Just Checking In...

It has been several months since my last personal update regarding my battle with IBS. I believe that sharing personal experiences can be of some help to others struggling with the same illness. While all of our stories are so different, there are often a surprising number of corresponding threads within our individual experience. I know that when I hear someone else’s story I often find myself saying ‘YOU TOO?!?’. It’s comforting in a way that goes far beyond ‘misery loves company’. It is about validation and understanding that there are others out there that can relate. And so… This is how I’m doing at the moment.

Making strides through hardship

It has been about a year since my IBS diagnosis. It has caused me a lot of anxiety and I have missed a lot of work. I have missed a lot of work because of the terrible malaise that accompanies the really bad flare ups. Obviously, the fact that you never really know when you will be attacked causes a lot of anxiety. The anxiety remains, but I am serious about taking care of my mental health. With the help of a therapist and psychiatrist, I can honestly say that I am in a good position to manage my anxiety and stress in a healthy way. My diet has changed drastically and the more disciplined I am about the diet and exercise, the fewer flares I have. This is the good part of ‘right now’. I have mentioned several times before that managing IBS is a marathon and not a sprint. I am a sprinter. I find myself ‘falling off the wagon’ all too often. When stressors in my life become too much, I tend to neglect the things that I know will help my IBS. So the more stress there is, the more intense my IBS symptoms are and correspondingly, the duration of the attacks. That said, my job is stressful, I am in the middle of moving to a new place and I am constantly worried about money. Hard enough to deal with these things when you are healthy, but when you are having stomach problems all the time, it can be overwhelming. I have made great strides with my IBS management, but can’t help but think ‘when will this stop?’. I don’t believe I’ve fully accepted the fact that I have to live with this condition. I don’t want it. I’m sure you don’t either.

Continuing to fight

I believe that all the trials we face in this life are best handled with discipline, self-awareness and compassion. This is a tall order, my friends. Because we don’t exist in a vacuum, we are constantly tested by life. This is when it most difficult to remain true to the difficult path of recovery. I will keep trying and I hope that one day, IBS is an afterthought and not so much a part of my general existence. I’m frustrated and I bet a lot of you are, too. I look forward to continuing to fight and share my thoughts and experiences with you.

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