IBSgirl in… Moody and Miserable
When your life resembles a messed up ice cream sundae, stuffed with many wonderfully tasty symptoms of IBS and fibromyalgia, sprinkled with anxiety, and topped with a personality disorder cherry, you’ve got some interesting days ahead of you. Let’s face it, living with IBS isn’t easy, and the physical upsets we deal with on a daily basis are not the only symptoms we endure; often, our minds are pulled into the mix.
Racking your brain
When you’re always wondering what your body will do, how food will affect you, or where the next bathroom is it can seem as though your emotions, fears, and anxieties are on a seemingly endless roller-coaster ride at the IBS fun-zone. Generally, the worst mood swings tend to rear their ugly heads when I am surprised by a flare-up. There is almost nothing worse than your body suddenly deciding that a food you’ve had for years is now off-the-table; that feeling of utter frustration you get when your extensively researched and controlled diet, which you’ve finally gotten used to, must undergo another transformation. And then there is that feeling of seething anger when you literally have no idea why a flare-up has occurred, when you’re endlessly racking your brain, searching for the answer only to conclude that there simply isn’t one.
There area few things that you should remember when these fun flare-ups occur: first, realize that mood swings might feel out of your control, but that is not always the case; second, learning coping mechanisms can help you deal with unpredictable symptoms; third, just because we feel like we are over-reacting doesn’t mean that your frustration is unwarranted – quite the contrary – it is only natural to feel this way.
Mood swings aren’t about blame
There are times when our flare-ups and reactions are not specifically tied to our own decisions, especially if we are eating out; more often than not, a different chef, different cooking oil, or even a certain time of the week (depending upon whether you go to a similar location regularly) can make a huge difference upon the reactions you do or do not get. For example, I often enjoy ordering delicious french fries from my favorite pub, despite the fact that their deep fryer is contaminated with trace gluten. I rarely get a reaction from this particular guilty pleasure, however, there are several times when I’m surprised by an utterly horrible flare-up. Naturally, I felt frustrated, defeated, confused – I berate myself for ordering something that could have caused me harm only to find out that it wasn’t my fault at all, but rather because the kitchen hadn’t cleaned their oil! This is where the seething anger can rear its ugly face. But, alas, we must try to remain calm and learn from our experiences. Make sure you ask your favorite restaurants about their cleaning schedules, ask if their kitchen is contaminated by things you cannot eat, be aware of the foodstuffs you are consuming. And when upsets occur, remember, mood swings can happen but it is not about blame. You are not being unreasonable, you can get through this, and you are not alone.