Stress and Fear of New Environments
Last updated: January 2019
One commonality amongst many of us who suffer from IBS is that we often experience anxiety in uncomfortable circumstances and new environments. For example, I know that many of us get intense anxiety when we attend job interviews because we’re afraid our condition won’t allow us to perform well enough to get the job. I personally would get very nervous when I would interview for a new job, especially because I was tired of going from one workplace to the next due to my IBS. When I would go in for an interview, I remember being afraid to admit that I had a chronic illness because I didn’t want the people interviewing me to think that I wouldn’t be capable of handling the requirements of the job.
And if/when I would get the job, I would hardly tell my coworkers about my condition because I would automatically feel like they would judge me and not understand my embarrassing struggle. The anxiety of dealing with a condition that is so private while worrying about doing a “good job” would cause major flare ups for me. I began noticing that during times of being in uncomfortable situations or new environments, my IBS symptoms become much more frequent and painful. Eventually, I knew I needed to figure out how to manage my anxiety in these situations because it would trigger my IBS symptoms so badly.
Being forced into an uncomfortable circumstance or new environment is something that we can’t (and shouldn’t want to) avoid for the rest of our lives. Sometimes trying something new or even meeting new people can work out very well for us in the long run. Therefore, it’s important not to run away from these experiences because right now they trigger our IBS symptoms. With that being said, when your symptoms are triggered by how you feel at the moment, you must figure out a way to create and welcome an environment that will make you feel good. There’s no better remedy for anxiety than feeling a sense of security and happiness. For instance, you can start working on your dream career or passion today, even if you haven’t started yet. Having something positive and motivating to look forward to every day has helped alleviate so much anxiety for me. Most days, I wake up excited about the work I have to do, checking my blogs and social media for new comments and thinking of new creative content for my subscribers. Even though I am still in pain and I will still experience pain, the excitement and motivation to live my dream as a content creator keeps me going.
Although working in my dream environment (at home) has done wonders for my anxiety, it doesn’t mean I no longer have limitations, which was difficult for me to accept at first. It was so hard for me to imagine myself, a late-20-something year old man, having to move around with such carefulness just so that I wouldn’t overstress my body or trigger my symptoms. When I was younger, I was very physically-active, which made me believe I would be that way forever and would always get over any sickness or pain I ever had to deal with. However, now I tend to be even more careful of not to stress myself too much with excessive physical activity, which I find unfortunate, but manageable if I plan accordingly.
Do any of you ever struggle with stress and fear of new environments or circumstances due to your IBS? Please feel free to comment below. Thank you for taking the time to read and I look forward to reading your answers.
Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or IBS-Mixed/Alternating?