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Long-term consequences of IBS on life
      #289051 - 11/05/06 08:37 AM
vmars4eva

Reged: 11/05/06
Posts: 12
Loc: Illinois

Hello, all. My name is Tom, I'm a 20 year-old college student who has been living with IBS with D since age 14.

I've been reading this message board on and off for a few years now. You guys wouldn't believe how much of a relief it is to see other people dealing with the same issues I deal with alone in my everyday life. You're all a great inspiration to me. With Lexapro and an IBS-friendly diet, I've been able to keep my symptoms relatively under control for about a year and a half now, though the occassional sense of urgency and occassional symptom are still pretty strong.

For the last several months, I've been haunted by my IBS in regards to the way it shapes and affects my personality and my progress as a human being. Because I have IBS with D, I'm constantly fearful of any kind of travelling or doing anything that would involve being in an "unkown" place. I am always turning down social invitations, chances to be with friends and family away from home or school and recently, I've been having to turn down invitations to seminars relating to my major throughout the state because I would have to travel to them in a van full of six other people.

What I'm getting at is, I'm fearful that my anxiety related to IBS with D is preventing me from doing things that ultimately affect my ability to grow and develop as a person.

I have so many questions for you guys, and so much to learn.

I'm really curious to know if anyone else here feels that they too have had difficulties developing as a person due to their IBS.

There's a couple of other issues that have been bothering me in regards to my future.

What kind of careers are out of the questions because of IBS? I'm pursuing a career in print journalism as a writer, but I feel that being a reporter is pretty much out of the question because of the amount of travelling a reporter must do. Do I sacrifice my dream for the sake of being realistic and realizing that I wouldn't be able to perform as a reporter?

Thanks guys.

-Tom

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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289057 - 11/05/06 09:50 AM
Miso

Reged: 04/20/06
Posts: 559
Loc: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

you say you are mostly under control with diet and lexapro which is great, i would suggest just taking immodium with you wherever you go on trips. you can take it preventitively or on an as needed basis, but whatever you do don't let the fear rule your life, i imagine the lexapro helps with calmiing some of the anxiety about attacks while out, but do not let the fear get to you now as you have your whole life ahead of you. Immodium and lots of safe snacks brought on your trips will help, munch on crackers, pretzles etc all day long while you travel to soothe your tummy. If you take a SFS then great bring that with you. The other good news is and this may sound funny, but it is more accepted that a guy have gas and use the bathroom and possibly smell it up than it is for a women, so you have that in your favour. Basically for me i just tell people i am with that i have ibs and that i do all i can to keep it under control but if i have an attack i have an attack and thats it, i deal with it. I always have my little med chest with me, anti nauseant like crystalized ginger, homeopathic antinauseant, tea packets, rice cakes, pepto bismol, etc, just in case anything happens, not just an ibs attack, plus my vitamin case for all my enzymes and probiotics.
When i was off my AD's for a year trying all natural alternatives fro my anxiety and ocd i turned into a hermit and life was terrible, i vowed never to be in that place again, however i am urning down the opportunity to do a term in barcelona next year, butthat it partly for my stomach reasons and partly for it not being all that necessary for my degree. However we have the opportunity to go for one week as well, and i will be doing the one week course, 3 month sis just too long for me.
Hope some of this helps.Good luck

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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289063 - 11/05/06 12:03 PM
Aly

