IBS – Irritable Being Syndrome
I’ve realised that there is one thing that can toss my entire day around – an upset tummy. So when I meet people battling irritable bowel syndrome, my heart goes out to them. I cannot imagine and don’t even want to imagine the pain and stress of living with this niggling demon. But there are other aspects that I notice; aspects that go beyond the body.
Irritable bowel syndrome affects the large intestine whose main function is to absorb water from the undigested food and eliminate that undigested food and fibre. This is what the books say. Irritable bowel syndrome screws with your mind and heart as it becomes more and more chronic. This is what I’ve observed life says. The symptoms are beyond stomach cramps or constipation. It makes you feel like there’s some major hormonal imbalance causing mood swings and constant uneasiness. I’ve seen my closest friend go through this dark drama for many years and if there was a way I could undo it all for her, I so would.
I look at pain (any pain) from three angles – physical, mental and emotional. And I’m not talking about the symptoms or the effects we see and experience. I’m looking for the roots within these three systems of our being. I’ve noticed that people with digestion issues are often averse to change. They are unable to digest life. They can absorb the nutrition aka the joy, but they are unable to discard the waste as in the negative experiences. They want many things to happen but they move very slowly. Too much time is spent in thinking, overthinking and it’s more about waiting for it to happen than making it happen. There’s also this intense stress and often anxiety about what will happen when the desire comes true. So it’s like you want something, but you don’t want anything to change either.
One of the ways to help the healing process, to speed up recovery is to slowly work on these thinking and feeling patterns. The mind plays a very important role in helping the body heal. And our emotions, the way we process them makes an impact too. Think about your patterns that could be intensifying the IBS. Take some time out to observe; question yourself lovingly. You’ll see the triggers and they’ll be beyond what you’re eating.
Another observation I’ve made through my clients is that anger, frustration and “why me” are the loudest negative emotions for them. They often bottle things up which leads to stewing of those thoughts and feelings deep in one’s belly. In my books, repressed anger is a sure shot trigger for severe acidity. You feel that burn. The stomach rejects anything good because it’s so full with all that’s bad in our lives.
If you are battling IBS and if you find yourself struggling to accept change, teach yourself to enjoy the new. Open up… it’s okay. Take small steps to be just a little bold and adventurous in daily life. Whatever shifts, know that you can adapt. You will adapt.
Stop being irritable towards life. You are very sensitive and the chronic pain has lowered your resilience even more. Work on building it back up with the right coping mechanisms. First cope with the pain on all three levels, manage it comfortably. And then move towards healing it completely.
Here’s my three step healing strategy:
1. Physical – take meds or follow the naturopath’s instructions – do what you need to ease the body’s discomfort and pain. Follow the doctor’s instructions and find an alternative healing modality to complement it.
2. Mental – identify the mindsets that need to change. Think of being open and accepting towards all that life offers you. Build a mindset that allows you to change and adapt to change easily.
3. Emotional – identify the loudest negative emotions, be it anxiety or anger and learn to process them efficiently. Teach your mind to manage these emotions instead of letting them take over your mind.
And here’s the biggest truth for all of us whether we have IBS or not – change is the only constant. Read that phrase again and again. If change is the only constant, things are temporary, life is transient. This means the pain you’re experiencing today can change too. So let it heal. Know that this too shall pass.
Disclaimer: This post like all others about the body-mind-heart connection with regards to illnesses and physical ailments are based on my experiences and observations. These opinions are not the be all and end all of healing the pain. It’s merely one perspective.