Dealing With People’s Judgment
Throughout all of my IBS journey, I’ve always struggled with people’s judgment. Those who tell me that it’s all just in my head. Those who don’t even believe that it’s a real illness.
Being judged for IBS
No matter who I’m with and how I explain IBS, everyone always seems to add their grain of salt.
My trigger foods don’t make sense – how can I avoid milk and at the same time eat cake?
It’s stupid to miss events just because I have a little stomach ache.
Why do I dislike so many foods?
And how can I not try the meal the host prepared, only because I believe it contains a trigger food?
Secretly, I have always thought that people were only so judgmental because they didn’t understand IBS. They didn’t have the illness. They probably knew no one else who did. And it’s invisible, after all.
It’s not just IBS – it’s everything
When I then got pregnant, I thought that all of that would change. At least for 9 months. Instead of saying the truth (I was tired because I had a flare-up that morning), I would blame it all on my pregnancy.
Don’t you want pizza?
No, thanks, that’s part of my food aversions.
And everyone would understand. Or so I thought.
Unlike everything I imagined, nothing changed. People weren’t suddenly more understanding because I had a thing that they could comprehend.
When I avoided certain foods because my doctor told me not to eat them, they thought that I was exaggerating. Some older people even bothered to say that in their time, no one made such a fuss about pregnancy! Is it just me or do things like that make you mad as well?
The weeks where I suffered from nausea really badly, one person actually got mad at me for missing an event. Even though I literally struggled to get out of bed during that period of time.
I thought that my pregnancy excuse would suddenly save me from being judged, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. People were not more understanding. They cared just as little as they usually care about my IBS.
Am I too sensitive about this?
Now, the people I’m talking about here aren’t my close friends or my family. They’re acquaintances I see once in a while, distant relatives, sometimes people I’ve just met. So maybe I shouldn’t be so disappointed that they don’t understand me – after all, we’re not all that close.
My boyfriend always tells me that I take these things to heart way too much. No one tries to be mean or anything, they just share their (unsolicited) opinion with me. And I’m sure he’s right.
But that doesn’t change the way their opinion makes me feel. Because it sounds an awful lot like my struggle isn’t valid. Like I need to put others before myself, no matter what.
In a way, I’m glad that I’ve had to deal with all of this though. It has made me so much more careful about judging other people. Even when I don’t really understand what they’re going through.
Do you think there is enough awareness of IBS?