Doing My Part in Raising IBS Awareness
April is IBS Awareness Month and I am more than happy to do my part in raising awareness any way that I can. I have lived with IBS for over nine years now and for the first half of those years, I was on a very dark road that felt like was never going to end. My purpose for raising awareness is because I don’t want anyone else who suffers from IBS to have to experience such a lonely and depressing path. I want anyone with IBS, or any invisible illness, to feel like they are not alone, and they can be open about what they experience.
Didn't know how to open up
The first few years of living with IBS were very hard times for me because I didn’t know how to be open about my condition or how to function in society with it. For instance, it was hard for me to hang out with family or friends because I didn’t feel like dealing with pain in public. Also, I couldn’t sustain a job long enough to have good tenure since my IBS made it difficult to be productive and maintain an acceptable attendance rate. One day, I finally got fed up of my condition taking over my life and decided to open up about how my IBS affects me on a YouTube video called Living with IBS (The Realest Rant Ever). Let’s just say I use some colorful words to describe how IBS affects me on a daily basis in this video. Nonetheless, it has gained over 10,000 views so far and much engagement from many others around the world who deal with IBS as well. It’s that continuous engagement from people who resonate with my story that motivates me to raise awareness and be an IBS Patient Advocate.
How I raise IBS awareness
There are two main ways that I contribute to the IBS community as a Patient Advocate. For one, I post weekly videos on my YouTube channel, formerly called Positive vIBS, but now called Positive vIBS Tribe. And the other is by also creating IBS content for this wonderful platform, known as IrritableBowelSyndrome.net. On this site and on my YouTube channel, I share my stories, tips, and advice on how to be positive while living with IBS (because many of us know that it can be pretty depressing living with this condition). However, on my YouTube channel, I tend to be much more creative through humorous sketches and family vlogs which show a different point of view of dealing with IBS. My hope is that my content on any platform can bring smiles to the faces of those who are struggling with their pain.
Many ways to raise IBS awareness
I believe there are many different ways to raise awareness. The most common way is by going out to give public speeches at venues or events that matter. Another way is by utilizing the social media space to educate strangers who know nothing about the condition you’re suffering from or connecting with those who also suffer from the same condition and building a community of supporters. I like the latter most because I get to raise awareness and connect with people all around the world who truly understand while managing my symptoms from the comfort of my own home at the same time.
How do any of you feel about raising awareness for IBS? Do you feel it’s important? Do you see yourself becoming a Patient Advocate one day? In fact, I would like to learn of new ways to be more active in raising awareness for IBS, so please free to give any suggestions as to how someone like me could be more involved. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my article and I look forward to seeing your responses!
Do you have a good understanding of what triggers your flares?