Last Monday, straight after lunch, my stomach started making those deep gurgle noises that instantly meant my IBS had decided it wanted to make itself known. After the gurgles came that all too familiar feeling of immense panic.
I felt it creeping its way up my body, making me on edge, nervy, full of worry that something terrible was about to happen and that I wasn’t ready for it. It felt like some kind of outer body experience. My heart beat louder and louder and my head swam with worrisome messages, “oh shit, here we go again” and “sod it, you’re at work and you’re going to have to do this” shortly followed by “I really, really want to go home but have a 90 minute commute with no loos ahead of me”. Total panic threatened to consume me.
Somehow though I decided to stop it before it completely took over my every being. I had to remind myself that I could do this. As I have many times before. I kept repeating “you can control this” to myself as my IBS mantra. But most importantly, I listened to my body. I popped the top button of my jeans to give my poorly tummy a gentle rub to help ease the pains.
I made sure that after every flare up – I’ll spare you the gory details – I drank a full glass worth of water to try to rehydrate. I concentrated on my breathing and focused on getting my heart rate back down to somewhere vaguely normal. I also messaged my mum because she is great at being able to burst the panic bubble that surrounds me, bringing me back to reality.
Slowly but surely, I talked myself out of a full-on anxiety attack. I can’t tell you it was an instant process because it wasn’t. That particularly bad bout lasted over 2 hours at work before my stomach felt stable enough for me to venture out of my office and onto the loo-less trains.
By the time I got home and collapsed on the sofa I was shattered. IBS really sucks the life out of me. But I was shattered and proud that I’d managed to get a handle on things before they got too bad. For me, that’s a pretty big deal.
Read More About My Struggle with IBS: