Sometimes, when I’m home alone, I tend to have small episodes of depression mainly caused by my IBS. The lack of energy and the daily suffering of physical pain takes a serious toll on me. What used to be simple tasks prior to getting IBS are, at times, becoming difficult tasks. For instance, getting up from the bed to turn off the light switch, or getting a cup of water, or doing a few push ups, or even getting up to go to the bathroom is sometimes agonizing. It gets so bad at times that I would rather stay in my bedroom to pee in an empty plastic bottle that I drank water from the night before, instead of walking ten seconds down the hall, merely because it was easy for me to jump right back into bed (hey, just keeping it real folks). I cannot do any of these simple tasks without feeling uncomfortable physical pain, so it became very easy for me to get depressed because I couldn’t fathom why I had, and still have, to suffer on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, there are so many things in life that I should be happy about, but, for some reason, the depression does what it wants, when it wants.
One day when my wife was off from work, she witnessed one of my episodes and was surprised because it happened so randomly. We were talking about something positive, and next thing you know I started to cry out of nowhere. I work from home, so I’m used to being alone during the day, and that’s usually when my depressive episodes attack. Whenever I suffer alone, I find my thoughts to be of general insecurity and hopelessness, but this time with my wife, my thoughts were of insecurity about our marriage. I found myself thinking, ‘I do not want her to have to suffer through my misery with me… she deserves a healthier man.’ She started to ask me questions about what I was feeling and thinking about, but I just didn’t feel like trying to articulate what was going on in my head. Then all of a sudden I felt like I wanted to create an argument just so that she would like or love me less, and maybe even think about leaving me. And all she wanted to do was love and support me throughout the whole episode. Did I argue with her? No, because she didn’t deserve that. However, I was thinking about things that a married man shouldn’t have to worry about, but my IBS has diminished my self-esteem tremendously.
Over the past few years, my IBS has been detrimental to my physical and mental health. I sought clinical counselors and numerous GI specialists, and nothing was getting me on the right path. I had to drop out of college to take better care of myself. I have lost jobs and job opportunities because of it. I’ve missed out on important family get-togethers. I’ve lost chances to make new friends. I’ve missed occasions to surprise my wife and put a smile on her face. My IBS has really taken me down a dark road because of the things it has kept, and sometimes still keeps, me from doing. However, although I battle with depression due to my IBS and it may be uncontrollable sometimes, I still try my hardest to find the strength within. I would find things to aid me like Bob Marley’s music because his songs create positivity for me. I would light a scented candle in my office because I find that aromatherapy helps keep me calm. I would drink ginger tea because I find it soothing to my stomach. I would spend quality time with my wife because her presence brings me peace. I would do whatever I feel necessary to create happiness in my life because I understand that the balance between that and my depression keeps me sane and rational. I was raised a fighter, and I always knew that life was hard, so I keep that in mind every day that I struggle, and I give it my all.
By the way, if any of you IBS sufferers are also dealing with depression, just know that you are not alone. This website is the place where you can express your emotions to a crowd that will relate to you. So please, share your story.