IBS During the Pandemic
Before COVID-19, regular, everyday life, going out to the public spaces with IBS was stressful enough. Am I in an area where I can safely make it to a toilet if need be? If I am in a public area with a toilet, is it a one-person washroom or a multiple-stalls washroom (ie, how much of someone else's time will I be taking up if I have a bad time on the toilet)? If it is a one-person washroom, will I make it? How much of my own time will I be taking up when, if I am out somewhere in public, I'm presumably trying to have fun but I could've just been in the privacy of my own home in pain instead?
In COVID-19 pandemic time, when I have spent most of the time at home, it has overall been easier to manage my IBS appropriately. However, for all the good that comes from staying at home most of the time, there is bigger stress when leaving the house to run errands or social distantly see friends or drive between cities (when necessary to check on my apartment in a different city than my hometown) because I don't know when I will get the next chance to use the washroom. I also don't feel comfortable using the washroom in a public space in the current health crisis, no matter how clean they've advertised it to be.
It is embarrassing enough to sit in a mall's, or other public indoor space, multiple-stall washroom, and know people can hear you using the toilet and are aware of how long you're taking. But the idea of having no washroom available is so much worse. It would be much more embarrassing not to be able to make it to the washroom at all, which is why it is currently hard to feel comfortable leaving the house for several hours.
This means that even if I go out to a restaurant patio (as is allowed in my province in Canada currently), I hope and pray that I'll be able to make it home to use the washroom rather than further risk contracting COVID-19.
The few long drives between cities I have done have been stressful, especially at the beginning when nothing was open. I have successfully managed to make it from my hometown to my apartment in another city so far without issue. However, there is always the chance of eating or drinking one wrong thing that will cause discomfort and urgency that I will not be able to relieve on long drives.
For people without IBS, not being able to go to the washroom for a long period of time because they don't have access to a washroom is bad enough, but for those of us with IBS, it is excruciating if we are in pain, on top of already needing to use the toilet.
How COVID-19 and IBS have changed my socializing habits
I feel as long as this goes on, I will be less likely to spend time with my friends if the activity involves not being near a washroom. Although I am generally a person who likes to be out and about, socializing and the like, the pandemic has definitely made me more reclusive and having IBS alongside that has only fuelled that fire.
IBS causes enough stress on its own and this pandemic certainly isn't helping that!
Do you think there is enough awareness of IBS?