Because of my IBS, I hardly leave my house. In fact, I hardly even call anyone on the phone anymore, including my parents, because all I have to talk about (or want to talk about) is how bad the pain gets. I know this sounds horrible of me, but again, this is me venting and keeping it real with my IrritableBowelSyndrome.net community. I do feel guilty though, for not being mentally and physically healthy enough, or just plain happy enough, to see or talk to my family and friends as much as I would like. I feel guilty because I want to try harder in keeping consistent communication, but my IBS and depression somehow stops me from doing that. Which leads me to this question: am I just using these as excuses?
Travel and fear of a flare-up
Well, the other day I went to go visit my parents. I live about 45 minutes away from them, and the anxiety of having to drive that far and the possibility of suffering through a horrible flare-up makes the experience hard every time. I wish I could control it, but no matter how far in advance I mentally prepare myself for the trip, my anxiety while leaving the house and driving in the car never fails. Nonetheless, I do what it takes because I miss my parents and when I don’t see them after a while, I feel we’re missing out on quality family time and communication starts to fail.
Finally, I get there and after some time of catching up over food, my mother tells me a story about when she went to church recently and had a conversation with the priest about me, in regard to my health. She then told me that she showed the priest one of my YouTube videos. If you’ve watched my YouTube videos, it’s not something you would show a devout person, let alone a priest. Man, I got so embarrassed that she did that, but I didn’t hold it against her because she claimed she wanted to show him how proud she was of me. I started to feel a bit happy because it was the first time in a long time my mother had ever said she was proud of me.
She continued with her story about the priest asking her questions about what I do for work and what exactly it is I suffer from. She couldn’t even remember the name of my condition or how serious it was, so she downplayed it to just “constipation”. On the outside looking in, you guys might not think much of this but there’s so much history behind this story and, honestly, I couldn’t have been more upset with my mom. The number of times I have tried to explain to my mom, let alone to both my parents, what it is I suffer from and how it affects my quality of life, is more than enough for her to have stuck it in her head by now. Needless to say, I tried explaining it to her once again, and I couldn’t even get out more than two sentences without her switching the topic.
My parents told me it was all in my head
I can’t help but to think that if my mom truly cared about what it is I go through and do for work, all she had to do is go on the internet, watch a few videos, and read my articles. That was my sole purpose for creating a YouTube channel in the first place, so that if I couldn’t find the words to express myself to their faces, then I would find a way for them understand through my videos/articles. At this point, I started to ask myself, what was the purpose of her showing the priest my videos if she had no idea what they’re even about?
My parents were one of the first people to tell me what I was I dealing with was all in my head. There is a number of arguments I remember having with them because every time I would call out of work sick they thought I was either making up an excuse or just being lazy. I don’t want to bash my parents and depict them to be unsupportive or indifferent, because that’s far from what they are. However, for some reason, when it comes to this issue of me having IBS, they find it hard to face or accept. Am I missing something as their son? Do they not like seeing me suffer so much that they choose to avoid the conversation altogether? Am I the one that’s misunderstanding?
Once again, if you have read this far, thank you for allowing me to vent.
Disclaimer: I wanted to vent about this topic because I know that some of you might be able to relate. I realize some of you might think this is a conversation I need to either have with my parents or a therapist. Trust me, I’ve tried both. MANY TIMES. I’m aware of my words and I’m willing to face the consequences for any pain or confusion this article may bring. Let’s just say I don’t love my parents any less because of their misunderstanding about what it is I suffer from. This clearly should go without saying but my love for them is unconditional. In fact, this experience has only made me stronger and more determined to bring awareness to IBS, whether they realize how serious it is or not.