Reged: 08/16/04
Posts: 669
Loc: Columbus, Ohio

HI Tom,
I can really relate to everything you wrote about. First off, I am 23 and from Ohio, but am currently studying in England for the year for an MA degree. I've had IBS since I was probably 14 or so, and I'm an IBS A, but it only got bad within the past 2 years. I went from attacks 2-3 times a year to at least 2-3 a week. At my worst, I was miserable every day for about 6 months. I still cannot believe I graduated college during all of that, but somehow I made it. I remember taking a trip to Vienna with my now fiance and a grounp of 20 for a class...I was miserable. Unable to eat, always in pain...I cried for hours and thought my life was over. How can I do anything like this? So, Later that year I got on Lexapro and was able to start leaving the house more and getting to work more often. (Calling off work was a bit too easy for me, and I ended up calling in way too much).
Anyway, the long story summed up is this. I had to choose if I wanted to get my MA. I decided maybe school would be easier than working 5 days of week. Then my fiance and I had to find a place for both of us...and it ended up being England. I cannot tell you how scared I was that I would be sick here. Something in me clicked when we got here. This is MY life. I AMin control of it,(even though when the stomach pains hit I certainly don't believe it!) and I am NOT giving up all of my dreams of traveling and such for a stupid belly. Now, it's true that I still have some really bad days (like today even...booo) but I have to believe that I can do anything. And so far, through preventative immodium that I ALWAYS have with me, I've only had to cancel plans with friends once in 2 months.
As for careers to avoid, I think the best advice I can give you is to never give up a career just out of fear.(How much Lexapro are you on...? I was on a really small amount, but you can always increase and see if it helps..talk to your doc) Almost anything can be adapted. There are a lot of teachers on this website that have said they have support with nearby teachers who can pop in and take over in an emergency.
I am choosing to stick with Educational Theatre mainly because it's what I love. It could involve a lot of traveling, and a lot of stress, but I have always felt that if I don't do it I'm letting my belly win.
I don't know if this helps, but just know I, along with many people on this site, really understand and feel for you.
Take care and good luck. We would all LOVE to see you become a reporter and embrace that dream!

--------------------
IBS-A

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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289067 - 11/05/06 12:15 PM
Gracie

Reged: 11/25/05
Posts: 1967


Hi Tom,

Have you thought of the IBS Hypnothery cd's? A lot of people have said it helps with their anxiety.


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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289072 - 11/05/06 01:16 PM
vmars4eva

Reged: 11/05/06
Posts: 12
Loc: Illinois

It's inspiring to find IBS sufferers who are able to travel! Traveling to a far away place, for me, is about the most terrifying thing I can imagine - not knowing where every bathroom is at every point in time would drive me nuts.

Now though I certainly don't want to see my belly "win," it often feels like I don't have much choice. One of the most difficult couple years of my life were my years spent on my high school marching band. At the time I was going through some of my most frequently occurring IBS with D symptoms, and I wasn't on Lexapro yet and I hadn't yet discovered the joy of Immodium (my doctors had me on Citracel, which I think made things worse for me). Being forced to travel to away games and being forced to perform... It was excruciating. I would not eat for a day before every away game I had to go to. The anxiety was so unbearable, I would shake while out on the football field. I would cry myself to sleep on nights before a performance. I was pretty miserable.

I ended up cancelling at the last minute a lot for a while, and then I eventually just had to call it quits.

I think it was experiences such as this, as well as a generally difficult high school with IBS experience (we were penalized for having to use the bathroom during class, seriously) that forced me into a cycle of anxiety, fearing days or even weeks in advance any time where I would have to be removed from my "comfort zone."

Luckily I eventually got put on Lexapro. That was a huge relief. But I still carry with me the cycle of anxiety and the cycle of fear, even when my symptoms are on hiatus.

I've actually been thinking a lot as of late as giving hypnotheraphy a shot. I should look into it a bit. Do you think it would be very helpful in my situation?

I also might look into increasing my Lexapro dosage. I was actually on 20 mg for a while last year, but I went down to 10 mg because I felt the 20 mg was making me overly fatigued. But perhaps the 20 mg is the only way I'm going to be able to get past my anxiety and fear.

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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289073 - 11/05/06 01:21 PM
jen1013

Reged: 05/06/05
Posts: 1322
Loc: the wabe

Hi Tom -- welcome to the boards.

I personally feel that you need to be realistic without being pessimistic. There are some careers that are probably pretty much impossible if you have IBS, particularly IBS-D -- like being a pilot, for instance. I would not plan your life around the assumption that you will be sick and attack-prone forever -- but I would also not plan your life around the assumption that you'll have gotten all better by the time you've graduated and started working. IBS is a chronic condition with no cure. Could be that you'll manage to keep it in check, but even still you will probably have bad days and you'll need to take that into account. In this respect, what's usually more important is how understanding your employer is rather than the actual job.

