Learning to Return to Society with IBS

Returning to the world after being at home for many months is challenging for several reasons. One of these reasons is learning to better manage my IBS when I must leave home. I had forgotten how hard it was to fast so often, and now it seems harder than ever.

After throwing caution to the wind for so long, it is easy to forget all the little things I did to prevent accidents. Now I am trying to readjust, and what was once routine is anything but. It feels like I am learning to manage my IBS all over again at times.

A change in routine ruins a routine

I had an appointment this week, and it was the first appointment I have had in quite some time. The thought of leaving home was unnerving after being locked away in the safety of my home. While I could blame my mistake on anxiety, part of it was not being used to the old routine. I forgot something very important.

Usually, when I must leave the house, I eat safe foods the day before and fast the entire day until I return home again. I forgot to stick to safe foods until it was too late. After I had eaten dinner, I realized my mistake. Even worse, I had Mexican for dinner and it contained many foods that trigger a flare.

My vacation from fasting is ending

Thankfully, it turned out okay. I was terrified I would start feeling the familiar cramping and burning while I was out and about, but I never did. I was lucky. My mistake could have ended in disaster. I was very lucky it did not. I worried all day, and as I worried I thought about how what was once routine was now an afterthought.

Unfortunately, the vacation I had from suffering through fasting to leave home has come to an end. I must now readjust. Part of readjusting means remembering the routine and making the precautions second nature again.

Symptoms never disappeared but fear did

Of course, I did not get a vacation from all the symptoms of IBS. The painful cramps, bloating, and numerous trips to the bathroom never stopped. Being home meant I could wear comfortable clothing all the time. I live in my pajamas at home. It also meant I was close to my own bathroom at all times.

I suffered through lots of pain, but I ate whatever I wanted. There were no rules to prevent public accidents. There was no fear of having to rush home or find a public restroom. I was able to throw caution to the wind and eat with abandon. Now that we have a bit of normalcy, the normal I had adapted to must go.

Returning to normal is hard

Trying to remember to fast more frequently is a big adjustment. It is harder to fast now as I have become accustomed to eating whatever I want at any time. Remembering not to eat is difficult, and not eating for even short periods of time feels like torture.

While many are happy we are starting to return to normal, I am struggling with it. I am certain many of us with IBS are having this same issue. It feels like starting over in so many ways. How are you adjusting to these changes? How is the stress affecting your IBS symptoms?

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