No, I haven't been "cured" of my IBS. BUT, this weekend I managed to throw my depression and social phobia into remission by pushing myself OUT of my comfort zone. The primary motivator? MONEY.
As many of you know, I lost my job in February and have been struggling on umeployment since. I had the opportunity to make some serious bank this weekend by filling in for a friend who cooks at a retreat center in the mountains, about 90 minutes from my home. I was to cook elaborate breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts (and snacks!) for 30 people from Thursday to Monday. Fourteen hour workdays and a comfy private room pursuaded me to stay on the premises, even though I generally don't travel well and never stay overnight ANYWHERE. I was pretty content until I saw my designated private toilet, which had that handicapped contraption affixed to the top, lifting me so far into the air that my feet literally didn't touch the ground. Since I've conditioned myself at home to use a stool when sitting on the loo, this position was as counterproductive to a good bm as standing on my head would be! Lo and behold, the creepy well water or the general stress of so much work contributed to an extreme case of D for three days, so at least things were moving. Unfortunately, this was not the "good" D, the kind that comes and empties and disappears. It felt more like the food poisoning type, with the cramps and pain and trips to the bathroom every 20 minutes. BUT, I managed to soldier on, WITH A SMILE ON MY FACE, and get the work done. I collapsed into bed each night at 9 pm and literally passed out, stomach rumbling and gurgling but too exhausted to care. I honestly feel I entered into an altered state, carried along by something bigger than me, forcing me to continue regardless of the discomfort factor. It really was amazing.
So many revelations have resulted. I made a TON of cash so it was all worth it. I won't have to worry about bills for at least two months now and I also made a great connection with one of the retreat participants who is interested in hiring me to cook for her family. That would solve my unemployment situation!
I realized that I can move outside the comfort zone when I choose (if the payoff is great enough) and that distraction is an essential part of managing IBS symptoms. It wasn't until I finished each day and retired to my room that I really focused on my symptoms of discomfort and pain. While busy and working, it's simply impossible to devote that much time and energy to obsessing about IBS. Too much to do and people are depending on me! As a general rule, I try to avoid getting into situations where I might disappoint people but this time, I really pushed myself. What a joy-filled surprise to discover I have the capacity to function, even when I feel icky.
This opportunity could not have come at a better time both financially and emotionally. I was really sinking into a rut about the unemployment situation and lack of structure in my days. I was beginning to question if this chronic "illness" would ever allow me to work efficiently again or if I would find structure and a high stress job impossible at this point. I am happy to report that I've still got the ability to rise to the challenges of life, even if the gut doesn't always cooperate!