And take a good hard look at your "dream". What is it that makes it your dream? We are not necessarily defined by the job we work -- if someone's dream is to become a pilot, he can still take flying lessons and do it for fun even if his IBS won't let him do it full-time as a job. What is it about being a reporter that attracts you? Can you reinterpret your desires into another career or hobby?

Also, depending on what type of reporting you want to do, you may not have to do much travel at all. Sure, if you want to be an international news journalist reporting on the Middle East I would probably tend to shy away from that (I always wonder how anyone can handle having an IBS attack on a squat toilet) -- but if you end up with a job where the travel is more local/regional, that would probably be very do-able for someone with IBS if you're fairly stable.

Anyway, I guess I wouldn't necessarily go, "Yeah, pursue your dream, screw the IBS!" because I don't think that's very sensible. IBS is a medical condition, even if it's one that people tend to dismiss or ignore, and you certainly wouldn't tell someone in a wheelchair that he should go ahead and pursue his dream of becoming a forest ranger. At the same time, you definitely shouldn't let your anxiety rule your life. IBS is usually worsened by anxiety -- so if you focus on getting the anxiety under control, you just may find that your IBS becomes manageable as a consequence.

There are lots of ways to manage anxiety and stress. Lots of people here have done really great with the IBS hypnotherapy sold on this website. Medication is also an option if you don't mind that route -- you can always try increasing your Lexapro if you can't manage your anxiety by other routes.

Good luck, and please do keep posting now that you've "de-lurked".

--------------------
jen

"It's one of the most serious things that can possibly happen to one in a battle -- to get one's head cut off." -- LC

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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289148 - 11/06/06 12:46 PM
cailin

Reged: 08/12/04
Posts: 3563
Loc: Dublin, Ireland

Hi Tom, Welcome!

The whole thing is to get your IBS in control so that you have the confidence to do things. If you worry about it then your anxiety will make you more likely to have an attack so it's a double edged sword.

Build your confidence up one step at a time. Take up a social invitation and for starters control it (like if it's going out for a meal check out the menu in advance or eat before you go etc) Then gradually you will be able for more and more.

You asked about careers, I'm a lawyer. Its high stress which does contribute to attacks etc but I'm a fighter and refuse to let this condition rule my life, I insist on controlling IT rather than letting it control me.

When I was first diagnosed (aged 28, 2 yrs ago) I let it affect me a lot but once I got it under control I tested my boundaries and found ways to regain my old social life with modifications, so that I didn't feel like I was losing out.


I strongly believe that you should follow your dream. If you don't try how do you know that it wouldn't have worked out? Don't wonder your life away, go for it, the experience will be great.

My brother is a journalist and has a desk job so there are lots of different ways to be involved in print media without travelling long distances.

You can do it !

--------------------
S.

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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289150 - 11/06/06 12:47 PM
cailin

Reged: 08/12/04
Posts: 3563
Loc: Dublin, Ireland

I just read Aly's post- I should have just written WHAT SHE SAID, you hit the nail on the head!

--------------------
S.

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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289192 - 11/06/06 09:14 PM
vmars4eva

Reged: 11/05/06
Posts: 12
Loc: Illinois

I feel torn... I'm pulled both ways between wanting to fight this IBS and do what I want to do with my life and being sensible for the sake of protecting myself.

I'm always worried that if I do take a job at a newspaper, they'll start me off as a reporter and I won't be able to do my job and I'll have an embarrassing IBS moment in the middle of an interview or an important press conference. Then I'll be fired. And what would happen, then, to my health insurance? How will I afford rent? What would happen to me?

I can't stop playing all these worst-situation disaster stories in my head. It's tearing me apart. This last week it's been really bad, partly because I have to select my classes for next semester. I'm set to graduate next semester with a journalism degree, but I just don't feel ready yet to graduate! I always figured that I'd have this IBS thing figured out by now, but I got so wrapped up in studying journalism and working for my college's newspaper that I forgot to take care of my health. There's also the issue of I skipped a year of high school because I couldn't deal with the IBS situation so I'm a year ahead of myself... I'll be a 20 year-old college graduate.

