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.
And there we live, behind the mask with that deep feeling that no-one lives the same life we do.
No-one else can relate.
They just don’t get it.
They just don’t see how hard it is.
We don’t show them. We don’t talk about it.
Although we want connection, not being able to have a simple meal or a drink out without living “the consequences” makes socializing so complicated. This is where I started asking people round for coffee – and I could control what I had to eat and drink and deal with that for a shorter lapse of time.
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.
Especially behind their Covid mask. Feeling alone. Because they feel they have something “wrong” with them.
They may just have got divorced, lost a loved one, be worried about losing their job, 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.
Essentially human. Essentially the same.
Living with their pain.
If we could risk talking about our “problem” and really listen to someone else’s story too, then maybe we wouldn’t have to feel so alone.5