Posted 3/21/2007 6:59 PM (GMT -7)
I post on Crohn's but occassionaly lurk here because the symptoms are so similar. When my crohns got really bad I started getting severe anxiety and dreaded going anywhere for fear of an accident. I saw a crohnic illnees/pain management therapist once a week for a summer and it made all the difference in the world. Ill give you a few highlights here and if you want more info email me. I highly recommend seeing a therapist though! The first is to become comfortable in your head of what is your absolute worst case scenario. For me worst case scenario would be in a car full of friends, stuck in traffic, and pooping my pants. Ok, so what seriously would occur if that were to happen. Would the world blow up? No. I would be embarassed, mortified, grossed out. My friends might gag at the smell and be sick. They would feel bad for me and it would be uncomfortable. But we would leave, I would go home and shower, and pay to have my friend's car cleaned, and life would go on. Next step, how to avoid this situation or make it more comforting to myself. Step one was to take my own car and drive by myself, friends in the other car. Next I got comfortable taking routes that had lots of public bathrooms and not a lot of traffic. I got myself comfortable with the idea that if an emergency arose, I was alone, and would make it to a bathroom. Then for longer rides I started getting comfortable with the idea of pooping in the woods. It would suck, but life would go on. I would be myself in my car and no one would have to know. That lead me to venture out further. Then I became comfortable going out with people as long as I was the driver. Then there was no doubt that I could get off any exit I wanted or pull over whenever I needed to. I still get really panicky if I get stuck in traffic somewhere without woods, like in the middle of the city or on a bridge. But Ive never had to run into the woods, since I started this plan. It was just a safety net. I even had plastic bags in my car to poop in if I was stuck in traffic on a bridge. Im sure I couldnt pull it off, but it was there. And if you are all by yourself on your way somewhere and have an accident, you can go home shower, burn the clothes, and it is your secret. It felt so good to get my independence back. Here is one final big help for me. I took a piece of paper and folded it into multiple squares. I labeled one square "times I felt great and went out", one "times I felt crappy but went out and everything went great", one "times I went out, felt crappy, got sick, but did well and made it to a good bathroom", and finally "times I went out, got sick, and it just went horrable, total nightmare." I was amazed to see that I only had 2 total nightmares and maybe 2 times that I felt great from the get go. The long lists were that I was worried and feeling icky and it just went great or that I was worried, feeling icky, but found good bathrooms. Looking at that proved to me that I was traumatized by the couple bad experiences and really focused on them when in reality they were just as numerous as days I felt perfect. MOST of the time, things went great. So each time I did something I dreaded, and it went fine, I added it to my list. You are totally on your way to getting back out there. I guess I ended up telling you everything here but I really hope it helps.