Don’t Be Afraid To Admit You Need Help
Last updated: August 2017
IBS is a very challenging condition to deal with because it affects you both physically and mentally. When things are going well, everything is good. But when things aren’t going well, it’s like your entire life is falling apart.
Why it can feel hard to ask for help
Even though digestive processes are a natural function that’s essential for us to extract energy from food, talking about bowel habits is still considered taboo. But if you aren’t talking about your unusual bowel habits, gas, bloating, and other issues, then you don’t always know how bad things are and how much help you need. It also means that you can’t get the help you need since no one knows about it.
But even after you get past the first hurdle of seeking help for your IBS, you then have to deal with the challenge that comes from living with a chronic condition. When people first hear about what’s going on in your life, there will be sympathy and a desire to help you to feel better. But after you’ve been speaking about the same stuff for months or years, you can end up feeling like all you do is complain. And no one wants to be seen as a complainer, which can lead you to silencing your daily challenges and internalizing the pain.
There are consequences for not seeking help
When you don’t seek help, you’re left to your own devices to try and work it out for yourself. Sometimes you’ll get lucky, but most of the time you’ll miss a critical factor that you need to truly manage your IBS effectively. And when that happens, you can be stuck in that boat of feeling like you’re forever complaining about the same stuff from day to day.
The other consequence of not seeking help is that you can become overwhelmed mentally because you can’t see a way out of your daily challenges. For some people, this presents as anxiety, making them afraid of how their symptoms will present each day and how it will affect their life. For others, it presents as depression, making them very despondent about ever being able to lead a normal life again and wondering what the point of their ongoing suffering is. And for the really unlucky ones, both anxiety and depression set in, making life incredibly challenging.
But when you seek help, it does get easier
IBS is a medical condition and it needs to be treated as the physical condition that it is, removing as many triggers as possible to stop symptoms from flaring up. For some people, dealing with the physical challenges of IBS will be enough to get their mental health stable again. But for others, the mental challenges need to be treated separately.
And the mental impact of an ongoing condition like IBS shouldn’t be underestimated. In fact, for some people, they can only get their IBS under control by first dealing with the mental challenges so that their mind is free to make the necessary choices that will let them deal with the physical aspects of IBS.
Most importantly, this is what I want you to know…
If you need help dealing with the mental challenges of your IBS, it doesn’t mean that you’re weak. Many other people with IBS struggle with the day to day challenges too. So please, if you’re not coping, talk to your doctor and see if counseling may be helpful for you.
When it all got too much for me, I did just that. And the counseling I received was one of the best things I could have done for my IBS and my life.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?