Since I started speaking openly and writing about my anxiety and CBT, people, who I both know and don’t, have started asking me about it. After months of covering up how terrible it had got, I’ve become a CBT champion among friends and the online community I’ve carved out for myself. It’s both baffling and an extreme compliment. And something I’m still getting my head around.
CBT without doubt, has changed my life. That may sound like a bold claim, but I’m telling you, it has. While I wish I’d done it a long time ago, I do believe everything happens for a reason and this came at the right time for me.
A weird thing has happened over the past three weeks, I’ve completely forgotten about my IBS. It wasn’t until my therapist asked me how it had been at my latest session, that I realised I haven’t had an IBS flare once over the past three weeks. Shit.
I’m 5 weeks into CBT for my anxiety and boy, do I feel different. Suddenly I feel more aware of everything. I’m seeing new things. Appreciating new smells and textures. And I’m allowing myself to really embrace my emotions.
I think it’d be an understatement to say that Al and I needed a break. We’ve both had a lot going on, been under stress, feeling run down and a bit over it. We needed time out and we needed some time away, so booked a mini break to Wales for a bit of a breather. And it was the best decision we could have made.
I’ll hold my hands up. I am terrible at confirming and then sticking to plans. In particular with my friends. I know it and they know it but they’re too polite to say anything about it. And it’s all down to how my IBS makes me feel.
Navigating life with IBS is messy, painful and full of ups and downs. When you’re flare free, it’s exhilarating, you think you’ve got it. You’re fixed. Then one bad flare comes along and has you rushing from bed to bathroom, multiple times. At least, that’s my experience, which is what I’m sharing today.
Being near water not only brings back incredibly happy childhood memories, it also makes me feel at ease. I can physically feel the weight lift off my shoulders, I can feel my muscles relax and my troubles and thoughts leave my anxious mind. I could stand and stare into the calming blue forever. Which is why I’m sharing my favourite places to go when I need to breathe deep and exhale…
I sometimes feel like me and my loo are the best of friends. We spend a lot of time together due to my IBS-D. I’m definitely reliant on it and can spend numerous hours scuttling between there and my bed. Because of this innate knowledge, I’d class myself as a bit of an expert, knowing exactly what I need close by when I’m doubled over in pain. None of this is groundbreaking stuff but it does help calm and distract me, which is a saviour.
Hands up if you regularly spend your lunch break at your desk, scrolling through Instagram while chowing down on leftover pasta. Keep those hands up if you don’t even take your full hour. Yep, I’m guilty too but recently I’ve been making the effort to fix that, and I’m feeling the difference.