I Think I’m Just Not Going to Eat

It’s a simple solution right. My new IBS diet will be NOTHING. There are all these things we can’t eat or drink because it will make our IBS unbearable. Some of the diets and changes you need to make seem complicated or unwanted. The healthy food seems a lot more expensive than the old microwave meatballs you used to eat. Most importantly, when we do eat or drink the wrong thing a couple of really bad things happen. You get sick, you are ashamed because you knew you shouldn’t have eaten that, you are resentful that you are ‘not allowed’ to eat that, you are embarrassed because of some of the symptoms you have to deal with around family, friend, co-workers and others. You become AFRAID to eat. I think when we suffer with IBS, we all have this feeling to some degree or other. I will say, that after my diagnosis, I did develop an unreasonable fear of the grocery store and of meals. Let’s look at this problem a little deeper.

Fear

I think that IBS causes a lot of negative emotional feelings right off the bat. You realize that you are going to have manage a disorder that causes multiple kinds of ‘bathroom’ problems. ‘Bathroom Problems’ are a societal taboo. No one wants to talk about them because they are unseemly, crude and just plain gross. Now…you are told that you are probably going to have to deal with these things for the rest of your life. Well, thank you very much, I appreciate the news. We all immediately go online and see what we can do about this issue. Oftentimes, even though there is a ton of information and dietary tips (like on this website), it can seem overwhelming and discouraging. It becomes more discouraging when you finally do try a particular diet or exercise program and your IBS symptoms remain the same; or get worse. What do your do then? Basically, you become fixated on the idea that if you don’t do something about this problem, you will be suffering, very often. The more thought, the more stress, the more anxiety and ultimately, this builds fear. Fear of eating and drinking in this case. This is an awful thing to worry about.

‘You are what you eat’

I’m not one to throw around cliché’s, but this one is pretty good. Don’t be afraid, just realize it may take some trial and error. Most of the time when you try something new it won’t make the IBS worse, it just may not be the miracle cure. It’s about trial and error, confidence in yourself and resiliency. Just keep working on it and try not to set you expectations too high. The other thing to realize is that IBS seems to have a mind of it’s own sometimes. You may be doing everything ‘right’ but the IBS will hit you hard anyway. We can only do our best. If the fear becomes too much or you find you can’t let it go, reach out for some help. My therapist has been one of the most important parts of my IBS support system and was very helpful during my ‘fear phase.’ Don’t be afraid to ask for help, we shouldn’t have to do this alone.

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