Scary With You is Better Than Scary Without You

Some-one wrote that I was incredibly honest, shamelessly honest. But right now, I’m about to be shamefully honest – I am full of shame for how I am feeling about the topic that I am choosing to write about today.

I have fibromyalgia (you know that) and, before that, I suffered with 3 years of debilitating depression. It has been a VERY long time since I have felt good, alive, normal. I can’t remember what it feels like to fully enjoy life; and I definitely have no idea how to enjoy life as a grown-up.

Before all of this, I worked on a cruise ship so life was just one big party – now, I’m supposed to be an adult with a career in law. And, I don’t know how to be that kind of normal.

So here comes the shameful part: I’m scared of getting better!

I’ve felt bad for so long, and I don’t know who I am without being sick. It’s almost like a screwed-up safety blanket. In the state I’m in now, I don’t need to deal with real life; I can hide away in the darkness of my bedroom; I can put my head in the sand; and pretend that nothing is going on around me.

And I’ve gotten used to sleeping when my body tells me to (not an alarm clock), spending lots of quality time with my Mommy, meeting my whole neighbourhood.

Doesn’t that sound awful?

In between the depression and FM, I had a short period where I think life was normal (although I was already feeling unexplained pain, fatigue and sensitivities) so I might just be afraid that, if I get better, it won’t stay that way.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t know what to do when I start feeling better, if I start feeling better. It’s terrifying and I don’t understand that. I should want to get better with my whole heart and, in some ways, I don’t.

During this time, I have found I have very few friends, very few people I can depend upon (although a couple of surprises have popped up) and I’m petrified that I will doubt future relationships forever (whereas, right now, it feels like I won’t even make those relationships).

I’m worried that I won’t be able to continue where I left off with my career – I was already an old first-year lawyer; now I’m an even older first-year lawyer, who may not remember anything she learned during her 6 years of study.

I’m scared that I will never get out of this hole of debt that I have accumulated while being sick – but, if I stay sick, I have an excuse.

I’m frightened that I can’t handle normal life – with work, make-up, driving, washing, cleaning, paying bills, social obligations, continuing professional development…oh, and the list just goes on.

I’ve lost SO MUCH time and I feel VERY sad about that.

What we go through each and every day is horrible, but after so long, it becomes normal… And while it seems ridiculous to be afraid of getting better, it may (probably!) just be a fear of change…It doesn’t seem right to feel this way, but I do.

BUT I really don’t have a choice… I have to try to get well and I’m scared.

And It All Comes Back to the Poo!

***This is NOT dinnertime reading! Do NOT read if you are easily offended, nauseous, or just don’t like to talk about bowel movements***

Isn’t it funny, we all go to the toilet, but we don’t like to talk about it, particularly number twos.

Today, I had a ‘normal’ bowel movement – but what is considered to be a ‘normal’ bowel movement?

A bowel movement should be soft and easy to pass, though some people may have harder or softer stools than others. In general, stool should be brown or golden brown, be formed, have a texture similar to peanut butter, and have a size and shape similar to a sausage. In many cases, a stool that varies a bit from this description is no cause for alarm, especially if it is an isolated incident.

It seems that most of us, especially those with IBS issues, never have a ‘normal’ bowel movement. In fact, our ‘normal’ is more likely to be those ‘really difficult to push out rabbit droppings type,’ or the ‘rush to the closest toilet explosion,’ or even the ‘my ass is dribbling type.’

Most of us who live with FM also have IBS. FM and IBS are co-diagnosed in up to 70% of FM patients. IBS (also known as irritable colon, spastic colon, mucous colitis, or spastic colitis) is a disorder of the bowel, or large intestine. It is characterized by severe abdominal pain and cramping, changes in bowel movements, and a variety of other symptoms.

It has been estimated that as many as two-thirds of all IBS patients have FM, and as many as 70% of FM patients may also have IBS. These statistics differ greatly from the corresponding rates in the general population, where only 10%-15% of individuals are estimated to have IBS. It is unknown if the two conditions are related symptomatically or causally, or if their frequent co-occurrence is merely a coincidence.

Adding pain killers to the mix can be frustrating and painful.

Now, the ‘really difficult to push out rabbit droppings type’ tends to be a constipation. Constipation means different things to different people. For many people, it simply means infrequent stools. For others, however, constipation means hard stools, difficulty passing stools (straining), or a sense of incomplete emptying after a bowel movement. This is called fecal impaction, a condition in which stool hardens in the rectum and prevents the passage of any stool.  According to reports in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, constipation or infrequent stools occur in 30% of FM sufferers.

Constipation also can alternate with diarrhoea. Diarrhoea is an increase in the frequency of bowel movements, an increase in the looseness of stool or both. It is caused by increased secretion of fluid into the intestine, reduced absorption of fluid from the intestine or rapid passage of stool through the intestine. This is the other two types of (what I refer to as) our ‘normal.’

My point to all this crap (Ha! Ha! Lol!) is that I get used to the IBS stuff: I have cramps, I take Buscopan; I have diarrhoea for too long, I take Immodium; and, if I’m constipated, greasy fish and chips seems to do the trick. But when I have a ‘normal’ poo, it feels like it is dragging all my insides out with it. It’s tiring and it’s physically draining. It leaves my body feeling empty (but not in a good way!).

So, is this what ‘normal’ feels like?

Further Reading: