I Have No Choice But to Keep Pushing (No Pun Intended)
Pushing – in almost every sense of the word, has become a big part of my life ever since I got irritable bowel syndrome. I push myself daily to do many things, like exercise or go for a walk, even though I may feel extremely fatigued. I push myself to be positive during times I just want to be miserable, because any form of stress can exasperate my symptoms. And, of course, I push while I’m on the porcelain throne to relieve myself of intense stomach pain, or else the pain will be sitting there making it more difficult for me to function in life. The extreme lack of energy I feel many times can be very discouraging, but I feel I have no choice but to keep pushing forward for the sake of my health, my family, and my future.
Working through the fatigue of IBS
There are many days when I feel so fatigued that I find it hard to do the simplest things, such as getting up from the couch to turn off a light switch or to even throw something away in the trash. Heck, sometimes even making a phone call can feel burdensome to me. So, imagine trying to exercise with this lack of energy. It’s mind-boggling to me that I am a young, 32-year-old man with chronic fatigue issues, and it’s mainly related to my IBS.
Nonetheless, I must admit that willpower is an interesting and powerful skill to have. I find that with willpower I can summon up energy that wasn’t there before and encourage myself to be physically active for a short time period. Where does this willpower come from? Well, I think about my wife who deserves a husband and man to be her protector. I want my wife to not only feel safe in my arms but also feel reassured that everything is going to be ok no matter what. Then, I think about my son who deserves a dad who is physically active and capable of playing with him. I want to be able to teach my son how to ride a bike and how to play basketball. In order to do those things, I have to push myself to exercise regularly and lead a healthy lifestyle, despite how fatigued or in pain I feel.
Coping with the depression of IBS
There are other days when I get very depressed about my condition and circumstances. For instance, there are many times when I think about the career I could’ve had or the money I would be making versus what I’m making now if I didn’t have to live with this debilitating condition. At times, I also think about the places I could have gone, such as other countries or music festivals, but chose not to for the sake of not having to experience any IBS attacks on a long plane ride or in public. I literally miss out on life sometimes, and it’s hard to bear the reality.
But then, perspective is another interesting skill to master during times like these. You see, when I’m miserable, it’s usually because I’m thinking about the things I don’t have and or could have done in my life. But, on the contrary, when I am happy, it is usually because of the things that I do have and am able to experience regardless of my pain. For instance, I have my family who brings me constant joy. I think about the times I get to spend with my son and seeing his smile every single day. And I feel the exact same with my wife. When my wife smiles at me, it fills me with such enthusiasm and excitement to be able to see that same smile the next day. Next thing you know, I start to feel rich with love and optimism, and I hardly have to push myself in those moments.
All in all, living with this condition can be debilitating, depressing, and hard to bear, all at once. Sometimes it takes willpower to do things we don’t always want to do but should do. Other times, it takes perspective to visualize our circumstances in a brighter way so that it becomes easier to push ourselves to be happier regardless of our condition. Most importantly, we must continue to keep pushing in all areas of our lives so that we can gain some fulfillment while we are here on this earth.
Do you have a good understanding of what triggers your flares?