How IBS Has Affected My Confidence
IBS can get in the way of so many things but confidence is something that has been greatly affected in me.
It is very hard to be confident in yourself when your body is letting you down in so many ways. The unpredictable nature of IBS can also contribute to affecting your self-esteem and ability to commit to things in life the way you used to be able to.
It has affected my social life
I've always been a bubbly, outgoing person and attending social events is something I love doing. When the unpredictable nature of IBS affects your ability to attend events, it can be disheartening and stressful. At social events the constant need to know where the nearest bathroom is, or if you are able to eat the food, can add a lot of pressure and for me a feeling of embarrassment. Not everyone has an understanding of gut health conditions so it can be difficult to explain to people what is going on or what provisions you need in place. Quite often I'd rather not go to social events. They are no where near as easy as they used to be for me and there are so many factors you need to consider beforehand.
It has affected my body image
I've always loved fashion and would go as far as saying shopping is a hobby of mine. In the mornings my stomach is flat but as the day goes on my stomach swells, making tight clothing very uncomfortable. As a result of this, this has affected what I can wear. I no longer wear trousers to work and as much as I lovely pair of high waisted jeans, by night time the top buttons are undone. I never used to have to think about what clothes I was buying but now I have to consider the fact that my stomach will swell throughout the day. I'm so conscious of the swelling and don't feel good in a lot of my clothing anymore.
It has affected my confidence the workplace
It's very difficult to accept when your brain wants one thing but your body says no. It would be great to get through a working day without lots of toilets trips and unnecessary pain and your work wasn't affected. Unfortunately IBS makes this virtually impossible for me. There are jobs that I no longer feel capable of doing because of my IBS.
My love of traveling isn't quite the same
I love exploring different places and learning about different cultures. With IBS this comes with the added worry of if there will be toilets on public transport or not knowing where the nearest bathroom is in a new location. It's also daunting choosing a location to visit and not knowing whether or not they will be able to cater for your dietary restrictions.
Forming new relationships is much harder than it should be
This applies to both dating and friendships. It sounds silly, but I always worry whether or not someone will accept me for having a condition that can be perceived as being embarrassing. IBS is not something we have caused or asked for. I have learnt along the way that if someone is not willing to accept it, then they are not worth your time. But despite thinking this, I find it hard to tell people about my condition and that I may not be able to do "normal" things all the time.
Confidence around food
There are so many different food triggers for me when it comes to IBS. But there are also occasions when you can eat something that hasn't bothered you before but it suddenly affects you. I can't remember what it felt like to be able to eat something without worrying what affect it's going to have on your sensitive stomach. I love food and before IBS I always had a good relationship with food but it definitely has been affected now. Eating out can be difficult but also much less enjoyable when you are worrying about what affect it might have on you.
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