Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Digestive Health Support Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,955 Posts
Have you considered therapy and/or are willing to talk to your doctor about your emotional state? Some people will, some won't, but it sounds like you could be distressed enough that some professional help may not be a bad thing. Coping with a chronic illness isn't easy and a lot of people do need the kind of help you can get from therapy and medications (I would look for someone that uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and that usually is designed to get you better in a few months and is very much about how to get unstuck in the moment so you can move forward).If you will only consider do it yourself solutions I'd start by looking into Dr. Bolen's book or the IBSAudio program that is a self-hypnosis.You can find both of those (and some other books that are IBS oriented self help) on our books link http://www.ibsgroup.org/books (we do have a lot of info in that menu bar up at the top of the page). They are about 1/3rd of the way down the page. Dr. Bolen's book is called "Breaking the Bonds of Irritable Bowel Syndrome : A Psychological Approach to Regaining Control of Your Life "If you can find a workbook for self help for control of general anxiety issues that can help as well.You might want to read a bit in the Managing Anxiety forum we have and see if any of the things people discuss there might be helpful for you. It is a common issue when people have chronic health problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
414 Posts
Hi, I posted a very similar question a little while ago. I do really understand what you mean as I feel that I am in a similar situtation really. I am much better lately I am sure what the problem was caused by, but I still have that niggling doubt. It's like that image you get, where you have an angel on one side talking to you and the devil on the other. One saying "you can go out", and the other saying " are you sure you might get diarrhea". Mad isn't it. I became a person that wouldn't go out anywhere, lost all my friends and my personality totally changed I died inside really. I was extrovert and loved going out etc... but this totally transformed my life. I have been trying baby steps for the last year and that seems to help a lot. I can now go shopping and actually look at things on the shelves. I have been putting myself very gradually into situations with lots of people and trying to do it a lot. Like everyday for a week going into the town for something - even to just post one letter. My worst part of the day was getting out of the house, getting off the toilet and it seems to have a helped a bit really, I don't get so anxious now if I have to go out the door. I am considering perhaps talking to someone about it all. I still can't go to a cinema, church or anything where there are lots of people sitting down, as I had a really bad experience at a Christening and am petrified still. even though I know things are definitely much better, it's still left the scars in my head too. I really do understand how it gets in your head and it stays there. I am open to the possibility that in it's way I have had a trauma everyday and although it isn't a patch on what many people have to go through in this world, to me it has been a trauma. It has effected my entire life. The diarrhea came first and the fear of going out came second for me. But the baby steps seem to be helping quite a bit. Just wanted you to know that you aren't the only one struggling with the head.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Glad to hear you've had some improvment. I know what you mean about the fear to simply leave your house. Sometimes I only make it like a quarter mile down the road and of course feel my stomach acting up, wondering if it's going to turn into an emergency situation. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. What I've found is I need to just go ahead and keep plans to do my normal errands, although it can be a huge ordeal to simply go grocery shopping. I have to go work Mon-Fri no matter how horrible I feel so Saturday is errand day. I try to keep a couple regular places that have sufficient access to a restroom, then figure out a couple emergency stops between my house and destination. I figure if I have to drive 15min to get to Walmart and I know of 3 places between my house and the store I can stop I'll be fine and it makes it a lot easier mentally. I have a 20min drive to work and have figured out 5 emergency locations that are actually open at 6am when I'm driving. I still can't ride along in other people's cars at all, and even get nervous with a passenger in my own car. If I'm by myself I always have the last resort of simply pulling over. I've only done it twice but having the option makes me feel better.I just try to think logically about it: I have a medical problem, I WILL have emergencies, I'm going to plan as much as possible to help myself out. And worst case scenerio is an accident, well just think about how rarely it actually comes to that. Nobody wants it to happen but if it does it's not the end of the world and you will get over it. I guess I'm getting to the point where I try not to care anymore. If I saw that happen to somebody, stranger or not, I'd just think wow they must be really sick.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
For me, I just carry my medication along with me where ever i go. It makes me feel much more calm, and a handphone as well to contact others in case of an emergency. I guess for me, it's all about feeling safe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
