IBS is like a non-stop roller coaster. One minute you’re riding high, enjoying everything and anything and then within seconds your tummy growls aggressively, telling you that a flare up is rumbling. When you have IBS you often feel like you’re the only one and that no one really understands your symptoms and how tired and fed up it can make you feel. At least that’s how I felt about a year ago and now I’ve pushed myself to go back to the docs for more testing, made a tonne of IBS friends and am kinda managing the day-to-day struggles.
The highs and lows of IBS, have at it…
? The Highs ?
1. Finding Symprove all those many moons ago and more specifically, Carol and Barry. Taking a shot of the live probiotic every morning has really helped balance out my gut, preparing it for whatever I throw at it during the day. And that’s just for starters. The team is a fabulous support system, offering help and advice whenever I need it. They’re also the ones who introduced me to Vicki aka the Free From Fairy, Scarlett London and Samantha Jones, starting a very lovely community with people who are going through the exact same thing.
2. Finding my groove in blogging about all things IBS and feeling brave enough to talk about my gut in video form. IBS is so rarely spoken about what with the whole poo taboo but it’s something I know the ins and outs of and can jabber on about for hours on end. It’s a subject that’s close to my heart and my stomach and there’s no better feeling then when a friend texts you for advice or to say that they know someone with IBS and that they’ve referred them back to my blog for tips. It melts my heart.
3. The response and positive messages I get every time I write an IBS-related blog post. Those messages make every gory detail I share worthwhile and hearing positive things and encouraging others to share their story makes me so happy I could cry. No, really. The people who write these comments will never understand how much it means to me.
4. Realising that you’re never alone with IBS. Shout out to my IBS BFF Sam, to the incredible Gut Health Empire she’s building, starting with our strong community on Facebook, this is the lady I am in awe of. She is so determined to help others, give gut health some positive PR and break down all the stigmas that go with it. The second time I met her we went to see comedian, Felicity Ward’s, stand-up gig on depression and IBS and found ourselves crying with laughter, unable to breathe because we related to every single word together.
5. This leads me on nicely to all the strong women I talk to frequently on Twitter or Facebook and to the inspiring women who were brave enough to share their IBS stories with me, Scarlett, Vicki, Sophie Eggleton, Anna, Larah, Sophie Cliff, Ruth, Laura, Alison, Chloe and Claire, who has been there since the beginning.
6. Throwing myself head first into meditation and yoga, learning to listen to what my body needs and allowing myself time to relax and unwind when I need to.
? The Lows ?
7. People still not getting it entirely – let me tell you it is more than just an upset stomach – but knowing that together, we’ll get there. Even if we all have to keep shouting about it from the rooftops.
8. Still having IBS. And knowing that there’s no real cure and probably won’t ever be.
9. Not being able to go out and eat freely. Eating out for dinner is tough when you avoid all dairy, gluten, onions, peppers, garlic and anything too acidic. It’s frustrating and can be embarrassing to order one thing off the menu and then ask the waiter to remove at least 3 ingredients from said dish. But what’s even worse is grabbing lunch on the go because there is nothing that ticks all my boxes, ever.
10. Going to the doctors. I’ve never had much luck at the doctors with my IBS. I’ve always left every appointment in tears with them advising to take heaps of medication – trust me, I’ve tried it and rejected it all – and to keep a food diary. I recently faced my fears and went back, demanding for more tests and to be referred to a nutritionist who specialises in the low-FODMAP diet which I’m determined to do properly.
No matter how bad it gets, I will never let my IBS rule me and I will never shut up talking about it. And neither should you.
Thanks for reading and supporting me on my battle to health. You’ll never know how grateful I am.
Read More About My Struggle with IBS: