For me, feeling alone behind the mask was one of the worst parts of IBS.
Putting on the “Everything is fine” mask during the day.
Then getting home and putting on that “I’m doing what I can” mask while doing the chores and then bloating on the coach.
And there we live, behind the mask with that deep feeling that no-one lives the same life we do.
No-one else can really relate.
They just don’t get it.
They just don’t see how hard it is.
I get it. I see you. I’ve been there, and even if I no longer suffer with IBS, I’m still there on other subjects.
Keeping it to yourself
We don’t show them. We don’t talk about it any more.
So we can avoid the “You should…” crap from people who have NO idea. They want you to feel better.
But that doesn’t make you feel any better. It just makes you feel even more alone.
Although we want connection, not being able to have a simple meal or a drink out without suffering from the consequences makes socializing so complicated.
The thing is, whether you realise it or not, there are probably other people in your life or that you pass by that have IBS, and are wearing the mask too. And they are feeling alone.
Granted, that’s not the sort of thing you chat about at the coffee machine. But watch for the signs.
Can you see other people feeling alone too?
Look around you.
There are so many others wearing their “Everything is fine” mask too. Because they too feel they have something “wrong” with them.
They may just have got divorced, lost a loved one, be worried about losing their job, hitting menopause, or under pressure and not feeling good enough.
Or maybe they have a different hidden medical condition that they are fighting to get under control too.
All those people. All those masks.
All pretending they’ve got it all together. When no-one really has.
Maybe we have a lot more common with the next person than we may think.
What if we could finally show ourselves, warts and all. And take off that mask?
P.S. I’m not quite there either. I’m still hiding behind my articles rather than putting videos on Youtube! But I love creating an authentic, supportive, judgement-free space when I do IBS coaching, where clients get to take off their masks – often for the very first time.7