The hardest thing for me to deal with right now is, I don't feel like I've developed myself as a person yet because I avoid life experiences because of my IBS. Also, I haven't figured out how to deal with my IBS yet. I've wrapped myself up in so much work and school.

And, irony of all ironies, I had a bad IBS day yesterday, probably because of all this stress.

Has anyone here who's graduated from college gone through a similar crisis when they neared their graduation? I think I need to talk to an academic counselor, but the one's here at Northern Illinois University aren't terribly effective and it would be too streneous to explain my whole IBS situation. I've also talked to a real live professional journalist and explained my situation, and he was empathetic but I don't think he realizes just how catastrophic the idea of being thrown out of my comfort zone is to me.



Am I not strong enough to face adulthood? Where did I go wrong to not be fully prepared for this? How is anyone prepared for adulthood, let alone people dealing with a sometimes debilitating syndrome?

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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289197 - 11/07/06 04:39 AM
Mary_V

Reged: 05/09/06
Posts: 544
Loc: Grandville, MI

Have you tried any type of therapy? I see a psychologist, and it is a huge help. They can help you deal with the stress/anxiety...and stop you from always thinking about the worst possible scenario. I think that stress/anxiety is one of the biggest contributors to IBS. MANY people on here deal with it. I would try both hypnotherapy (the CDs are very good) and real therapy. It will really help you put things in perspective.

One thing to try (that works well for me) is to write down the things that are causing your anxiety. Write the situation, what things you can control, what is out of your control, what is the worst thing that could happen, and how you would deal with that. Basically think through the situation logically, not emotionally and irrationally. It really helps to write it down and have something concrete to think about instead of just random thoughts floating around in your head making you more anxious. And when you see the things that are out of your control, then you can let them go. No sense worrying about them if you have no control over them anyway...logical, but still hard for us to do.

Therapy has been the biggest help for me. It sounds like you would benefit from it. And you might also want to try medication. I did for a while, and it definitely made a difference. I have other reasons for not taking it right now, but I would like to again someday. HTH.

--------------------
~Mary
Had surgery for rectal prolapse in Sept. '06 and feeling good now! Loving life with our IVF miracle #1.



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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289217 - 11/07/06 07:46 AM
seggy

Reged: 04/24/06
Posts: 255
Loc: North East of England, UK

hi Tom,
I'm 20 too and well done for making it this far through college cos hey I didn't even get finished lol I'm in England, completed GCSE's and A-levels but had to leave college after about 7 months because of ibs. I know about fears,and they STINK lol they do. Being anxious is one of the most awful feelings in the world. However, I would say just like the others, don't give up on your dream. That's a lot easier typed than done I'll readily admit.
I haven't got a clue what I want to do as a career (not sure whether that's a good thing or bad) but anyhow I know that God has good plans for me (Jerm 29:11) God gets me through all this and my family are wonderful. My views will always be based around God's will/word because I'm a Christian and could probably write a whole essay bout what the Bible says about fear, but even for those who don't believe I think that you still should do all you can to stand up to fear. there are people out there to help, whether they be friends, family and experts get help.
As for missing out on life experience , I can relate to that too cos I've been battling with illness throughout most of my teens which are traditionally the 'growing up and experiencing years ' but don't worry cos there's still plenty time for that. You'll have loads of fun in the future so don't dwell on what you haven't done, look forward to what you will do!

there are some truly wonderful and inspirational people on this site and we're here to help as well as be helped.
Vicky


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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289241 - 11/07/06 12:28 PM
vmars4eva

Reged: 11/05/06
Posts: 12
Loc: Illinois

Thank you for your encouraging words, everyone. My last post was really negative probably because everyone is making me face what I don't want to hear even though it's true - that I'm just simply going to have to be strong and fight this thing.

I know that I want to fight it, and I know that it's potentially possible, it's just that the anxiety is crippling. These last few days I've been having racing thoughts and panic episode off an on.

