Having IBS for well over 11 years has taught me a lot about myself, from learning where the nearest loos are at all times to realising that I have anxiety that I can’t always control. In honour of IBS Awareness Month I’m sharing what I’ve learnt…
I’m a tough cookie.
My IBS symptoms can range from horrendous cramps and diarrhoea, to panic attacks and extreme fatigue. My body can be fine and steady one minute to having a full flare the next. I can now handle anything my IBS throws at me and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I need down time.
And that it’s ok to say that and then action it. I have this rule where Sunday is my day of rest. I don’t like to commit to much and if I do, then I do things at my own pace. Sundays were made for pyjamas, cuddles with the boy and the bun, and resting on the sofa with a cheesy rom com.
I can’t do everything.
I live by a good list. I have tonnes of them. But sometimes the list making can spiral out of control giving me anxiety about all the tasks I have to complete. I have to get real with myself, mark out my priorities and then work to get that done, one bitesized bit at a time. I can’t do everything and I can’t please everyone. I’m a master at saying no these days.
I need at least 7-8 hours sleep a night.
I would say I feel tired 80% of the time. As a result I crave sleep and need it in a big hit. Nothing will get in my way of a good night’s sleep.
I have to take care of my body and my mind.
Whether that means 10 minutes of meditation if my mind is working overtime, or easing my body into a bubble bath, I make sure I allow myself the time to look after me.
I can take on the world as long as I’m prepared.
I know where all the public loos are, know which ones you have to pay for and the ones you don’t.
My body can’t handle any form of junk food.
I crave fruit and vegetables. And occasionally salty crisps and salted dark choc. But all within moderation.
That by openly and honestly sharing my story, I’m helping others.
Since I started sharing my IBS story on this blog and on YouTube I’ve been overwhelmed at the amount of comments, Tweets and just generally lovely messages I’ve received. Knowing that I’ve helped people feel like they’re not alone, giving them hope and virtually being able to hold someone’s hand is THE BEST feeling in the world.
That I have no qualms discussing poo.
With anyone. Anywhere. Any time.
That I have anxiety and that it’s ok to admit that.
And that sometimes it can all get too much. And that I’m still learning how to control it and how not to beat myself up about it.
Not to give up.
With the doctors, testing your diet, with yourself, with the constant battle to stay on top of your gut health.
Talking about it helps.
Finding and connecting with others in the same boat is the biggest source of relief. Opening up and telling your boss, colleagues, friends and family will feel like a weight has lifted off your shoulders. Go do it now, go tell someone about your IBS and how it makes you feel.
That I adore slouchy clothing.
IBS has made me fairly body conscious. Bloating is one of my most frequent symptoms and because of that I will forever live in slouchy, oversized clothing for comfort and because I get embarrassed about how big my stomach can swell to.
That I won’t let anything hold me back or stand in my way.
No matter how much my IBS tries. Because I was born a fighter.
Read about my gut health journey here and share your story below. I’m all ears.