Major anxiety

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.

4 Replies

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  • Well done. I've been fighting anxiety for a while and definitely see a relationship between that and my IBS and with the help of a therapist I'm slowly coming to terms with and addressing it. I'm even my own worse enemy at times. Quite often, my anxiety is sparked because I want to do too much and I can't - FOMO is definitely killing my mojo! And I've had the same experiences as you with needing to go to the toilet at inappropriate times and finding that the feeling passes. Equally when it comes to going for a pee. I think I have conditioned myself so that at certain times I will feel like I need to go and it's purely as a distraction and if I refocus the urge passes.

  • Oh wow, that's totally me. The phantom poo: yes! The going as many times as possible before going out to help mind think nothing in me to come out do what's the problem? I do all those things. And the waves of panic......well described 😃. I feel like I'm plugging this product but I do swear it helps heaps. It's a tube of Enterosgel, which I buy on Amazon. Pretty expensive so I don't use it as it says. I only use once or twice a day or if I know I need to get up and out of house early the next morning I will use it 3 times the day before and again in the morning. It send to calm everything down. Plus maybe there is some psychosomatic element to it also, but who cares if it works? I find it very difficult to leave my confort zone, which if my house, because I have 3 toilets at my disposal and to leave them behind when I go out send me into panic mode, but I do seriously think this gel works. Give it a go atleast. None of the other similar type gels do the job, sadly, as they are signicantly cheaper. Let me know how and if it works for you. Good luck, I feel for you x

  • It's a tough one. I suffer from generalised anxiety plus IBS. Pain from IBS very bad at moment with loose bowels and all foods painful to eat. Been referred back to the gastroenterologist. I used to be on two tricyclic antidepressants, imipramine and clomipramine. Then I was taken off the clomipramine gradually as it's apparently harmful to be on two tricyclics long term. I think the change could have sparked my current flare up however it can flare up with no obvious trigger. When I am anxious the pain does increase, a while ago I saw a therapist to learn relaxation techniques and anti anxiety techniques. Cutting out wheat about ten years ago made a big difference, then I had to cut out meat. At the moment I'm trialling dairy free and completely gluten free. Signed off work due to pain, which doesn't help the anxiety.

  • imagine suffering both OCD and ibs -d together ..i really wonder why am i still living !! my plans for every single day are the same : 1- wake up 2-trying to survive the day battling both OCD and IBS brutal attacks 3 - sleep if i can 😳😩.

    God bless all members of the family living with me and putting up with all the agony that I have to go through every day.

    So, don't be surprised of the time between actual waking up and getting out of bed ..it could be hours because of severe exhaustion since I've been starving my self as a desperate way of reducing bathroom trips 😥

    Just sharing since we're all in this endless circle together .. waiting for medical science to offer something that will make IBS a thing of the past..hopefully 😔

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