Imposing or Insisting is Not Helpful
If you’re reading this and you suffer from IBS, or any other illness, has anyone ever insisted or tried to impose their “healthy-lifestyle” practices on you? It is one thing to inform or give advice, but to force something on to someone is a totally different thing. For example, I have a friend who, a while back, was persistent in trying to get me to go on the vegan diet because he swore that it would heal my irritable bowel syndrome. He mentioned at the time that it had helped him improve his health because he was on the verge of being obese while also dealing with other health concerns. I was happy to hear how the vegan diet benefited him health-wise. However, I’ve done my research and even tried vegan dishes that have triggered my symptoms. Therefore, it was clear to me that he knew little about IBS because I would still have to adjust the diet to avoid certain ingredients, like onion, garlic, cauliflower, etc. When I explained that to him, he was still insisting that I go on the diet because, to further prove his point, after watching a documentary about health on Netflix, he was totally convinced that the vegan diet would “cure” my IBS. I have nothing against the vegan diet and I’m genuinely glad to know it helped him with his individual health concerns. Also, I’m sure with some adjustments, I know I could handle adapting to the diet completely. However, I just don’t think it’ll “cure” my condition, and that’s just my opinion.
Trust the patient
Since I started speaking out about my IBS, I’ve had people insist on all kinds of remedies for me to try, from diets and prescription meds to holistic approaches and exercises (like yoga). Again, insisting something on a patient can be detrimental for many reasons. The main one being that the patient feels like they have to live up to other people’s standards and expectations as opposed to doing things at their own pace. In my own experience, when I would listen to other’s demands regarding my health, I ended up dealing with low self-esteem and a sense of dependency on others like I’ve never experienced before. Also, when I would listen to others over my own voice and knowledge of how my body works, many times I would end up dealing with IBS pain because their advice wasn’t always accurate or the best. At the time, because I was trying my best to listen to what others told me to do and it wasn’t working, I ended up dealing with deep depression, which in turn would constantly trigger my IBS symptoms even more. It’s not always easy, but sometimes saying “NO” to others can be more helpful than harmful.
What we must do is trust that the patient, at least to some extent, knows what works best for them since they are the ones living with the illness every single day. And even if they don’t, we shouldn’t force or impose a diet, or any other form of treatment, on someone just because we strongly stand by it. Instead, listen to their concerns and experiences dealing with their condition. Then, based on what you gathered, provide all the valuable information about whatever remedy you think might work best, and allow the patient to make up their own mind on whether they should move forward with such treatment. Also, be supportive and understanding no matter what they ultimately decide to do.
Trial and error
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all remedy. In other words, what may work for you or me, may not necessarily work for others. So it’s important that our approach is respectful when we suggest a health or lifestyle change to others, especially if they’ve tried many things with not much luck. For many of us IBS sufferers, going through trials and errors is the unfortunate constant game we have to play with our condition because something might work one day, but then the next day it won’t, or vice versa. IBS is a brain-gut disorder that has yet to be fully understood by the scientific and medical community, which is why it’s so complex for many sufferers to manage, and difficult for many non-sufferers to understand. Trying to manage IBS can be both tricky and tiring, but it’s something us sufferers must try to do regardless because we’re more tired of the pain than others hearing us complain.
Have any of you ever had an experience when someone was insisting you try out a certain remedy because they were undoubtedly convinced that it could help you? If so, what was the treatment or remedy suggested? Also, please feel free share your story on the IBS website. We’d love to hear more from you! Thanks!