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Solving the Problem

When I have a problem, I want to solve it. I want to understand it, fix it, make it go away and make sure that it doesn’t come back. I think this is a relatively natural response to something unpleasant or confusing. The PROBLEM with IBS is there is no way to solve it. You can find ways to reduce your symptoms, help yourself into periods of flare-free living and learn to manage it; but you cannot solve it.

Every person with IBS is different

One person’s IBS is different from another person’s. IBS will change how it behaves based on any number of triggers, changes in diet and physiology. The point I’m trying to make is that I think that when you have to deal with a problem as painful and life-altering as IBS, we tend to want to solve the problem. The solving can become consuming and unhealthy and may create stress that not only doesn’t heal the IBS but exacerbates it. I know this from personal experience. Allow me to share.

Life before IBS

Before IBS (yes, there was a before) my main struggle was with mental illness. Without going into the nitty-gritty, anxiety and depression were my main issues. I spent years (literally) trying to understand where these problems came from. Why did this happen to me? What have I done wrong? How do I fix this? You get the point. I read everything I could and talked with many doctors and therapists trying to find the right fit for me. Just as we do with IBS. While this line of action and thinking is good and will ultimately help you manage your illness, there is such a thing as too much when learning to feel better.

Through my obsession with ‘unraveling the ball’, I became consumed by the search and it honestly ended up causing more harm than good. I was not seeing the forest for the trees. I was looking at each tree, trying to understand how it fits into the overall picture and how to destroy it. You will end up driving yourself nuts with this approach. I think this is why some people warn that too much detail-oriented journaling can be detrimental, as you end up seeing all of the pain in great detail and miss some of the bigger pictures. The good days, the people in your life that matter, healthy days…or at least healthier. These things are very important in maintaining your overall wellness and may very well ease some of the pain the illness brings.

Learning how to relax helped me cope with IBS

When I learned to relax and became mindful of my successes and failures and not the how’s and the why’s, I started to make more progress. I continue to make progress and I continue to have setbacks. This is simply the nature of illnesses that cannot be cured. I don’t want to give advice or tell you to ‘Keep going, you’ll make it!’. I want us to be conscious of the reality of the situation and not get hung up on all the whats, ifs and whys. Thank you for listening.

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