If you've been following my blog, or know me personally, it is no secret, I will SHOUT IT from the rooftops, I HAVE
IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME. Or, as I refer to it, Irate Intestines.
If you're not sure what IBS is, it is a complex, chronic, digestive disorder, in which the individual's intestine's do not function properly, resulting in IBS-D, IBS-C, or IBS Mixed (which is what I have.)
Educate yourself further by reading my post here or visiting aboutibs.org.
Unfortunately, many are ill-informed about IBS or are too ashamed to admit to having it.
Since the creation of this blog, I have taken on the self-proclaimed title of IBS Advocate.
I advocate for myself, and others, with this digestive disorder as much as I can
because most people suffer in silence or are unaware of how detrimental of a condition IBS can be.
For a period of time, my IBS consumed not only my body, but my mind as well. I was perpetually sick, in and out of the hospital and doctor's offices, trying anything to receive relief to no avail. For a little over three years, I experience extreme flare ups, every two weeks. My medication count ended up totaling nine pills a day, and I lost track of all the college/life social events I declined because of my symptoms. I was missing out either because I was at home writhing in pain or bloated beyond recognition that I just couldn't fit into any of my clothes, let alone, feel good about myself and want to be seen by anyone. I began to hate my body and became afraid of food, because anything I ate, would send my intestines into distress. Since then, I have completed a Clinical Trial for my IBS and worked hard to pull myself out of the dark place my digestive condition was dragging me into. My words and opinions may seem extreme, but those are only small snippets into the extreme effect IBS has had, and still continues to have on my life. If you don't believe me, below are two excerpts from the aboutibs.org website highlighting the severity of symptoms and their effect on the individual:
"The impact of IBS can range from mild inconvenience to severe debilitation. It can control many aspects of a persons emotional, social, and professional life. Those with moderate to severe IBS must struggle with symptoms that often impair their physical, emotional, economical, educational, and social well-being.
IBS is unpredictable. Symptoms my vary and are sometimes contradictory. Diarrhea can alternate with constipation. Long-term symptoms can disrupt personal and profession activities and limit individual potential."
-- International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
While the description is pretty dismal, my entire outlook on my condition has changed
I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but it does not have me
I am in control of my life, not my chronic condition.
I thrive with my symptoms, not merely survive
I am beautiful, bloated or not, because my self worth is not set on my reflection.
I am transparent, in hopes to educate.
I am real, not to be crass, but to assert the severity of my condition.
I am honest, not for pity, but to promote acceptance
My Irritable Bowel Syndrome effects my body, mind, physical, social, and emotional choices on a daily basis, but through acceptance of my condition, self-work, self-love, and the right combination of medications, a laundry list of foods to avoid, and other "IBS rules" I follow, I am the healthiest and flare up free for the longest amount of time ever. It is not easy, dealing with such a complex condition, and sometimes I become angry and frustrated and want to cry, but I no longer suffer in silence. Through my openness, I have found a community of support that makes me push through even on my most difficult of days, because I know, somewhere, someone, feels exactly the same way I do too, and together, we can make it through.
- Will you help spread IBS Awareness this month?
- Did you know how debilitating/severe IBS could be?
- Are you or someone you love a "silent" sufferer of another chronic condition?