Losing Someone You Love (When You are Sick)

Last updated: August 2017

Losing someone that you love can come in a variety of forms. You may lose you your significant other through divorce or breakup. Someone may pass away. Kids go off to school and into their adult lives. Even though these things are all a part of life, the natural tendency is to try to ease the pain of the loss. Loss hurts and hurts more when you already don’t feel well due to illness (like IBS, depression and anxiety, etc.). While the idea to help yourself feel better is a great idea, unfortunately, many of us turn to unhealthy behaviors to try to deal with the loss. The important point to recognize is that many of these unhealthy behaviors will end up taking a significant toll on our bodies, minds and ultimately our ability to healthfully deal with whatever type of loss we are dealing with. We need to be healthy to process pain in a constructive way. As uncomfortable and overwhelming as it might seem.

How to keep up with IBS management when dealing with grief and loss?

When we lose someone close to us, we often feel as though there has been a part of us that has been torn away. A sort of hole is left and we feel an innate urge to fill that void. Because we are emotionally weakened by the loss, we feel as though we do not have the strength or drive to self-soothe in a healthy way. When we are sad or depressed, we don’t want to keep up the diet. We may want to eat ‘comfort food’, like cookies, cakes or pizza. When we don’t feel well and feel lost, we don’t want to worry about our coffee consumption, smoking or alcohol intake. WE JUST WANT TO FEEL BETTER. So, depending on the thing that YOU think will make you feel better, we may have quite a problem on our hands. Everything I just mentioned (and many more things) will cause our IBS and stomach issues to become worse. We all know what worse means with regards to IBS, right? Ok, so now we are sad, lonely, depressed and sick… How does that sound? Right… not good.

Now, we are all human. We may go to the pizza, the cigarettes, the alcohol. We may throw our IBS diet out the window. Just because you may go that direction in the initial stages of the loss does not mean that it need continue. Realizing that the healthiest you will be able to handle the stress of pain in your life is a very important first step. Grief and loss take a long time to deal with. Take it one moment at a time and make the changes you can to help yourself along. No shame for mistakes. Just accept each day as it comes and realize that things may really suck for a while. Acceptance is key. Take a moment and ask yourself what REALLY will help you feel better during this time. YOU are the most important person in the world right now. Treat yourself that way and take as much time as you need. Learn to love yourself…it’s ok. Really.

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