A man holds his stomach in discomfort, on the left side a tangle of arms pulls at him, on the right side watery arms pull at him

IBS-M: When It Picks A Side

A few weeks ago, I received the bad news that would alter my life for the next little while. I have been in high-stress mode ever since, trying to get my life back to normal, which may take a few months. To make matters worse, my body is a few steps behind as my mind tries to reorient itself. So, how did my IBS-M take the bad news? It has given me watery diarrhea every time I have a flare-up now. EVERY TIME. I am not very happy about it. Usually, when my IBS slides more to the diarrhea side, it's just a soft stool and manageable. However, watery diarrhea always makes me feel a little out of control. There's always that bubbling in my gut whether I'm hungry or not. I also tend to get cramps as well. To make matters worse, it doesn't matter what I eat during this time because anything will make my gut bubble and send me to the bathroom. It's nerve-wracking to spend my days like this, like a ticking time bomb.

Feeling stuck or rather, too unstuck

I know my whole body is in fight mode after my turn of bad luck, but I would like diarrhea to end. The problem when it gets like this is that there is no real way to fix it until it just goes away on its own (at least, that's how I find it is for me). Even if I start hydrating myself more (which I am trying to get better at) or even taking the right medicine, I find it doesn't like settling until I am more settled—I love that mind-body connection sometimes. (re: sarcasm).

Stress as a trigger

I like (like is a strong word for a chronic illness) when my IBS-M stays a very nice IBS-M, a little bloating and constipation here, a little soft stool (but not too soft) there; so, when it throws itself over entirely to one side because of stress (because that's generally the case), I then become more stressed because of it. I am already stressed because of whatever situation, but that stress has increased tenfold. Now, the questions concerning my health come out: Is diarrhea a sign of something bigger? Am I really sick? Should I go to the doctor? Or should I do mindfulness and breathing exercises and try to calm down/alleviate my stress?

Sliding the other way

When I received terrible news near the pandemic's beginning (unrelated to the pandemic), my IBS-M shifted into full constipation mode. It took two and a half weeks for my constipation to go away. I was so constipated that I thought I was pregnant because constipation also led to extreme nausea. So, it's interesting that this recent lousy news brought my body to watery diarrhea instead. As I said, I will be glad when my body shifts back to "normal."

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