Mental Health Matters
Last updated: December 2021
Something I feel doesn't get talked about enough is mental health and the effects IBS can have on it. For years I kept in everything. We didn't really talk about things in my family, so I kept everything inside and internalized everything growing up. Now, as an adult, I know this is a bad idea, and I am working hard on not continuing down this path.
Talking about IBS
Struggling with IBS is a mess in itself, literally and figuratively. For years I didn't talk to anyone about it because no one I knew had issues with IBS. I mean, do you just walk up to a friend or family member and ask how many times they poop a day? Feeling alone and isolating myself from others made my mental health go on a downward spiral that I didn't realize was happening for years.
It took my fiancé to find me crying in my bed when he came home from work to realize how I was feeling wasn't normal and wasn't something I was just going to get over. I had hit my lowest point mentally. I was spent and at rock bottom. I knew I needed help and finally was ready to ask for it.
Mental health stigma
There is such a stigma against taking medication for anxiety or depression, and honestly, there just shouldn't be. No two people are the same, and no two brains work the same way. I know a fantastic nurse practitioner explained it to me in the best way she could have. She said, "you take medication for your thyroid, right? It is something you can't see wrong with you. You can't eat the perfect diet or exercise enough to fix your thyroid."
This is how she made me realize just because I can't fix my anxiety and depression on my own doesn't mean I have to sit here and suffer in it. Sometimes some people's brains just work differently, and they have a hard time regulating themselves without help.
Mental health matters
Realizing that it is OK to take medication to feel normal has been life-changing for me. Not only am I not crying constantly, but I am also finally finding my voice to stand up for myself. I have slowly gained the ability to say no, to set boundaries in my life, and I am finally cutting the toxic people out.
I am finding myself. It's OK to need medication. It's also OK to find things that help you without the need for medication. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to mental health. A lot like IBS, what works for me may not work for you and vice versa.
Even when it comes to your own family, things aren't one-size-fits-all. What works for me doesn't work for my daughter, but she has found what helps keep her mental health in a good space. My fiancé does great without the need for medication and is in a good place mentally. Finding what works for you isn't always easy, but keep pushing through, and you will get there too.
Are you on a journey to better mental health? Have you found things to help keep you grounded and in a good headspace?
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?