IBS is really two whole problems in one handy package. First you have the physical symptoms, which are no picnic – diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain – I could go on, but I have to go to the bathroom.
But then…you have the people. You know the ones I mean. Those smug, self-satisfied, unbelievably annoying people who just litter the planet with their perfect working bowels and their shiny, functioning intestines.
Dealing with healthy people’s reactions to your IBS can be exhausting. People laugh and tell bottom jokes, they look at you like you’re nuts, they explain in a patronizing voice how you should eat fiber to cure constipation and Imodium to cure diarrhea and then you’d be fine. They get angry when you cancel your plans and embarrassed when you really explain what your symptoms are – “Don’t tell me that!”, they cry. “That’s disgusting!” And they’re not the one who has to live with it.
Yes, basically, non-IBS people suck. So, what should you do with them. Unfortunately we can’t give ‘em all IBS for a month and see how they like it, so the only real alternative is education. Make them understand. And here are some ideas on how to do just that.
First, make them read some of the stories on IBS Tales and explain that these are typical stories – not exaggerated, not moaning wimps, just genuine IBS people trying to live their lives.
Then, get them to read the Introduction to IBS to get a feel for the thing.
And if, after all this, they’re still not behaving themselves, well – that’s their problem – you deserve support, and respect, and I think you’re all heroes, whatever they say. IBS people rule!