Perspective Is A Wonderful Thing

I hate having IBS – always have and, most likely, always will. The pain, the toilet runs, the bloating, the gas. How it affects my life and puts limits on the things I can and can’t do. The way it only gets better if I don’t do (or eat) some of my favorite things. How it’s going to be here to stay, unless they come up with a cure, which I don’t expect soon.

The bad bits

Living with something like that, which imposes on most aspects of your life, totally sucks. Knowing that you’re always going to be either suffering or giving something up is frustrating. And there are some days when I don’t want to get out of bed and wish that the world would go away and leave me alone.

But I have my good days too. And on those days, when I barely notice the IBS, life seems normal. That is, until I remember that IBS isn’t affecting me because of the very controlled choices that I’m making. Some days I don’t notice this too much, especially when I’m at home where most things are IBS-friendly. But then there are days that I notice it a lot, particularly when I’m eating out and lacking control over my choices.

The flipside

Still, no matter how bad the IBS gets, I often remind myself that it could be worse. Here’s the things that bring me perspective.

Firstly, no matter how much pain the IBS causes, it’s not actually damaging my body. That’s the funny thing about IBS. The change in how the gut functions causes all the havoc, but there’s no actual pathology there. Not like inflammatory bowel disease where the pain is in response to the gut being damaged. I do however sometimes think it’s damaging my mind, because it can seriously do my head in. But so far I’ve been able to fix those bits of ‘damage’ with counseling.

Secondly, IBS is not a terminal illness. This goes back to the ‘no damage’ concept – if there’s no damage happening, it can’t actually kill you. Not like cancer that has a terminal diagnosis, or other conditions that will have serious problems down the track. Sure, the IBS isn’t going anywhere so it’s a lifetime diagnosis, but not a life-ending one.

Thirdly, IBS doesn’t cause complete loss of function to any part of my body. Even though the gut and nervous system aren’t functioning quite right, they’re still functioning well enough and getting the job done. I’m still able to digest food, I’m still able to feel sensations in my belly (too many, of course), and I can still eat a meal.

Lastly, although I do have some very bad days with the IBS, most of the time I can still function quite well, when my management strategies are in place. Maybe I can’t do everything that I want to, but I’m not permanently stuck in a room, nor am I in a vegetative state. I can still work, although I find it easier to work from home. And I can still get out and see friends and family, even though some limits exist.

It’s a work in progress

I can’t say that I can always keep things in perspective. But when I can, I realize that as miserable as IBS can be, I could be afflicted with something worse. It doesn’t make the frustrations all disappear, but it does lessen their impact. Perspective is indeed a wonderful thing.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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