Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen
Last updated: August 2022
Well, here we are, the New Year is firmly beneath our feet and our resolutions are in the wind… I kid, I kid. I’m sure there are many of you for whom the resolutions are bearing fruit and that you are doing quite well. I offer hearty congratulations to you and yours. For the lot of us who are struggling in the New Year, let me offer a word of support, as believe me, I am struggling right there beside you. There is a way back and I’m hoping by saying the (or writing in this case) words out loud, it will help both you and me with our current troubles, whatever they might be.
I’m going to SHARE again… My brand of IBS does not react well to stress. Does yours? As has been mentioned before, I work with people with mental health and substance abuse problems. I am the type that everything that comes out of my mouth is from the mind. I think, I assess the situation, take care to acknowledge my audience and then I speak… very, very carefully. My actions are the complete opposite. I am ruled by emotion and my actions are the direct result or consequence of how I FEEL about a particular situation. Finding a balance between the intellect and the emotional being is a difficult line for me. I very often understand what the correct course of action is, but completely ignore that and go on autopilot. Now autopilot is not always bad. It can mean that you trust yourself, that you are confident and that you have it together enough that you don’t have to check the manual every time you make a right turn. Autopilot can be very damaging though. I have the tendency to live inside myself, not letting the world in. Excessive internalization creates stress and anxiety in a variety of forms. Well, needless to say, my autopilot routine has gotten me sick again and I have missed work because of it… again. This is six times in six months where I have missed multiple days of work because of my stomach troubles. I feel frustrated, and honestly, I have become a bit unraveled. I feel as though nothing will change, that I am hardwired to live this way, driven by stress and ending with a bout of stomach trouble. Am I strong enough to change? I surely hope so.
The key word here is HOPE. I said ‘I hope so’. I didn’t say ‘I know I can’ simply because I don’t KNOW anything. Some people believe in the power of positive thinking. If that uncompromising ‘I KNOW I CAN’ works for you, then I am glad you have found a method of coping that works for you. I don’t use the word HOPE lightly. There have been times in my life where I have been without hope, so I feel I know the true meaning of the word. ‘I hope I can’ indicates to me that there is hope. As long as you can muster just the seed of hope, the belief that things can change for the better, you are on the right path. Hope is what drives us on and without hope all is lost.
When I am sick, I have no energy and I feel out of control. Couple that with the anxiety and stress issues and you have quite the mountain to climb. So, I begin with one day at a time and a list. A list of what I need to do to get better and stay better for as long as I can. I WILL return to my GI doc to talk about my medication. I need to be more clear about my mental health issues when I go so that I receive the appropriate treatment. THIS IS ON MY LIST. We need to be very specific, all details of importance should go on the list. I WILL stop drinking coffee. I WILL reduce or stop smoking cigarettes. I WILL PUT MYSELF BEFORE MY JOB. This is the most important thing for me at this point. If I don’t support myself, I will be in no shape to support anyone else and this is very, very important to me.
Our struggles with IBS and stress are ongoing and exhausting. During this time of trouble, I take time every day to reflect on what I want from my life and what it will take to achieve my goals. One day at a time, one moment, then two. I have hope for the New Year and I HOPE you do too.
Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or IBS-Mixed/Alternating?