Oh Shit

***WARNING: GRAPHIC POST AHEAD!***

The fear started when I was a toddler. I remember being terrified that something was coming for me in the dark. I bargained with the fear-if the blanket was tucked completely around me, save a tiny breathing hole, it couldn’t get me. Whatever it was.

Later the fear was tied to action. If I did X properly nothing bad would happen. I had an imaginary friend. Laura Ingalls Wilder. My Mom read the books to us when I was very young and I loved the TV show. Albert (a creation of the show-clearly I wasn’t a purist) and his friend-funny I can’t remember the friend’s name were also imaginary friends, rather they were imaginary nemeses. Laura and I were a team and the guys were a team. They were so real to me that my memories of them are some of the clearest from early childhood. Everything we did was timed. As long as Laura and I won we were safe. I was safe. My family was safe.

After I got my period the Irritable Bowel Syndrome started. The pain of cramps was somehow tied to taking a crap. I started to get diarrhea all the time. Thankfully that was when imodium started being available over the counter. You know that 5th pocket in jeans? The tiny one for coins on the upper part of the right front pocket? All through high school that pocket had two foil wrapped imodium in it. The diarrhea was my biggest shame. Anytime I horsed around with friends I’d be terrified they’d feel something in that little pocket and want to know what it was. I lived in fear that someone would discover my secret.

I’ve had IBS for well over 20 years. The whole time the driving force behind my anxiety was the fear that I’d shit myself in public even though that had never happened. Well, not until today.

Too much information, right? Totally inappropriate and gross that I’m declaring on the internet that I crapped myself today. What the hell am I getting out of writing about this? The old me, back when I was rocking borderline personality disorder, would have done it to punish myself. But I’m not that person anymore. I’m writing about it because it shouldn’t be a big deal. I am horribly upset and embarrassed by it, but I shouldn’t be. I have an anticipatory anxiety disorder. It’s pretty bad. I’ve been in therapy for many years because I’m trying to help myself, but it is a chronic disease that I will have to manage for the rest of my life. I’ve been a wreck for the last week because I’m so scared of this stupid 5K tomorrow morning. As my Mom would say my bowels have been in an uproar. I’m trying to challenge myself, do something good for myself, participate in life. The anxiety is trying to prevent that from happening. So shit happens. Literally and figuratively. I’m tired of being ashamed of my anxiety and what it does to my body.

This morning my stomach was upset, but it was my last chance to go for a jog before the race. Quarter of a mile from my house I thought I had to fart. Turns out I was incorrect. The quarter of a mile run back to my house was just about the longest of my life. Go ahead. You can laugh. I’m laughing as I type. It helps me not cry.

Z came into the bathroom as I was cleaning myself up. Seriously, no boundaries in our marriage. It works for us. He told me I needed to go back out and finish the run. I told him to go fuck himself. He told me if I didn’t do it I might not do the race tomorrow or go back out for a jog ever again. I hated him. Because he was right. Thankfully I now have two pair of running pants so I asked him to get me the other pair.

I took three imodium. I washed out my pants. I cried a little. I went to the bathroom two more times. And then I jogged two miles. Without shitting myself.

Listen, I’m a white hot fucking mess. Have set up residence in crazytown and I’m definitely not moving out until the race is over tomorrow. It’s so bad that I’m wondering if it was a mistake to sign up for the race at all. Why am I putting myself through this nonsense? I don’t know what the right answer is. Where the balance between challenging myself to take part in life and recognizing when something is too much for me to handle is.

But Z was right. If I didn’t go back out and finish the jog I’d let myself quit forever. Who the hell knows what is going to happen tomorrow. I mean, fingers crossed I do not shit myself again. I will definitely be taking way too many imodium. But I’m going to try and do this thing.

I’m tired of feeling ashamed. As I was jogging the second time I thought about if I wanted to write this post. Because if it is out there it is always out there in internet land. Future employers and all that jazz. But then I thought about the fact that this very thing has happened to several of my friends. Yup, my friends text me about their pooping disasters. I sort of love being that person. So if it has happened to my friends it stands to reason it has happened to a bunch of people. I’m writing about it to say that we shouldn’t feel bad. Shit happens, people. Shit. Happens.

