Thought I'd share an experience I had yesterday with you guys. It's more focused on my anxiety attacks but as my anxiety and IBS go hand in hand and tend to set each other off, I guess it's still relevant.
So I had an important (and long!) work meeting yesterday. It was in an office that I'd not visited before and I knew it was likely to go on for 2+ hours. All of my triggers are right there - new place, strangers, long time confined in a formal meeting where I can't excuse myself for the loo without it looking obvious.
So about ten minutes in the panic started and so did my stomach. Despite forcing myself to go to the loo several times before the meeting (I often find that if I can go and make myself feel 'emptier' it makes me think that I won't need to so urgently go as there's nothing left inside me...barmy I know!) I started to feel twinges in my tummy - lots of bubbling and what felt like gas. The panic and heaviness in my chest and the tingling in my legs started and I can only describe it as coming in waves...like it would build and build and then hit a peak before dying down then coming back again.
This went on for the first hour of the meeting and I think I hid it pretty well. I felt as if I was shaking but I don't think I actually was. I tried to subtly control my breathing and focus on what was happening but I still kept thinking 'right, any minute now I'm going to have to excuse myself'. But I didn't. And although I felt bloated and drained, after the first hour or so things calmed down, my stomach felt normal and I was OK.
It was still an ordeal for me and I really hate feeling that way for no good reason but I'm proud that I managed to control it and that I didn't dash out for a phantom poo! Having said that, today my stomach has been really sore and bowel habits have been erratic so it just shows the effect that that level of stress can have on you.
Sorry for the ramble but I find writing about my anxiety helps me feel a little better. I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who suffers with anxiety and IBS together and how you manage it.