Heck no! You sound just like me! I've struggled with IBS for 20 years now. Of course, back when I was first "diagnosed", it was called spastic colon, or lazy bowels. I too used benzodiazepines for years and while I definately felt it helped me (probably more than any other drug or treatment), I actually did end up "hooked" on them. You might want to consider more natural ways to relax and deal with your anxiety.
I didn't have much luck with the anti-spasmodics as they almost always constipated me. Having been on both sides of the IBS fence, D and C, I'd have to say I'll take D any day.
I don't even use an alarm clock any more. My gut will wake me every morning, usually propelling me from the bed to the toilet. Just like you, even when I try to fall back to sleep, it won't let me. I try to make sure I get to bed early enough to guarantee at least 7 hours of sleep. This way, I won't be quite so cranky if my stomach cheats me out of 30 minutes in the morning.
For me, the greatest struggle is trying to meet my committments. I'm blessed in that I only work a few minutes from home in a very private and comfortable house where I am alone all day. The few folks I interact with during the course of the day all know about my "issues" so I feel as comfortable as I can when I have an attack and must run to the loo many times. So work is not a problem but making plans with family or friends presents a greater challenge. Tomorrow I am going to meet a friend for coffee and afterward a hair appointment. In addition, I have to drive 40 minutes to make this happen. I am already stressed about what my stomach might do. And I worry that I might have to cancel at the last minute. While my friends are all very understanding, it still causes me great sadness that this unpredictable and sometimes debilitating "syndrome" can cause such chaos.
I too worry about becoming a hermit, a prisoner to my fear about what might happen. It's also very difficult, if not impossible, to get really excited about participating in fun activites if your stomach is popping, gurgling, grinding, spasming, fulminating, knotting, twisting, knocking, and on and on... Just can't get excited about much when I feel that bad.
Western medicine has failed me utterly. I have taken propulsid (way back in the day), zelnorm, bentyl, levsin, prilosec, zantac, nexium, buspar, xanax, valium, klonopin, librium, zoloft, paxil, prozac, prednisone, enzymes, probiotics, stool softeners, bulk fiber, cleansing products, hydro colontherapy (that one worked!), macrobiotics, vegetarianism, therapy (20 years!), biofeedback, hypnosis, meditation, and probably a few others I am forgetting.
Here are my conclusions. I didn't start this by "storing stress" in my gut. In fact, I was a fairly calm person BEFORE my gut went to war with my brain. Now, 20 years later, the ONLY stress I have in my life IS my gut. That is where my stress originates. Fix my gut - no more stress.
IBS is completely without rhyme or reason for me. I have done EVERYTHING that has been suggested by specialists and naturopaths to help alleviate the symptoms. Some things work for awhile, and then stop working for no apparent reason. Some things don't work at all. I have ridden the roller coaster of high hopes when I thought I had discovered that THING that was going to work, only to be profoundly disappointed when the pain returns. Now, I don't get my hopes up ever, especially where doctors are concerned. And after the Zelnorm "breakthrough" which was touted as the quintessential "cure" for IBS C, I no longer have any hope that medicine will solve this problem in my lifetime. Maybe if trillions of dollars were being spent on research and commercials for IBS appeared on my TV screen every 10 minutes (like erectile dysfunction!), I might feel more optimistic. But I don't think bowel disorders attract money or attention like other physical problems. Heck, even restless leg syndrome gets more air time than IBS!
I took some classes on belly massage. I have found this helpful in relieving gas pain and helping jump start peristalsis. It's awkward though, as I really can't do this if I am out in public or visiting friends. I also find heat helpful so I use a heating pad on my belly. I don't eat most of the day because to do so would render me incapacitated for work and other activities. I wait until I know I will be home for the evening. I've been doing that for 15 years now so my body is used to it. I wouldn't recommend that as a course of treatment. Most folks can't abstain from eating all day without blood sugar problems. I try to focus on the good days rather than the bad. If I do have a good gut day, I really seize the opportunity to cram as much activity as I can into those hours. I have so many things to be grateful for in my life that I try to keep the problem belly in perspective (not always easy!). One positive that has come from all of this is that all my friends come to me when they have gut problems! Gut health has become something of a personal crusade for me!
If I were still able to take the benzo's responsibly, I would - you bet. They really did help with the anxiety associated with IBS.