After posting the first article on our website, I was overwhelmed by the number of inspiring responses I received from other IBS and non-IBS sufferers. This encouraged me to write a second article on this subject. While the first article focused on my personal story and the coping methods I used when travelling with IBS, this article however will discuss my relationship with this hugely frustrating and loveable syndrome.
My relationship with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, otherwise known as IBS, started as an unexpected exploding mess. Neither of us wanted each other, but as time went on we slowly began to understand each other and spent a lot time in each other’s company. Now, we live in a somewhat harmonious relationship, high-fiving each other every time I go to the loo. It’s quite beautiful don’t you think?
How then has our relationship become so romantic, you may ask. Well, if you’re an IBS sufferer you will understand how the loo will quickly become a place where you spend much of your time in. You could even say it becomes your second home. This is true for me. With the loo often acting as place of comfort and a place where I spend a lot of time in, I have realised the positive outcomes this entails. Especially, how it has allowed myself to really enjoy and appreciate life through spending time learning and reading about important and not so important things on my mobile phone, such as Climate Change and Who are the Kardashians. Which I might not have had the time to do, if I didn’t have IBS. Furthermore, IBS has encouraged my thinking to change from a futuristic approach to a more present way of thinking. Especially, with the help from the mobile phone app, Headspace, which I thoroughly recommend downloading even if you do not have IBS. This positive change of thinking really impacted greatly on the relationship between my anxiety and IBS by reducing the frequency and intensity of negative symptoms this relationship entails.
I once heard from someone, that IBS is often not discussed because it is a “Taboo” subject. Which can be understood as a term prohibited or restricted by social custom. Even though, it is estimated to affect between 25 and 45 million people in the United States, we find this syndrome difficult to discuss. Especially, when symptoms like a cold and a headache are often easily discussed among others. Although, did you know that when a person sneezes, the germs and bacteria can travel up to two feet and how the cold is responsible for more than 200 viruses. Sounds revolting, right? This therefore creates much wonder towards why we are tabooing such a common illness, in regards to IBS, when illnesses like the cold is often discussed without any problems. If both IBS and the cold offer unpleasant symptoms and how studies show that many people suffer from IBS, why isn’t there more to encourage discussion over this subject? I assume this is because many of us are embarrassed about talking about what comes out of our arses and about going to the loo. Which is silly, when you think about it as going to the loo is a natural occurrence of being human and if you own a pet then you are constantly having fun picking up their poo.
This then creates much wonder towards why we are tabooing such a common illness. If this illness was easily discussed as much as illnesses like the cold are, then this could lead to significantly stronger and reliable research into how to deal and cope with IBS. Perhaps, even find a cure for it. Especially, as IBS often leads to mental health problems.
To conclude this article, let’s link what has been discussed to this article’s question How To Travel With IBS. Before jet-setting off on your amazing journey, I strongly encourage downloading Headspace’s mobile phone app and practice it daily. This is not a plug. This app has really has impacted my life positively. Although, if you are already travelling, then download it straight after you finish reading this article. Secondly, accept the fact that you have IBS, but do not let it control you and determine who you are. Acceptance of IBS will often greatly reduce the intensity and frequency of its unpleasant symptoms. Resulting in a more enjoyable experience when immersing yourself in new cultures, places and adventures.
…and Always Remember To Give Your IBS A High-Five. Then, Go And Enjoy Your Life