I have a lot going on right now, but this whole thing it's making it worse, a friend suggested that I make a diary, my IBS diary, so here I am. I'll warn you in advance, there'll be some oversharing, but there'll be laughs too. I guess I'm kind of hoping there are other people out there plagued by a crappy syndrome (bad joke I know), and maybe you'll get a laugh, maybe this might help someone else...
I feel like I should start with all the things they didn't tell me when I was diagnosed with IBS, so here goes. This could be a long list.
They didn't tell me that no food would ever be safe again, that one day a food would be fine and the next it would cause me to writhe around in pain with horrendous gas before spending an hour on the loo.
They also never told me that all the medications for IBS are almost entirely useless for most people who actually have IBS. That I could pop Buscopan until I was blue in the God damned face I would still get those cramps and cry on the toilet.
TMI I'm sure you'll think, but I'm writing this from the toilet. My white porcelain throne, spend most of my life here. They never told me how I'd become so attached to a private bathroom. How using a public toilet would cause me to hyperventilate, even if I only wanted a pee...
My doctor never told me that poo would become so normal that I could discuss it with anyone anywhere. Or that it would take 3 years 7 months 1 week and 4 days before this would happen.
They never told me about the looks I'd get from complete strangers when I walked out of a disabled toilet, even though I had a key and a card to explain why. That look that questioned why I needed to use a disabled loo, I mean when clearly I could walk and talk and think all by myself. I'm still not used to that. Or the guilt that rises when I walk out to find someone in a wheelchair waiting. Even though I couldn't wait.
They never mentioned that sinking feeling, the one I get when I'm somewhere I can't go, there aren't many of those anymore. Sometimes you gotta bite the bullet. Sometimes I don't have a choice. Because shitting in a public bathroom is definitely less embarrassing than having 'an accident'.
Or that I'd actually worry about having accidents at 22 years old.
They never told me that there would be days that I was so bloated my best friends son would ask if I had a baby in my belly like his mummy did. I had to laugh.
They never mentioned that it would have such a profound impact on my confidence. That as a young single woman I would worry about going out and meeting guys in case the morning after I had a flare up. Or that back when I was in a relationship I'd have to break into the bathroom while he was in the shower because I just couldn't hold on any longer.
That any kind of stress would turn me into a crap factory. Which naturally caused more stress, which caused more shit and so on and so forth.
Or that the stress of flying, the anxiety of having to have an IBS poo on a fucking plane, would paralyse me, glued in that tiny chair too terrified to stand in case gravity made something go south fast.
Naturally because they didn't tell me about any of these things I suddenly found myself thrust into a whole new world. One that very much revolved around a toilet. And it began as you might expect with a near miss.
I can quite easily recall exactly when and where it happened. I was at college, 17 years old. I felt my stomach twist up, tied in a knot, getting tighter and tighter. I remember running, sliding, into the toilet in the cubicle. Just made it. Just.
It was a learning curve.
I never left it that late again. Not that it changes anything, there are still times when I only just make it. There have been times when I just haven't been quick enough.
It's been 5 years and I've lost count of the amount of near misses. I remember the first accident. I had gas. Well I thought it was gas, I was alone in my room, and yes girls fart too. I was alone, relaxed no reason to hold in the gas. Better out than in as they say. It wasn't gas. I was mortified, it was the second most embarrassing moment of my life. (I'll side track to the most embarrassing moment at some point I'm sure.) I am still so grateful that I was alone. But it didn't matter, it was so embarrassing. At 19 years old I had to put my underwear and pyjama pants in a bag, inside another bag inside the bin bag into the bin and then go shower. I didn't feel clean for a long time. I felt betrayed by my own body.