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The New You

I fear change. Some folks embrace and some actually thrive on it. But, when it comes to changing what may seem like your entire way of life due to illness, I’m not sure that anyone gets through completely unscathed. IBS changes you in a way. I don’t mean that it changes your soul, your essence or anything deep like that, but it does change your life.

IBS affects your whole life

IBS affects many of our basic life functions. IBS affects what we eat, our relationships, our ability to be active, our finances/work and the list goes on. What can you do? What will you do? How do you react? HOW CAN I GET BACK TO BEING THE PERSON I USED TO BE? When faced with a life-altering illness it is easy to catastrophize and expect the worst. Bluntly, we may not get back to the ‘way we used to be’. But, isn’t that what life is about? I wish I could be 25 again. Not gonna happen. I need you to understand, I have not found an answer to this. I still cry because I have IBS sometimes. It’s terrible and frustrating. The most important thing that I have learned from IBS is the ability to adapt. What doesn’t bend breaks, right? So what does the NEW YOU look like?

Coping with IBS

Let’s do the positive thing first. By learning how your IBS operates (and this may take some time and many, many changes to your management approach), you will eventually come to a place of equilibrium with the illness. Not acceptance necessarily, but more of a ‘here we go again’ attitude. So, let’s take that a step further. Instead of looking at all the things you cannot eat, drink, DO. Look at what you can eat, drink and do. What is possible for you at this moment? This answer is complicated because of how IBS works. If it is a GOOD moment, then as long as you are doing what’s best for your wellness, take advantage of the IBS downtime and do something fun, treat yourself well, enjoy life while it is available to you. Because a week from now, you might have some BAD moments. For me, this is the most frustrating aspect of IBS. You get used to those hours where you feel fine and almost automatically, perhaps subconsciously, start to believe you are all better. Unfortunately, this is not the case. But what is the sense of spending your whole life in fear and wondering when it will come back? I did this for a very long time, walking on eggshells, being extreme with my diet and exercise, fighting a WAR. If you spend your whole life at war in a battle you cannot ultimately win, well then, what kind of life is that?

Introducing…the new you

So…the NEW YOU. The new you does new things, meets new people, alters their job maybe, alters their schedule. It sounds a lot like life to me. Even without IBS, just simply getting older, I have experienced much the same thing. It’s just that when you have a debilitating illness, the change becomes a bit more dramatic and disruptive. The necessity to embrace change then becomes more important. You have a right to be happy, whether you believe it or not sometimes. Be kind to yourself and see where the wind takes you. Good luck.

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.