I've had IBS-D for over 6 years. After desperately struggling for the first few years with little progress, at some point I basically just dropped out of life. Like many other sufferers, I became a homebody and withdrew from those activities which I'd once been happily involved in (school, work, cultural events, dating, travel, etc.). In the past 2 years however, my physical state, although still screwed up, has significantly improved. (For the record I believe this has been due to the right dosages of Imodium & Questran, Mike's Tapes, a supportive family, and just letting time pass.) On average, my symptoms aren't as debilitating and maddening as they used to be. I'm able to get out of the house, and take care of little errands and such without being totally worried the whole time. I've even made a few trips with my family, taking multi-hour car rides and I've been ok so far. I still have all the same problems I had before, but they aren't as intense or as constant. I have bad days to be sure, usually I get a few in a row, but they don't go on as long as they used to, and there are some stretches in between where I actually feel pretty decent. But the problem is, I'm psychologically and emotionally stuck! I want to get more involved in life, but every time I really start thinking about it I panic. It's like, I look back on how I used be before IBS, and I would just go out and do things without thinking about it, but now that I have IBS imprinted in my brain (and still in my body, albeit less severely), I can't do that anymore. I start worrying about the worst case scenario - getting caught in some social situation without access to a bathroom, having an accident. I worry about getting sick and relapsing. I worry about making committments and having to break them, letting people down. I worry about getting involved with people I like and having to cut myself off from them again. I worry about taking on too much and getting stressed out and falling apart again.This has been going on for over a year. I try to take some steps, but then I panic, I freeze, I retreat. It would be one thing if I could say, like you can with some medical problems - Oh, I had that, it's over, time to move on - but you can't with IBS, since so much is still unknown about this illness. I know, I feel for sure that whatever broke in me so long ago is probably something I'll have as a chronic problem indefinitely. I may get worse again, I may stay the same, I may get better. There's just no way to know, no way to predict. There's no way to know if/when you might have a flare-up, or a string of really good days, etc.So my question is: How do you move forward, how do you start building a life again, how do you start taking chances when you're so rattled by the uncertainty, anxiety, and fear that IBS has brought into your life?