Writer Lia Serbyn has written a funny, but all too real article on the toll Irritable Bowel Syndrome can take on one’s relationships.

IBS doesn’t exactly enrich your love life. It behaves like a stalker slapped with a restraining order; it’ll show up any damn time it pleases because it knows you have no serious protection against it.

Her experiences are similar to mine. Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects all relationships, not just romantic ones. Even close friends & family can seemingly turn on you, becoming frustrated with your illness. Maybe it’s a survival of the fittest animal instinct that comes into play. The desire to leave the straggling Wildebeest behind the herd as a “decoy” to the lions. Perhaps it’s not as sinister as that… Perhaps it’s just frustration. You’d love to go on that long road trip, you’d love to go over for dinner or go out to a movie, you’d love to go to the beach… But you… Just… Can’t.

Not only do you battle with family & friends when these things come up, but you also battle inside within yourself. There is always that squeaky voice in the back that goes “maybe this is your fault, maybe you’re doing something wrong, perhaps you need to try harder!”. This isn’t helped as you read stories of people doing amazing things while battling things like Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Gastroparesis. So you do “try harder”, you try a new medicine, herbal remedies, you start yet another regimen of probiotics(perhaps this brand will be the key!). You go out, you try to focus on having a good time but then IBS rears it’s ugly head at you yet again. Here you are again, at a public restroom, cramping up & nauseated. Back to square one, back to reality.

It’s frustrating & depressing, but in some ways it’s cathartic to know that you’re not the only one who struggles on a daily basis. That just because you’re not running a marathon or doing something amazing despite your disease, it means you’re at fault for letting it consume your life. Relax. Chill Out. Do the best you can. Maybe someday this ship will turn around.