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IBS Icebreakers

Reentering a social life, in a new city, has come with a mired of challenges. There were certain things you could rely on in your neighborhood, or with your friends back home. You have your shared experiences, school-time memories, and common interests to help carry beautiful friendships right along.

I could joke about my IBS?

Since I was diagnosed last year, accepting what I have IBS has been way less straightforward than I thought it would be. As someone who also suffers from migraines, I have the protection of bringing that up first. Head pain comes with a lot less social stigma than poop does. Poops are inherently gross, messy, and private. Even talking about it can be seen as immature and juvenile. Though, to that, I may say. Look, I’m just trying to bring alleviate some of the pain I struggle with through my own brand of humor. Could you cut me some slack?

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How am I supposed to share that I write for a website where I talk about my terrible butt times to an audience of fellow butt blasters?

It’s something I have spent a long time brainstorming in order to get the best, least offensive, and most approachable outcome. I want to be able to share what I do! Since becoming an advocate, I have loved finding out about what I suffer from and connecting with others who feel the same way. I’ve always loved a community, whether it’s on a film set, a neighborhood friend group, or you all. I’m at home. I’ve found the most honest I am, the better the bonds I forge are with strangers. People appreciate honesty, even if they’re smacked in the face by it. Is it off-putting? Maybe; I see it as a quirk! I need to be able to talk about what I do without seeming like a nasty pervert who loves to talk about his butt.

Phrasing may be the key

I’ve been trying to talk about my own gut health with a level of irreverence that doesn’t initially reveal the absolute discomfort I suffer through. Using humor and language as a safety net to catch me from getting too unpleasant about my pain. If I were to broach the subject, and we’re all friends here, I trust you; I would say:

"Hi, I'm Sawyer, and I write about medical issues I deal with, like migraine and IBS. I figured, why not try and help people instead of letting my a** put me in the garbage can!"

Now what do we think about that approach?

I was direct and morally driven, with some colorful language to suggest I am a fun and cool guy. Maybe it was awful and inappropriate, especially with a first impression? Good, I’m glad I can get some of these duds out before I have to go befriend another stranger.

Accepting who I am has been a huge part of my IBS journey. It’s reworked everything, from how I eat food to how I navigate the city. I can’t keep hiding this part of me, no matter how much self-guilt I inflict. We, as people, punish ourselves for things in our control. Things that nobody may notice that we do. I’m just taking one self-esteem issue, I can’t control, off the table. Maybe strangers aren’t ready for me to talk, candidly, about what I do, but every movement starts with one very confident person standing up and making change.

How would you bring up your IBS with someone? Would you? Would love to know!

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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