Dealing with IBS is exhausting, whether it’s tiredness brought on from a flare up, you’re your medication or just from the constant explanations to your family, your partner and you boss… it’s a truly tiring condition. Putting tiredness aside, you have the other symptoms to deal with including the cramping, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, back pain and more.
Finally there is the awful inner conflict you go through every time you have a flare up and yet had plans for that day. You have to deal with your mind and heart saying you really want to go to your friends birthday party, out for leaving drinks, to your partners family BBQ or on that first date and then you have your gut yelling “No’! Don’t do it!”
With all of this to deal with, the last thing you need is your partner, your family or your friend nagging to go, because ‘you look fine’ – probably one of the most frustrating comments I have to deal with on a regular basis.
So, here’s a few things you can do to be more supportive to those of us with digestive disorders…
Don’t say “But you look fine”
This is truly frustrating! Believe me, when we decide to cancel on a social event, or buck up the courage to tell our boss we need to go home, we don’t take the decision lightly! We will already have had an entire argument with ourselves, and so don’t need anyone arguing with us about it or laying on the guilt trip!
Show your support
Whether it’s just a hug, a bunch of flowers we like to know you understand and you care. To go one step further, you could buy a dietican appointment for your partner who is just embarking on the Low FODMAP Diet, or you could buy a Low FODMAP Cookbook, or invite them for a meal and not need to ask “So what is it you can’t eat?”
Give them some space
If we tell you we’re not feeling great, one of the best things you can do (in my opinion anyway) is to leave us alone! Going to the toilet when symptoms flare up is bad enough, let alone if there are people in the house! And once we make it out of the bathroom we probably just want to try to sleep it off. We aren’t trying to be horrible or ignore you, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, this condition is exhausting in so many ways! So just say “I’m popping out for a bit” and I bet you’ll see a slight smile on their face!
So there’s just a few ways you can show your support to someone with IBS or another digestive disorder. We aren’t all the same, but I imagine these three things will keep them knowing you’re on their side and support them.