For a long time I did not feel at all concerned by idea that my IBS could have a stress component to it. I did not feel particularly stressed.
For me, IBS flare-ups were causing the stress. Stress was not causing IBS.
I found out later that while stress was not the only cause, it was an important part that I was overlooking.
I’m not stressed
Mentally I rationalised situations, saw the logic in them and mentally banished tension. But while my mind dealt with this reasonably well, and I was well rehearsed at putting on the mask, unbeknown to me my body was telling another story.
The real story.
I was listening to my mind, not my body – so I missed what it was saying. I didn’t even notice the tension in different parts of my body, because I was so used to it.
As I had always lived like this, I had no sense of what it could be like to live without worry and stress. I didn’t even know it was possible.
My husband told me one day that I was really stressed. I was sure I wasn’t. Then he got me to put my hands on my shoulders and feel how tight they were. Then I began to take notice.
Why you may not be feeling stressed
Everyone’s IBS is different and this may not be your case. But consider this:
And you were so used to stress that you had numbed out to it?
What if you have been swimming in it for so long – like a fish swims in water – and you just don’t see it?
Numbing out and not feeling may go back to your childhood. It may have been the way you learned to deal with angry, highly critical or abusive people. A trigger loop that is possibly still going round today.
Why does it matter?
If stress is making your IBS worse, then you can change that and become empowered. I outline how you can start to do this here.
You can start by adopting habits to gradually bring down your stress levels and your reactivity. This doesn’t cost money. But it takes time. And commitment.
Bringing down my stress levels and my reactivity laid vital foundations for recovery.
If you habitually numb out, as well as shutting out pain, you are also shutting out pleasure. If you would like to change that coping strategy, why not work with me?