I'm now taking everyone's suggestion about getting some counselling - I signed up for on-campus couselling last night. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to wait two weeks before I can start sessions, so I guess all I can do is wallow in my dread and self-pity.

It feels encouraging hearing about everyone's college experiences. But how did all of you England people end up there? Are you studying abroad? What's your majors? Should I have studied abroad?

Thanks again everyone for the kind words and support. I've really needed it this week.

Does anyone else have any tips for how I can start to experience life while struggling with IBS and IBS-related anxieties? Or, is this just something I'm not going to be able to accomplish at this point?

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how i have dealt new
      #289317 - 11/07/06 08:24 PM
Miso

Reged: 04/20/06
Posts: 559
Loc: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

hi, i am 23 years old and in the second year of my masters in industrial design, i have had ibs since i was 12, i have been on AD'S since i was 14 for the anxiety and ocd associated with my ibs. when i went off ad's for 2 years and everything went to hell i was still in school the whole time, yes i missed some classes and had to leave in themiddle of some to go sit in the bathroom feeling bloated and nauseous, oh and i had really bad reflux as well, but i did it somehow and caught up where i needed to, professors are far more undertstanding than you would ever imagine, as are employers, you would be surprised how many people have or know someone with stomach issues, plus you will never be fored for running to the bathroom, its aprt of life for some of us, don't be adverse to telling certain people the situation you are in and you will be surprised how much freedom that will afford you from your anxiety. I am no back on AD's and back to myself, i eat very specifically, and still have some bad days, but i handle them and move on to the next part of my day.

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lol how did I end up in England new
      #289328 - 11/08/06 01:43 AM
seggy

Reged: 04/24/06
Posts: 255
Loc: North East of England, UK

well, ummm I was born here lol sorry I just found that funny (maybe that's just me) I'm assuming you were asking those who are american but moved? in England the education system is a bit different I think,I did a national diploma in childcare. The term college can be used over here for a few things, you can have a sixth form college, which you would go to after 16 if you want to stay on. Then a college which I went to which is an establishment which offers a few different studying options. Then you have university, which is what you guys call college I think, here you would study for a degree or a Phd etc, so basically further ed. (that's about right isn't it? fellow english people)

Whether you should travel abroad to study or not is really a matter of personal choice and opportunities arising to do that. I couldn't tell you which system is best cos well this is the only one I've ever known.

For anxiety I think the biggest tip I can give you at the moment is just taking things one step at a time. Set yourself targets which are manageable FOR YOU. Don't bother about what anyone else thinks is "easy" If accepting an invitation to a social event and GOING, staying for five mins then leaving is a big achievement then do that and be proud of yourself
Next time stay for ten minutes. Yes people might think you're a weirdo but hey who cares? lol yeah I know obviously we do care but I think the trick here is to confide in a trusted person who can go with you and give you a bit of support. Anyone who is worth being friends wit at the party, dinner whatever will try to understand your situation.
It's a great step going to see a coucillor, hopefully s/he will talk through with you some options about different therapies you could try. At the moment I'm looking at cognitive behavioural therapy which is pretty useful. Ask about that.
Hope everything works out brilliantly and keep us posted with your progress, whatever road you decide to take
Godbless


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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289347 - 11/08/06 08:47 AM
Sand

Reged: 12/13/04
Posts: 4490
Loc: West Orange, NJ (IBS-D)

Quote:

Does anyone else have any tips for how I can start to experience life while struggling with IBS and IBS-related anxieties? Or, is this just something I'm not going to be able to accomplish at this point?




I think counseling is a good idea. I would absolutely try the hypno. But I also think you should take a harder look at meds. I know a lot of people don't want to "overmedicate" but at your age I think you should be doing whatever it takes to make your life as livable as possible. Perhaps you can talk to your doctor about increasing your Lexapro dose. Perhaps you can talk to your doctor about an anti-spasmodic. (I take Donnatol but that's anti-spasmodic plus phenobarbitol so I don't drive when I take it and I don't know about mixing it with Lexapro.) Perhaps more aggressive use of Imodium will help.

