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IBS Stuff

Food is something that everybody everywhere needs, it's something we all have in common. Yet we all feel like the way that we eat is the right way to eat. Every country even every town has a cuisine that they take very seriously, it's considered rude not to eat the food somebody made for you. That makes life really hard for people like me. I have IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) and that really restricts my diet. For me to stay healthy I have had to cut out a lot of things and have to eat a very specific way, and even if I am doing all the things I am supposed to do my stomach acts out sometimes. When I am at home I don't have a huge problem eating the way that I need to (except when we have icecream in the house), the real issue is when I am somewhere else. People are very defensive and specific about their food. I will go over to somebody's house and they will have made mac and cheese and hamburgers or something and I can't eat any part of that meal which kind of sucks. Then people will get this face like I just kicked their dog. Despite the fact that it's not their food i'm trying to insult it's just not something I can’t eat, so then I don't eat. I sit and watch everybody around me enjoying their food as I just sit there twiddling my thumbs waiting until I can leave so I can actually get something to eat. That has made my life so much more difficult than most people's. I have to bring food with me everywhere I go and it makes me so nervous that I am not going to be able to eat. People will try to make me something that I can eat, but honestly it never works and so I try to ask people not to even bother because I get even worse looks when somebody worked their ass off to make me some fancy gluten free vegan meal and I have to tell them that I can't eat it because it doesn't have as much fiber as I am supposed to eat.

    I have IBS and honestly that diagnosis hasn't helped me whatsoever. For the people that don't know what IBS is its irritable bowel syndrome, it's not a life threatening condition in any way and it affects people very differently. Basically it is the diagnosis you get when you have stomach pain and one other bowel related symptom chronically. Sometimes you will be originally diagnosed with IBS and it will turn out to be something much more serious. I am very cautious when telling people that I have IBS because some shithead always says something like “oh so you get explosive diarrhea and stuff”. I'm not trying to say that IBS does not give people explosive diarrhea but one thing is that's a serious thing that sucks and if somebody does have diarrhea don't make fun of it because that makes it worse. Two somebody could have a completely different experience that doesn't have anything to do with poop but when they say they have IBS the conversation turns to pooping which is not something that most people are comfortable talking about. The stereotypes around IBS are really negative because it makes it really hard for people to talk about a serious condition therein and because IBS is strongly linked to stress and anxiety, so the added stress of having to explain IBS to someone is really bad for somebody who has IBS.

    My IBS has been going on for a long time. My mom has a thing called ulcerative colitis which is the inflammation and ulceration of the colon and it has very similar symptoms of IBS. because ulcerative colitis is passed down through dna we had assumed that my stomach problems were because I had ulcerative colitis, but the doctors just couldn't find anything to say whether or not I had it. I had a period of about six months when I was going to the doctor's office every week. I ended up having 115 absences because 1) I went to the doctor's office so much and because 2) whenever I felt sick I would just skip class and go home which was not what I was supposed to be doing, but I would feel so bad and the only thing that would make me feel better was leaving school. IBS has given me extreme nausea, vomiting, and incredibly painful cramping as well as many other things, but those are the most prominent for me. The hard thing is that sometimes there is nothing I can do to make myself feel better. IBS may not be a life-threatening condition but it can be a life altering one. IBS is an extremely misunderstood condition I’m sure a lot of people reading this never really knew what IBS is. Most people have heard of the condition but in the end they don't know what it means to have the diagnosis of IBS.

    IBS is a very difficult thing to deal with but in the end if people know and understand what IBS really is and what it means for the people who have it, maybe we can begin to become comfortable talking about illnesses like it.