I never shared my struggle with IBS with even my closest friends until the last few years. I am sure I am not alone in this. I feel we tend to seclude ourselves while trying to get past the bad days. In reality, I have slowly begun to realize that sharing with my close friends and family what I am going through has been a major help.
Having someone to talk to about IBS
Bringing up issues with your gut to friends and family can seem daunting especially when they don’t have stomach problems. It’s scary to think about and I know I have always worried about what they would think. I have spent most of my life just smiling and pretending I am okay. This year I realized finally it’s okay to not be okay.
Coming to that realization has made a world of difference to me. Being able to have someone to talk to and vent my frustration about my journey with IBS-D has helped me more than anything I have tried before. I have always been more of the “suffer in silence” type of person. I am trying to work on that more all the time.
Having people who now know what I am going through has drastically helped with my stress level. Who knew just calling up your sister or friend and telling them what you are going through could help so much? I know I didn’t know. It’s embarrassing and makes me feel vulnerable. Two things I hate.
Sharing experiences helps
It’s not so bad though. Talking to someone and saying something like I knew better than to eat this or that and now this is what I am dealing with does help. It makes the difference I never knew I needed. Just taking the time to talk to someone and having a listening ear, even though they may not relate or understand truly does make me feel not so alone.
Finding support groups has also helped me out. Seeing that you aren’t alone and there are others feeling exactly how you feel is awesome. I hate knowing so many people are suffering like I am but it does help to have someone to talk to who just gets it. To talk to them and share your experiences of what does and doesn’t work not only helps you to feel better but it can help someone else too. Remember what works for someone may not help you and vice versa BUT what if it does help?
It can be scary. I know it is for me every day wondering what today will bring with my IBS. Trying to plan things around my IBS makes life hard but not impossible. As much as it feels that way, and some days I still feel like throwing my hands up. It is hard to keep your hopes up. I know it is for me. Just don’t give up and know that you are not alone. Have you found it hard to share your struggle with IBS with your family or friends?
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?