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IBS: Lost Opportunities

I was recently posed the question, ‘Have I ever lost life opportunities due to my challenges with IBS?’ The answer is unequivocal: YES. IBS has caused me more problems than I can count over the last few years, both personally and professionally, and I consider the difficulties there to be directly related to the physical problems. IBS does not live in a vacuum. If we were left with all the time and peace in the world to manage the illness, eat right, exercise and deal with our mental health, we might be an awful lot better off than we are right now. The fact of the matter is that IBS doesn’t really care about our hopes, dreams or aspirations. It just kinda does what it wants. I’d like to share how IBS has made certain things I really wanted to do seem impossible.

Lost opportunities: work

Let’s start with an easy one. IBS often makes me late to work in the morning. Not very late, because I have mentioned in previous articles that I have developed a really good morning routine to offset the time loss caused by IBS related morning issues. That said, this ‘system’ is not full proof and I do end up 7-10 minutes late most days for one reason or the other (I need to shower three times, I ran out of toilet paper or other personal products, I’m exhausted from my morning bout and I forget where my keys, wallet and phone are). You get the picture. I’m not even talking about the amount of time I’ve missed work on bad tummy days. Well, this doesn’t really put me on the top of the heap at work, does it?  It doesn’t matter that I do a good job, that I’m dedicated, hard working and have a very stressful job. When it comes to opportunities, the person that doesn’t miss work or is never late will end up getting the opportunity regardless of whether or not they are better for the job than me. Fair? Probably not, but this is how the world of employment works. Can’t really fight the Man.

Lost opportunities: relationships

For the first while after I was diagnosed, I struggled with extreme low self-esteem and I had the constant thought that I was at the very least unattractive, and at the most, truly disgusting. When you go through all the bathroom issues we have to endure it certainly takes a significant toll on our ability to believe in our own attractiveness and sex appeal. Once again, I had to work through all this with a therapist and develop a game plan to help regain a certain sense of confidence and self-esteem, because, let’s face it, IBS is not sexy. Truth is though, is that we are. We are beautiful, attractive, funny, interesting wonderful people that struggle with a particularly nasty illness. We wonder if there is anyone out there who could love us/want us with what we’ve got going on. A lot of that is what we call catastrophizing in the world of psychology. Taking a problem, analyzing it (in the negative) and making all kinds of assumptions about what the end result will be. Not a healthy thing to do, especially because, most of the time we are wrong. That all said, I still struggle asking girls out for dates and feeling as secure as I once did. It takes a lot of work. It takes getting your body as healthy as you can and accepting yourself for the wonderful person you are.

Like I said, the difficulties IBS causes is not restricted to our bathroom habits. It permeates our whole life. It comes back to taking control of your own life and simply trying to do something positive for yourself and your health each and every day.

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.


  • ldonne
    6 months ago

    Hi tmholland,
    I can completely relate to you about being late on so many occasions for work. I think there should be accommodations in the workplace for people who struggle with a chronic illness.

  • tmholland moderator author
    6 months ago

    Hi Idonne,

    Thank you for your supportive words. I’m a great believer in this website because it helps connect so many of us that experience the same types of struggles and challenges. Hope you are well today.


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