Thanks all for your thoughtful replies. It's comforting to know I'm not alone in having these issues. As if it's not enough already just to deal with the exasperating physical problems, it's like IBS also operates on this other level which just messes with your head. I agree Claire, this experience has been traumatic - not just for the physical part, but for what it does to your sense of who you are, what you can do. The anxiety lingers in my mind in a pattern that's built up over years. I've chipped away at it slowly, by taking those baby steps, but I feel like my further progress has halted. I've done ok with managable things like quick trips around town, in areas where I know the bathrooms, close to my house - e.g. simple pleasures like hanging out in a cafe for a while, or browsing in a bookstore, etc. I'm very pleased with this, compared to how my lifestyle was a few years ago - believe me. But now the steps I want to start taking are more challenging - things like starting fulltime work again, having a serious relationship, having an active social life, taking a trip to a foreign country - things that pre-IBS were just a natural part of my life, but now bring up alot of uncomfortable doubts whenever I think about pursuing them. Part of that is because of the real possibility of embarassing incidents, but in a larger sense, maybe I just don't want to get disappointed again if things don't work out. The first time my life went off the rails was hard enough. But on the other hand, I don't just want to concede that this limited existence I live now is the way it's got to be forever. Still alot of life to live out there, right?Kathleen, thanks for the good book recommendation, I picked up Dr. Bolen's book today and looking forward to reading it. I did the IBS Audio program some time ago and I did find it helpful, but for some reason I wasn't able to get past the halfway point - it's like my mind got "full" from it and I started resisting it. Still I think I'll start it up again and try to go the full 100 days. Also I do think it would be helpful to talk to someone about it, so maybe I can look into that too. I don't have any problem with that. I find, sometimes, just talking about it, just acknowledging out loud the devastation this problem has had in my life makes it easier to deal with. It makes it less mysterious and scary, which is why I find it helpful to read about other peoples experiences on this board. Also I think maybe there's a kind of grieving process I still need to go through. I need to process all I lost due to this illness, the loss of time, of opportunities, of relationships, of finances, and of a part of my own personality which used to be fun-loving and playful and adventurous. Maybe with further healing I can re-connect with that part of me which seems dormant, still under the shadow of my worries, in spite of my improved physical condition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,570 Posts
Hi onyx - Just thought I would pop in here to let you know that what you mention re the IBS Audio Program can sometimes happen - it might be worth a revisit, and if you have any concerns along the way this time, feel free to contact the "contact us page" on www.healthyaudio.com or the www.ibscds.com website or call 877-898-2439 for guidance and free support. My story is a bit similar to yours, and I lost a lot of my life due to IBS. So there is real hope there - I wish you all the best - take care.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
for the first 18 years of my life i was ugly, fat, diseased, but i was good at typeing online the comp like your doing nowafter i stoped going out as a kid i then lost what little social skills i had and i only could say hi or ya and smile and that was it i could not speak at allat my worst i became extremely paranoid and needing and lovingly latched on to the first girl i saw like i had known them my whole life i acted like a psycho but only once in person and i did that onto 1 random girl but afterwards i relized what i did and was very embarrassed and never did it againafter messing around with some girls online i relized how much of my life i had wasted and how much better things i could have done if i had put God first in my life so from then on i put God first in my lifethen later i started going to the gym and started talking with 2 guysone guy said he reminded me of him when he was young and i keept slightly improveing my socail skills with him and then i met this other guy hes really over weight and druged up on doctors drugs but hes really easy to talk to anyways he helped me regain my social skills big time cause he listens and is easy to talk toso now after just a few years of going to the gym and puting God first in my life and no longer a human girl my social skills are decent i got lots of freinds now at the gym and i can talk goodso really you will regain your social skills it will be hard at first very hard and even quite slow if you don't find the right person to talk to but it will happen and you will have social skills just as good or better than other peoplealso i have no idea if therapy would help or not i know talking to my parents did not do anything because i knew they were not public people so maybe a doctor or therapy would not help either because they know your social skills are crappy and then it would not work cause it has to be a person that does not know your social skills are crappy so by talking to a real person and doing great you will then know you got ok social skills
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
Thanks for the encouragement Marilyn. And Ziggy, I can relate to your story. I was always somewhat introverted and actually some years ago decided I would handle that part of my life. I was always pretty good at conversation, with people I already knew well, but the difficult part for me was meeting new friends, asking women out for a first date, etc. After about a year of really putting myself out there I must say, I was doing great (for me at least). I had a good social circle, was going out to parties, had a good number of dates - from which I met a wonderful woman who I dated for a couple years.Then, the rug got pulled out. IBS struck and rattled everything I had tried to build - my career, my relationships, my lifestyle - but worst of all, my confidence. I think I may have to embark on a similar personal mission now, as I try and recover from the devastation that IBS blew through my life. Hopefully with time and some small successes along the way I'll be able to start rebuilding things in some way.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top