I write and speak a lot about what an IBS flare feels like for me but I don’t often post about how I feel the day after, which is often worse. I can almost cope with the unexpected need to rush to the loo, the cramps, the bloating but the day after, the exhaustion is so real and I’m not sure everyone always gets it. And that’s fine but a little post-flare education doesn’t hurt anybody.
Let me set the scene. I spent a good portion of Saturday night locked in the bathroom. I have this innate feeling when I’m going to have a flare. It’s like I suddenly feel bubbles rushing through my digestive system and I know in that instance, that I have between 2-5 minutes before I need to be seated, on the loo. It was horrendous and the worst flare I’ve had in a while. A proper closing down sale, if you will. I went to bed a little while afterwards and feel asleep cuddling my hot water bottle.
Now, I did sleep the whole night through and probably got a solid 8 hours but I still felt dreadful when I woke. I had the dreaded day-after symptoms. And I had them bad.
My body felt empty. Like there was absolutely nothing left in there. At all. My body had expelled it all and I’m left as a shell of a person.
I’m left feeling tired. No, tired doesn’t do it any justice. It’s exhaustion. Lifting a limb is a massive effort. If I sit down it’s unlikely I’ll ever get back up. I don’t have the energy to do even the most basic of tasks.
I yawn. And yawn. And yawn. And yawn. Again. And again. And again.
My head feels fuzzy. I can’t function at my usual capacity. My concentration is wobbly. Watching a film feels like a task.
I don’t fancy eating – so unlike me – but know that regular meals are my friend with my stomach. But I’ll eat foods that I know my stomach can handle and are gentle.
I get super emotional. I cry a lot. At the TV, films, songs. Everything gets to me. Sometimes there’s no reason but the tears come anyway.
The empty stomach ache of doom. It’s a different feeling compared to the cramps. This is like a dull ache that’s always there.
I feel more aware of my body. When you have a chronic illness you’re in-tune with every part. You know when something’s not quite right. I find that after a flare this is heightened.
Dehydration. I lose a lot of liquid when I have a flare so it’s key that I continue to top myself up so I don’t feel any worse.
It’ll usually take me a full 24 hours before I can begin to function like a normal person. It’s almost hangover-like. Except you don’t have the fun of having been out the night before.
I asked on Instagram how you felt the day after a flare:
I’ve learnt that the day after a flare, for me, is all about going easy on myself. No strenuous tasks. A day tucked up in bed, allowing my body to heal and recover. Plenty of water. A nice little rom com on to distract my mind.
I’ll often be lurking on Instagram, so if you find yourself in the same boat, message me. I’m more than happy to talk. You’re never alone.