I feel a bit lighter these days. Not in a traditional weight sense, because I don’t care for that. More like the daily worries I used to carry around my IBS have lifted. I finally feel like I’m the boss of my own body, rather than being ruled by my temperamental gut.
IBS is no longer my every waking thought. It no longer defines me. It no longer holds me back. Sure, it’s something I have and something I may always need to navigate through but my mindset towards it has changed. And boy, has that made a bigger difference then I’d have ever imagined.
When I started CBT around my anxiety, I remember a sense of wanting to be in control, all the time. I wanted to be able to learn some techniques that would help me kick its butt, if you’ll pardon the pun, that would help ease my IBS. Instead I feel like I took away so much more. I learnt a lot about myself that I’d never fully appreciated.
I understand how everything in my past has helped shape me, for better or worse. How I felt I had to always lead because I struggled when I felt I wasn’t in control. How I let my worries spiral until they were all-consuming. How I learnt to keep my emotions in, never speaking about my problems. It all manifests in stress which then irritates my gut and results in my IBS symptoms. CBT gave me a weaponry of techniques to lean on when needed.
I feel more comfortable with my sense of self and I’m a lot nicer to myself, which has shown in the easing of my symptoms.
These days I don’t question going out for dinner to a place I don’t know. Hiring a boat for the day on holiday and not even having second thoughts about whether there’d be a loo on the beach, or if I’d have to dig a hole! I’ll eat a bit of onion or a slice of a white bloomer and not fret about it. Because I don’t need to. I’ve even reintroduced gluten after a very long time of avoiding it.
I finally realise how much my mind would take over with its anxious thoughts, causing my gut to freak out, melt down and immediately empty.
My focus is now spent on being kind to myself, making sure I have moments of calm and only doing things that make me happy.
I’ve got this.
You know want to read more about life with IBS and anxiety. Go on!