Stressing Times with IBS, Part 2

(Looking for Part 1?) Fast forward a few years, into the middle of a pandemic, I left the job that I had loved so much (I delved into this more in my last few articles), moved back home to Tennessee and began working from home. Working through a COVID pandemic in a COVID clinic just wasn’t feasible for me. I felt like I was completely falling apart physically and mentally. Moving and working from home did help. Having my family close made a big difference. Things settled down and I got into a good routine. Things finally started to feel like they were falling into place.

Excitement for the future followed by loss

January 2021 came and I was really excited for a new year. We were hearing talks about a COVID vaccine being made available really soon. This was really exciting for us. It would give us the chance to travel and see our loved ones more often. Then I got a call I pray no one else ever gets. My fiancé called, asked if I was sitting, then told me one of my best friends (his aunt) passed away. Dani was the light in a dark room. Her laugh could make anyone smile. She got me through my dad's passing.

Friendship support for stress

Losing Dani showed me just how much stress and grief really do play a part in managing my IBS. I made all the changes, moved, changed my job, and did all I knew to do to live stress-free. We all expect to lose our parents before us. Not that it doesn’t hurt or it doesn’t affect you but losing a best friend -for me- it felt like my heart was ripped out. No matter how little I ate, and let's face it, for days it was next to nothing, I felt as if I was in a permanent flare-up.

Reflecting on the loss of my friend

Dani was what we lovingly called the center of our friend group. She brought a group of ladies who would have never met otherwise together. Dani helped all of us in so many ways. She helped me through the hardest parts, getting a diagnosis. She pushed me to eat right and do what I needed to get better. Dani, as much as she hated to see me leave Illinois, knew coming back to Tennessee was what I needed and she was the one to help me see it.

Here I am now, 5 months from losing one of my dearest friends, I am starting to see that all the changes I have made definitely helped me get through the hardest parts. There is no way to get away from grief or unexpected stress but YOU control how you react to it. Ten years ago if I would have gone through this I would have gone into a downward spiral with no consideration on how it would affect my IBS. I wouldn’t have cared about my gut, only the moment and how I felt.

As hard as things get always know you have lived through all of your hardest days. Does grief set off your IBS as well?

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