I keep thinking about your not taking a van trip example. That would terrify me - trapped with strangers in a vehicle with no bathroom and no control over stopping for a bathroom except by risking humiliating myself by asking - well, begging. But if I eat safely (always, not just the day before) and I took a Donnatol and 2 Imodium before I left, I could do it. I might have to get up 4 hours before I was scheduled to leave to get my tummy settled down; I might have to chug hot peppermint tea the whole trip; I might have to eat another couple of Imodium along the way; I might have to take another Donnatol and therefore be less than sparkling company; I might have to plug myself into a hypno session - but I could do it.

And I think that's how you experience life while struggling with IBS. You figure out what you have to do to accomplish some scary thing - just one scary thing and it doesn't have to be as scary as the van trip from hell to start. You eat, sleep, wake up, tea, dose, drug, and hypno to get through that one slightly scary thing. Then when you've done it, you've got a little more confidence which means a little less anxiety for the next thing.

As for not being ready for adulthood, if it's financially possible for you, consider sticking around at college for another year. You're young enough to do it - I started college at 17 and ended up taking a year off in the middle - and it would provide a relatively safe environment to start pushing your boundaries. Figure out what adventures you want to have that you can't manage and start taking little steps toward having them.

HTH. I wish you all the best and welcome to the Boards.

--------------------
[Research tells us fourteen out of any ten individuals likes chocolate. - Sandra Boynton]

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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289348 - 11/08/06 08:50 AM
AstroChick

Reged: 12/30/03
Posts: 1023
Loc: Chicago, IL, USA

What I see in your post is that it's anxiety that's crippling you, not IBS. Believe me, IBS plus anxiety is horrible, IBS without anxiety is just annoying. And I'm sure adding on the inevitable graduation anxiety doesn't help!

It's almost a sure bet that if you find a way to manage your anxiety, you'll be able to navigate this a lot better. Hypnotherapy (including the CDs available on this site) is a proven therapy for IBS. A regular exercise program and/or yoga and meditation can also help. A lot of people are helped by antidepressant and antianxiety drugs.

One first step is to come to the intellectual realization that the fear is worse than the actual bowel ickiness. That thought helped me a bit, but didn't really kick in until I did the hypno CDs and realized that on an emotional/subconscious level. Now, even if I have an stress-related attack, I don't get into that "fight or flight" mode where I make myself sicker and sicker. I just bring along reading material to the bathroom, and keep drinking my peppermint tea.

You can turn this big scary IBS monster into an annoying yappy dog. Really.

--AC


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I love this post, AC. -nt- new
      #289352 - 11/08/06 09:00 AM
Sand

Reged: 12/13/04
Posts: 4490
Loc: West Orange, NJ (IBS-D)



--------------------
[Research tells us fourteen out of any ten individuals likes chocolate. - Sandra Boynton]

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Re: I love this post, AC. -nt- new
      #289372 - 11/08/06 11:25 AM
AstroChick

Reged: 12/30/03
Posts: 1023
Loc: Chicago, IL, USA

Thanks! It's been a long journey for me, who could be charitably described as "high-strung". But, interestingly enough, it was an easy journey once I decided to do the hypno!

--AC


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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289397 - 11/08/06 02:38 PM
vmars4eva

Reged: 11/05/06
Posts: 12
Loc: Illinois

You guys are recommending hypnosis a lot, which is something I've been thinking of doing for a while. I'm definitely going to give it a shot this winter break.

I tried going on an anti-spasmotic (sp?) medication a couple of years ago, and I could never tell whether or not it was being effective because it would trigger sickness half the time and make me 100 percent better the other half of the time. I've also tried peppermint, both in tea for and in a concentrated liquid, but it just wasn't helping me with the frequent bowel movements and constant sense of urgency.

