At The IBS Network, we get letters; lots and lots of letters. Janice’s letter arrived this this morning and struck a chord!
Hello I’m Janice. I’ve suffered from Irritable bowel syndrome for 20 years. It flares up whenever I get stressed or especially angry or anxious. I’ve had so much tension in my life this year, I’ve never really had a break. My mother-in-law never stops causing me anxiety, but now I’ve had it with her. I’m taking no more. I just lost my brother to cancer which hasn’t helped. I don’t drink or smoke but I’m riddled with arthritis, and take anti-depressants which help me sleep through the pain at night.
I understand IBS more than I did. Thank you for explaining it to me. Spinal exercises keep my muscles and joints better. I try to eat healthily but with all the carry-on this year, I started eating chocolate for comfort. I’ve stopped that now and I’m hoping to lose another stone in weight. I’ve lost over 7 already just by eating carefully. I’m going to stay away and get my head sorted so I can lose the weight. Thank you for listening,
IBS is rarely a illness that comes out of the blue to afflict us. There is always a context. For Janice, struggling to cope with her weight and her arthritis, it is the mother-in-law who gets to her guts and twists and wrenches them out of kilter. We can only imagine how this woman messes with Janice’s mind but clearly she or the thought of her undermines all the efforts Janice is making to rebuild and get on with her life.
You can only help yourself better if you have the space and time to do it. Janice knows what to do and she understands the cause of her IBS. Maybe she has reached a decision to let go of her mother-in-law or at least develop strategies that maintain a distance, a calmer place where she can cope. But we can only guess at the implications of this decision for her relationship with her husband, her children, her home. Change, even changing a mindset, takes courage and determination. Antidepressants and painkillers may dull the pain and help us put up with the most impossible situations, but if we are really going to get free, we need to be able to let go and find space to live our own lives out of the shadow of others – for enough of the time. And that may require facing the illness alone without somebody to blame it all on or somebody to lean on when things are impossible.
Life for some people can be a dungeon and IBS the instruments of torture. But so often the door to our prison is open if we can dare to walk though it. Janice may have reached the point in her life where some change is imperative. She sounds as if she is taking responsibility for her illness, accepting help where necessary and finding the space to heal. It’s the way to go!
Great blog and I love the photo.
Thank you, Joan.