View Full Version : Help! IBS is controlling my life....

07-05-2001, 07:29 AM
I have a wonderful husband and child but my IBS is controlling my life! I am afraid to make plans or go anywhere with them because of my darn stomache. I am so frustrated and scared all the time that I am going to have an attack.

My husband says, "Don't worry, we can always find you a bathroom." Which he means well, but as most of you know...the only place you want to be is home when the D attack happens.

We can't even plan a trip because I'm so afraid to drive anywhere far. I also have an anxiety disorder which adds to the fear. I used to be afraid of anxiety attacks happending and that's why I'd stay home. Now since IBS is worse over the years, I'm afraid of IBS attacks. I haven't been able to work in 3 years either. I don't think I can hold down a job because of my IBS.

I am so tired of feeling this way and don't want to hurt my marriage and family, but I am So afraid. We can't even go out to eat because I usually wind up with severe gas pains and need to go home to the bathroom.

Do any of you have these feelings or problems too? How do you deal with it?
Sorry to have just complained like that. I feel like this message board is my last hope.<p>[This message has been edited by SLSV (edited 07-05-2001).]

07-05-2001, 12:38 PM

I want to tell you that I have a 35 year old brother who has suffered with IBS since his teens. His Mds have stated that he has the worst case they have ever seen.

My brother has been married three years and lives in the next town over.

Your issues with IBS are parallel to my brother's; he has many issues with anxiety over his condition, and over the years IBS has changed his personality from peaceful, to angry and fearful. His first response to ever doing anything outside the home is "no" because he just can't relax about the ideas of needing a bathroom ASAP or having to deal with his severe pain in any place that he isn't comfortable with - so he is home a lot. IBS has left him quite introverted.

It breaks my heart.

Although my brother is severely impacted physically by this condition, he has decided to try to do better by himself, meaning, try to have some semblance of a 'normal' life despite his intense pain and the fears that accompany his condition.

Non-medically, what seems to have worked for my brother is counseling, relaxation/meditation, patience and self-kindness, and a supportive family and job environment (he also takes prescription valium when necessary - he says the only time he doesn't hurt is when he sleeps).

Some of these changes have included the fact that nowadays, my brother will speak up about how bad his guts are, or the fact that he has to keep running to the bathroom. Sometimes putting a slightly "lighter" comical slant to his runny bottom can lighten a rough or embarassing moment. It doesn't ease the physical pain, but psychologically how you look at something can make the burden a bit easier.

Also, he will try to push past his anxiety about outings, and does go out a bit more, although this is a slow, stressful process for him. But our family is close, so we take baby steps to do more things with him at his comfort level. I am very outgoing, so I am always encouraging him to try to get out a bit more - although I am very familiar with his limitations.

Also, he has made a commitment to reducing his stress where he can. Not always an easy task for anyone. And this is where counseling comes in, as well as the relaxation/meditation. I think this has helped my brother immensely. You can tell when he's been practicing his relaxation versus the days that he hasn't been.

He also doesn't beat himself up when his IBS or anxiety gets the best of him. Part of IBS is having up days and down days. So, he does what he can when he's able, and on the days where he can't, he doesn't. He's become a bit more introspective as to whether he truly can't do something because of IBS pain, or whether it's just the fear he's become used to concerning his IBS.

Personnaly, I can relate to panic and anxiety, as I have both, as does my brother. The only difference is that I do not have IBS for sure (although I have been informally told that I do). I have posted about the things that have helped me to combat my stress, on the Stress & Anxiety bulletin board called My Panic Experience. Maybe you'll be able to find something helpful or comforting there.

Please post again and let me know how things are for you. I will keep you in my prayers. Have a lovely day.

07-05-2001, 01:14 PM
Dear Wowwweee,

Thank you for the story about yourself and your brother. You are a very kind person and I do truly appreciate it! Good luck to you and your brother too.


07-05-2001, 04:09 PM
SLSV, I have the same problems as you and Wowwweee's brother. IBS has definitely taken over my life, as had my anxiety. Your post describes me to a "T". I live in fear of my gut... I am perfectly aware that there is "always a bathroom" but like you, I never want to be in public when the attacks strike. This is something I am working to change- it's an attitude thing, and is something I am choosing to perceive (that I'm safer at home than away from it). I've been more active the last few weeks and definitely more positive about my condition and its prognosis. I'm working again for the first time in months and although I don't feel well, I'm noticing I feel better because I'm not quite so focused on my feelings. This is especially helpful with the anxiety. Nevertheless, I'm still apprehensive about my next attack. I am just working hard at saying yes more often to invites and as a result, my life. I am young and have so much I want to do. I think many of us are dealing with this issue, especially those of us who experience anxiety in conjunction with the IBS. You are not alone, SLSV. Many of us are dealing with this. I send you lots of support and hope for all for us who deal with this disabling condition.

07-11-2001, 05:17 AM
Everyone in my girlfriends family thinks I'm a loser. I used to be a firefighter before I got strucken with my bowel problems. I used to get a lot of respect from people when they knew what I did for a living. Now a lot of people think I'm a loser because I cannot hold down a job due to my attendance problems dealing with my sickness. I tell everyone that I have a disorder but I always get the same answer "uh well, like go see a doctor! geez! how hard is that?" I guess I uderstand their ignorance. I used to be like that myself.

07-12-2001, 09:00 AM
I know, Christopher74, everyone thinks there is a 'magic pill' for every health problem out there. It is simple ignorance on their part. I too get tired of the eye-rolls and people thinking I'm anti-social because I don't go out much. The only people who really understand are the ones who have been through it. I'm sorry about losing your job, I understand how awful that must be. I was, luckily, approved for medical leave at my company. I can leave or be absent anytime my condition causes me to. They cannot fire me or demote me for this reason. I probably won't get many promotions or raises as a result, but at least I'm more at ease when I have to work. IBS is a life-altering disease and people really have to start understanding that. Hang in there.