Again, I apologise – I’m a bit late on the upkeep here, but the past few weeks have been perfect examples of how stress and being busy can all catch up with you and really take its toll. I think I speak for everyone when I say that sometimes, no matter what’s going on, you just have a bad day. You can’t necessarily put your finger on why that day is bad, or what’s made you feel low – but for some reason, your mood is heightened, you don’t usually feel like being around others and you just generally feel pretty ‘meh’. When you add IBS to the mix, this ‘feeling low’ period can be heightened even more unfortunately and you often have days, or even weeks, where you feel like a little shell of yourself, rather than being fully ‘you’.
I am a big one for isolating myself when I’m going through these periods, which can often look like I’m blowing people out, or simply not bothering to be social. In actuality, although I wouldn’t describe myself as a social butterfly, I love chatting to others and going out for drinks – so it’s disheartening to have to say no. When my stomach’s bad, my mood usually follows suit so I’m stuck in a vicious circle with seemingly no easy way out. It’s not particularly nice.
I know that where IBS is concerned (in a Symprove survey) over 40% of sufferers have or have been treated for depression, caused by their symptoms – so if you too have periods of feeling low, or tired, or drained then you’re not alone. It doesn’t make it any easier, but it’s a slight reassurance to know that you’re not the only one in the same situation.
A year or so ago, I was also told I have very low stomach acid (in addition to all the other lovely symptoms, lucky me!) which means that my body doesn’t absorb the nutrients from food like other ‘normal’ stomachs do, resulting in a very tired, poorly, low and drained Scarlett the majority of the time. Although I was given Betaine Hydrochloride to counteract this and build up my stomach acid normally, the levels fall low very easily and I often find the medication makes things a whole lot worse for me – so I don’t take it when I feel the need to.
It is reassuring to hear from so many other sufferers, who have kindly got in touch in their hundreds since I started this series – to let me know how IBS has affected them, however it was also upsetting to hear stories where this horrible condition has consumed a person’s life to the point they don’t want to live anymore. I can completely relate to this and quite often find myself in a state of frustration (which onsets a flurry of tears) thinking about how much easier things would be if I didn’t have this. Whilst it may be a non life threatening condition, it is all consuming, life dictating and in many respects – a life sentence of its own. I would love to be able to go somewhere, or book a holiday with friends, or a trip away, or a visit to someone’s house (and so on) without having to consider how it will affect me, interfere with my routine and aggravate my symptoms. Although it becomes a part of your life, it’s never a welcome addition.
I try and stay positive, and have the best mum in the world who consistently supports me, motivates me and drives me through life. Although sometimes she gets frustrated for me and often repeats ‘but you can’t let it rule your life like this’, she always cheers me up, is there for a hug and a bit of mummy reassurance when I need her. Similarly, my boyfriend is so understanding, supportive and kind – and never looks down on me, or thinks any less of me if I can’t do something. I am sure it is frustrating to not be able to plan things you want to do (because I’m fretting about how I’ll cope), he deals with it with grace and kindness, rather than disappointment, and it’s people like this (among many others) who help me stay positive and keep the bad thoughts at bay. When you’re feeling low, tired and drained, the negatives seem so much worse – but of course, with anything that is part of your everyday life, it’s not as though you can simply push it to the back of your mind and forget about it.
I’m not entirely sure where this instalment is going, I think I just wanted to talk about the fact that it IS normal to feel low, but that whatever happens – you will always have something worth living for. Find something you enjoy (maybe at home) which your stomach can’t interfere with (for me, it’s writing and blogging) and throw yourself into it when you’re feeling sad. I find that pouring my thoughts and feelings down on paper helps me to stay level headed (although I’m sure anyone that knows me will agree that I am anything but level headed), focused and motivated. Living with IBS is hard, strenuous and tiresome, but it’s by no means impossible. Turn it on it’s head and use it to motivate you. Everyone in this world will feel low at some point in their lives, even if they seem like the happiest person on earth – I promise you. You can’t avoid it. It’s finding a way to channel those emotions and feelings that is the key.
Symprove Week 5-6
It seems like I’ve been taking Symprove a whole lot longer than 6 weeks, because it’s integration into my routine was so seamless. I think the biggest difference so far is the far less frequent abdominal pains, which used to be crippling – usually preventing me from doing anything at all other than laying in bed with a peppermint tea and a hot water bottle. They haven’t gone away completely and I have had one bad day so far, but considering I used to suffer from them at least three times a week, if not more, this is a significant improvement. Similarly, in terms of general wellbeing – the vitamin C ingredients in the probiotic have meant that I have firmly kept all colds at bay. Whilst I used to pick one up at least once a month (yes seriously, I always seemed to have the flu), I haven’t had one in nearly three months. Yay! Although I have apprehensions about the coming weeks, I am hoping Symprove continues to work its magic!
Remember, if you’d like to try a three month trial of Symprove out for yourself, take a look at my giveaway here, or apply to work with Symprove for a video they are working on here (information at the bottom of the page).
Have a lovely Easter, and as always – feel free to get in touch!