The funny thing is this is something I’ve been dreading for more than two decades and it finally happened. You know what? I don’t feel any different. It didn’t change who I am as a human. In fact, it was rather anti-climactic. Yup. Shit happens. It is honest. It is uncomfortable. And I’m choosing to believe it just isn’t that big of a deal.

photo (15)

My boy and some lady who shat herself, cleaned up, and ran for another two miles.

the crew

My wonderful sisters-in-law and niece are in town. A couple of years ago they spent Thanksgiving here and got to know the couple that we are closest to in town. It’s fun when you introduce fantastic people to each other.

t photgraphs

T’s Aunt Ellie is an amazing photographer. She taught T how to take a picture with her super fancy camera.

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15 thoughts on “Oh Shit

  1. Thanks for sharing. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 1989 and I have the same fear. I’m an elementary teacher, so I can’t just go to the restroom whenever I feel the need. I’m glad to hear that it wasn’t as traumatic as I have imagined. I will go for days and not eat because I can tell that my intestines would not be able to handle any food. Hang in there. Running has improved my condition incredibly!

    • Oh man, I am so very sorry that you have to resort to not eating in order to not have an accident. Crohn’s just sucks. Glad that you have found something that helps.

      And thank you. Your comment means an enormous amount to me. I’ve been sitting here feeling like a jackass for posting about something so private. Your comment made me immediately feel like it was worth the embarrassment. Seriously, thanks.

  2. Manure occurs. I’m reaching the age where Depends will be in my future….but I also remember when I was younger and running a lot just barely making back home more than once……

  3. I’m pretty sure the technical term you are looking for here is “sharted”. You’re welcome. I’m also pretty sure our friend C was present one fateful day when my beloved husband had a similar “incident” on our boat and we all almost died laughing. I’m cheering you on from afar tomorrow! Run like the wind!

  4. On my first overnight date with my husband (he was living 8 hours away in Canada and I visited him for the weekend) I clogged his toilet with a tampon. On the second visit I got food poisoning and threw up all over his bathroom. I thought it was bad but he told me that he had thought it was a fart and had shit his pants on the couch…and turned the cushion over. It’s these ridiculously human stories that we can all connect to…and at the end of the day…we all survive.

    Like, I used to have a fear of being naked in public. And then I was dancing with my dad at my wedding and my dress fell down and I flashed my right boob to my dad (and probably the whole reception, though nobody says anything) I survived, and even kept dancing! Because if you let anxiety win…well..that’s no fun.

    Good luck on your run!

  5. I thoroughly enjoy your posts. They are real life. I felt compelled to share my story with you. I pooped myself in front of a live audience. My “ex” husband told me to take 3 ex-lax one night because I was doubled in pain and had to perform in a kids show the next morning. I waited all night and nothing happened…Until the next day when I stepped forward to deliver my first line. The ONLY saving grace was that I was in a six foot pink dog costume. I was trapped with the smell in my costume until my swing could get ready and replace me onstage. I can laugh about it now… 🙂 Good luck with the race tomorrow! I can’t wait to hear about it! You have inspired me to try a couch to 5k app get me started running again.

  6. Pingback: How Not To Run A 5K | Uncomfortably Honest and Honestly Uncomfortable

  7. Although I know your GI issues stem from anxiety, I hope you know how common the shits are for runners. I run a bit, here and there (total side note: ! am really struggling to get back to it. Boy, parenting throws that time management thing all out of whack, right? You give me hope), but I have been surrounded by friends who run marathons. And I have talked with them and been to cheer them on, and it seems to me that running often goes hand in hand with the extreme urgent need for a WC. Which is not always there. My friend Sean has a hilarious story (at least how he tells it) about a run, and about finishing without socks. So you have entered into the physiologic brotherhood of runners. Forget about the distance, or the pace, or any of that. Others have also been there, done that, and will do it again, and you are not alone. Go proudly into your next running adventure, hold your head high. And maybe wear brown…

    • When Z found out about the runner/shit connection he totally freaked out and said I’d found my tribe.

      Wish I could hear your friend tell his story. Poop stories bring me so much joy.

      Good luck with getting back into it! Yes, the time management is really hard with the kiddos.

      • OMG–it’s true. Poop is funny, At least afterward. Another friend of mine told me a hilarious story about her sister having to take a shit while she was stuck in her car (really wish I could remember the details) and figured she could use this plastic bag….needless to say, it didn’t work out as planned…I laughed so hard so while i can’t remember the jist exactly, I still remember how hysterically funny it was (one of those stories where you keep saying ‘Oh No,’ every few seconds in total disbelief and horror). And they were the kind of folks that told those stories and laughed about them, so there was no meanness in it. Gee, now I’m kinda bummed I don’t have a funny poop story of my own.

  8. Pingback: Running While Anxious | Uncomfortably Honest and Honestly Uncomfortable

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