let’s look at what we’re up against and how we might improve this scenario.

Thanksgiving could have been better...

As I said, Thanksgiving did not go well. What I mean, is that once again, the ‘safe’ food I had prepared, was left uneaten and I decided to indulge in small portions of, uh, pretty much everything that was on offer. So, I spent the next week in the flares and wondered if was all worth it. It did not take me long to come to the conclusion that it was not worth it. Not by a long shot.

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Why, you ask, did I do this, knowing full well what would happen? Because I wanted to feel normal. I wanted to enjoy the day just like everyone else. I did enjoy it for a few hours, but honestly, I had to leave early because my stomach was already seriously screwed up after dinner. Is this fair? Is this any way to enjoy the day? No, it most certainly is not. But nothing about IBS is fair and we have to make do. Making do in this case would have been doing what I knew was the right move (eating the food I had prepared). Can’t go back now, only forward.

Looking ahead with gratitude

There are more parties and gatherings to come. I am looking forward to trying again, as I have every year since being diagnosed. I look at it as a challenge and a way to try to truly enjoy all the things about the holidays that aren’t food or drink related. I said something similar last year, but while I liked the concept, I still felt a little depressed, the odd man out, and feeling sorry for myself because I am sick. This year I am just going for the basics and feeling grateful.

Being grateful for all that we DO have is a way to deal with all kinds of illness, both physical and mental. To cultivate a feeling of gratitude for our family and friends, our spirituality and beliefs. If finding something to be grateful for is difficult for you, trust me, you are not alone. Perhaps, in the new year, finding something to be grateful for might do some good.

It is no fun having an illness at any time of the year, especially during the holiday season. We must all try to focus on the good in our lives and work towards having a happier and healthier new year. With all my heart, I am grateful for all of you and wish you the best of the holidays.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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