When living with a debilitating condition such as IBS, one needs to really consider making drastic and unconventional life changes. For the first few years of living with this torturous disease, I didn’t know how to maneuver life the way a normal person did, or at least the way I was once able to before I had to live with it. What I lacked in understanding and acceptance was that I was no longer a normal person. I was a person who had, and still has, something that makes life very difficult. The things I was once used to doing such as working at a regular 9-5, or hanging out at a bar with friends, or partying late nights were all things that were extremely hard to keep up with while living with IBS. It took a while, but eventually I realized I needed to make some huge sacrifices for the sake of my health.
One thing that was very hard to do was living by my own standards. I was so used to caring about what others thought and doing what others thought was best, but I never had the audacity to listen to myself and do what was best for my happiness. Until one day I decided that if I was going to lead a healthier lifestyle, I had to stop trying to live by other’s standards and start living by my own. One drastic change I made in my life was to stop working at a regular fixed-hour job because I knew that I would never feel healthy and comfortable in that type of environment. For instance, it is much harder now for me to keep up with any physical labor due to my condition, and I would hate to use public restrooms because it’s never up to par with the way I expect it to be (cleanliness, privacy, etc.). Now that I work from home, I am able to use the toilet as many times as I need to without judgement and also with a sense of relief because I know that my bathroom is clean and well taken care of. This aspect of life definitely makes dealing with IBS less of a struggle than it used to be.
Why I chose to speak up about my IBS
After realizing and accepting the fact that I will never get rid of this condition, I have learned to be more vocal about it. I now have to live life with certain restrictions so I needed to make sure people were aware of them, and also understood that what I am suffering from is very serious and should not be taken lightly. The more I stand firm and voice what my struggles are, the more people are willing to understand and take my condition into consideration. This has also made living with IBS less stressful because people in my life are now much more thoughtful of me and my situation, and I couldn’t ask for anything better. I can now attend certain functions with less anxiety and more comfort because I know there’s a sense of understanding about what I deal with, so therefore I am not afraid of judgement or lack of sympathy.
Being an advocate for myself by vocalizing my struggles with IBS and making drastic career changes were very necessary in order for me to lead a less stressful life. I used to be so depressed because I felt that no one understood what I was going through and therefore I felt so alone for a time period. I felt hopeless and unworthy when I would attend my 9-5 jobs because I was no longer able to keep up with the rest of my coworkers due to my IBS. Ever since I decided to do something about these situations in my life, I now have less depressive episodes. I am much more comfortable with dealing with my condition because I am in a place where I am better capable of managing it. My struggles with this disease are a lot less stressful than they used to be. I think it’s important for any of us suffering from a chronic condition to always remember putting ourselves first so that we can lead a more comfortable and happier lifestyle.