Immodium AD and lexapro have been my saviors, literally. Lexapro finally was able to control some of the panic attacks and acute anxiety after two years of struggling with it and Immodium AD allows me to magically feel like a normal person for four hours by taking away the sense of urgency and the loose BMs. The problem with Immodium AD, though, is that sometimes I feel like there's "payback" for using it because I sometime have a pattern with it where I become constipated and then the next day I have a dreadful IBS day. I also feel guilty whenever I take it, because it feels like someday my body is going to get used to it and it'll stop working when I REALLY need it.

The lexapro also has a couple of sore points for me because it wreaks havoc on my sleeping patterns (and taught me the word "hypersomnia") and more dreadfully, I feel sometimes that lexapro takes away my "edge," or my ability to focus and concentrate on something, like my entire brain has been numbed and is working only at 60 percent capacity. Which is a terrible thing to happen when you're in college and every moment the very best is demanded of you, and also it's bad at my job at my university's newspaper where I'm expected to be creative.

Quote:

I keep thinking about your not taking a van trip example. That would terrify me - trapped with strangers in a vehicle with no bathroom and no control over stopping for a bathroom except by risking humiliating myself by asking - well, begging.




For whatever reason, I think it's mostly the risk of humiliating myself that terrifies me the most. I feel like these people that I was supposed to take the trip with are the editors that I work under and one of the people was my very fatherly advisor, and to have an IBS incident in front of these people I would feel would not only ruin my relationships with these people who are very important to me but would scar me for life. As other incidents where I've been in a bus/van/vehicle with other people and I've had the sense of urgency and panic attacks have scarred me, just for the enormous amount of anxiety alone.

I think one issue that has bogged me down during my whole struggle is the lack of understanding from my parents. They've been very supportive of the fact that I have this health problem, but they often yell at me and say stuff like I'm making the problem up or that I don't actually have irregular BMs and I don't know what I'm talking about. The problem gets really bad whenever I have to sit out of a family event such as going out for dinner (which is one of the hardest things for me because restaurants make me anxious because I always fear that I'll eat something that will trigger a nasty prolonged BM). Whenever I have to sit out of a family event, I get no support but instead vile anger for not participating, which is SO hard for me because I feel like it's my body's fault, not really the fault of me as a person.

As I've probably just illustrated, and what someone upthread has mentioned, by biggest problem really is the anxiety and the fear, not the IBS. I let the fear cripple me.

I feel now that all this happening to me couldn't have come at a worse time, because I really feel underdeveloped as a person because of dealing with anxiety and forgoing life events out of fear during my crucial late-adolescent years. It feels like I want to hit the reset button, but that's not going to happen.

Thankfully, I do have financial support from my parents for college, so staying another years at school is certainly an option. It's also smart for other reasons besides dealing with my IBS issues; I'm getting a degree in journalism, but as I'm learning in all my classes, print-journalism (which is what I'm trained to do) is dying fast and job opportunities are disappearing. This revelation is actually what triggered this recent wave of anxiety a week ago, out of fear of what the future holds and out of guilt for not choosing a better area of study.

And this brings up what's also been haunting me: guilt. I feel so, so guilty all the time that my parents pay for my college education (though I do contribute by getting lots of scholarship money and attending a relatively unexpensive school). I feel guilty because, I keep on thinking, if I didn't have financial support from my family and I had to pay for college all on my own, how on earth would I ever be able to deal with the IBS?

It's all this second guessing and this guilt that has really gotten me down this week.

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Re: Long-term consequences of IBS on life new
      #289706 - 11/11/06 01:05 AM
Sufie

Reged: 10/14/06
Posts: 148


Tom,

You can do anything you want---DO NOT let this ruin your life or control your life. You obviously have managed to get things under control to a good extent and will only continue on that path. I was recently diagnosed with IBS and until about 3 weeks agao have been VERY anxious and nervous about everything. I even thought my relationship would fall apart due to this disorder.

I realized that I could not let fear rule my life and I took control, I cook using Heather's book (an excellent buy by the way) which is very empowering and I educate myself to the max on everything related to IBS.

I think all the people that have responded to your post are very intelligent and experienced people with great advice. Listen to them and take things a day at a time by building up confidence in yourself. Do not make the mistake of selling yourself short of your dreams.

Best wishes,

Sufie

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