I live with Depression and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
“Depression is a medical illness that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Depression can cause physical symptoms, too.
Also called major depression, major depressive disorder and clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave. Depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn’t worth living.
More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply “snap out” of. Depression is a chronic illness that usually requires long-term treatment, like diabetes or high blood pressure. But don’t get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychological counseling or other treatment.”
I have been working hard- with the support of family, friends, and my doctor to manage my depression. Some days I truly feel like maybe I have beaten the monster.
Today, the monster fought tooth and nail, left me defenseless and infuriated, and won.
“Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects your large intestine (colon). Irritable bowel syndrome commonly causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating gas, diarrhea and constipation. Despite these uncomfortable signs and symptoms, IBS doesn’t cause permanent damage to your colon.
Most people with IBS find that symptoms improve as they learn to control their condition. Only a small number of people with irritable bowel syndrome have disabling signs and symptoms.
Fortunately, unlike more-serious intestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome doesn’t cause inflammation or changes in bowel tissue or increase your risk of colorectal cancer. In many cases, you can control irritable bowel syndrome by managing your diet, lifestyle and stress.”
This isn’t new to my life, but I am getting so worn down and my confidence honestly has seen better days. I am frustrated with myself mostly, disappointed, and just plain confused. There are days where being in my body is hell. Being in yoga school is simply magical, but not when you’re running to the staff bathroom constantly [staff bathroom is just one toilet with a door, room spray, and a lock. A blessing in my eyes] and wincing in pain when you spend all day sitting on the floor and doing asanas. I have the kind of IBS where it is both diarrhea and Constipation, alternating as my body wishes.
Some days are a real struggle for me between the IBS pain and embarrassment, and the stress and depressed thoughts. I can really be a pathetic excuse for a youthful glowing 18-year-old.
I just had my mid term exams for my Anatomy and Physiology class, I am at the point that I have IBS flare ups after I eat anything no matter how gluten-free dairy free etc. you can get it.
It seems my body likes the snowball effect.
I get stress/anxiety attack/sad/etc.-I get depressed I get ill- I get depressed because I am ill- more illness- more depression.
My depression and my IBS stems from stress often. So I saw this challenge on the horizon when I enrolled for this college course.
But no matter how prepared I was- with my colon relaxing drugs, strict diet, sleeping pills etc. It still feels like you’ve been thrown against a brick wall, face first, the bricks are sharp, skin tearing, cold, and unforgiving.
Running into “brick walls” happens often.
I am not saying no one else suffers from stress, but I just feel like I should be able to handle this by now. I was diagnosed with the IBS when I was 16, and the depression is being hog tied by the antidepressants. My TMJ headaches I have a pill for that, My Acid reflux- pill for that too, and I take a probiotic just to make my cocktail a larger handful every evening, don’t forget Birth control to help control my IBS and anxiety around that whole situation. God. My night table is a pharmacy.
I started my elimination diet up again. As my body confidence level is a joke. I never was a stick, I resembled more of a stump when I was in that awkward childhood fat stage. Not that I want to be super skinny, but when you feel heavy, dense, bloated, and just disgusted at your own body you want to have some control back. I respect my body, but I am at the point where I stare at myself in a full length mirror, this IBS, this bloated pain, is just so apparent. Its ugly, its distorting, it’s not sexy. I have begun to hate my body for it. I am self conscious, and it’s not like you can take off your abdomen, its permanent, its right there, up front and centre. So when I am having a sick day (which is almost everyday these days) walking by any form of a mirror is avoided. I never set up my mat near the wall mirrors in the yoga studio if I can help it. Putting on jeans is avoided, the pain in my lower large intestine sometimes makes wearing jeans difficult. IBS makes being feminine and sexy difficult. IBS, makes functioning in general difficult.
I just don’t want to be in pain constantly.
So when I was beginning to cry during pranayama practice this morning because of the discomfort, I really felt ashamed.
You can manage IBS, and obviously I haven’t found out how to do that yet.
I was pissed at myself, because I don’t want to miss out on anything because of my health issues.
I felt frustrated, let down, and embarrassed by myself.
I wanted to go home, crawl into bed, and disappear from this world. Maybe dream of an alternate world, where Sally didn’t have to take 7+ pills a day, where Sally didn’t have to constantly remind herself that depressed thoughts are a no no. I am guessing that is where I will also ride unicorns, drink beer, and eat as much cheesy pasta as I want.
Meaning- that will never happen.
I told my instructor that I needed to go home, but she insisted I stay.
I understand the whole bucking up and dealing with it to get my education. But frankly- I knew where I needed to be, and that was home, in bed, hidden from life’s stresses.
How am I supposed to concentrate when in the midst of a lecture, sitting is a no-go because my colon has decided to have a spasm. Nature doesn’t call in this situation. Nature shows up unexpected, giving no fucks whether you double over dry heaving while your colon literally feels like it’s being shredded. If you have ever looked inside a Pike’s mouth, see all those teeth? Okay, turn the pike inside out and then drag if back and forth inside your intestines.
Feels like hell; Doesn’t it?
I am blessed that IBS isn’t ruining my colon- I’ve got the colonoscopy, done the research, etc.
IBS is just ruining me, thats all.
So when I was laying there on my mat, crying in silence and begging my colon to hang in there, I began looking at the clock.
8 hours to go…
7 hours 45 minutes to go…
7 hours to go…
when I got to 6 hours to go- it reminded me of high school, counting down the hours, just wanting to get the hell out of there.
I did not pay good money to do that in a class.
For god’s sake how old am I ?
Self deprecating thoughts come flooding in.
I hate when I feel weak.
I hate giving up.
I hate this.
4th panicked bathroom visit I noticed someone else is in the staff washroom.
So I got back to my mat, tenderly sat down, and by this time I have no extra energy to plaster a smile on my face anymore.
For years, I have been told “listen to your body”
well – it was time to go home.
I found it hard to approach my instructors. I found I felt ashamed, and undeserving of getting the “permission” that I needed to be excused from class. I had never missed a weekend class in this course. Ever.
I missed one evening Thursday class when I was recovering from my wisdom teeth extractions. But from September to December- that is it.
Maybe it’s just the depression masking how I interpret things but I walked away from that situation feeling like my instructors doubted my dedication, and really were sick and tired of my “whinings”
I myself doubted my actions.
There is no protocol it seems when it comes to have a chronic illness not to mention a mental illness that has a risk of interfering in one’s schooling.
Is it a disability? I don’t know.
I was asked for a doctor’s note if I am going to keep missing classes.
I can do that, and I can get excused absences for the 2 classes I have missed.
actually one and a half. since I stayed until noon today.
But I left feeling as if I did something wrong, which caused more stress, more pain, I am pretty sure my face was in a attractive grimace as I sat on the bus, putting my bag on the seat beside me, because frankly bus etiquette was not my top priority at the moment.
I am pretty sure I looked like a grumpy cat…
I don’t want this to define me, I don’t want this to impact my life in a negative way, I want to win this struggle, I want to conquor.
I descended from fucking bad ass vikings- it’s not in my blood to be labeled as weak.
You never heard of weak vikings, never heard of a viking who whined and complained when all they wanted to do was roll into the fetal position on their yoga mat, you know what they did? they powered through, and got shit done.
Why can’t I do that?
Usually I can grin and bear it- but today I just felt…
I don’t know, emotional? extra depressed? Who knows.
Vikings also raped a lot of women and destroyed a lot of stuff. But right now if I viking was to take a yoga class, I am guessing they wouldn’t hijack and burn the yoga studio down…
I would like to say “no fucks were given today”
But I didn’t really feel that until I was in bed with my blanket over my head, blocking out reality.
Once I finally comforted and cooed my mind- reassuring myself that yes, health first, education second, I could finally doze off and forget about the pain temporarily.
I never liked “giving up” but in today’s situation I have to keep reminding myself that taking care of myself is not giving up.
I am still figuring this out, maybe I am missing some important pieces to my puzzle, but this is my journey.
Just happens to be that my journey includes a lot of bathroom breaks.