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Michael Mahoney, MDHthp
No doubt you are also dealing with family members, friends, co-workers and others who don’t quite know what to make of your condition.
You may not have told them about it because it is uncomfortable and even humiliating to do so. So often, you may have had to explain to close friends or family that you are not feeling well, or that you need to have guaranteed bathroom access. How many times have you had to lie to co-workers or bosses, or social contacts, because it is just too embarrassing to go into the IBS explanation? And even when you do explain it to family members, they may become irritated, or frustrated at constantly having to deal with your problem, because then it becomes their problem as well. And of course, having to deal with less than sympathetic people, just seems to add to your IBS symptoms. This IBS CD or mp3 support program may make life a little easier for you.
My name is Michael Mahoney and as I listened to all the IBS patients I have treated over the past 20 years or so, the aspect of dealing with family members and others takes a real toll on your life. Patients became tired of trying to explain their IBS to others only to be given comments like, “just don’t eat bad food” – when you have explained that it isn’t a particular food that causes it, or perhaps they tell you they had the same thing last week, and you’ll get over it, or they tell you to quit obsessing and thinking about it, or that you have brought it on yourself – the comments ranging from trying to be helpful, to downright cruel, are many – and I have heard them all.
And while some family and friends can be caring and supportive, they too can become frustrated because they are unable to do anything to help. And being human, after living with an IBS sufferer, they can unintentionally become a bit callous, as it becomes a burden to them as well. This leads to a vicious cycle – you feel badly that you are causing family upset, and that leads to more frequent IBS symptoms – and so the pattern continues. You are upset that the family does not understand, and they are upset that they can’t help you. And there is every combination in between.
In dealing with the social world – friends can be understanding to a point as they don’t live with you day to day, but they may have to make allowances in travelling with you or various situations like eating out. Some friends are easy-going and may just accept this about you, but others may not be as understanding, and this produces either a tension in the friendship, or the termination of it. Of course, if they do pull out of the friendship due to your IBS, I would say good riddance anyway, because what kind of friend is that?
And lastly, there is the work world. This is a bit tricky, because on the one hand you don’t want to be seen as a sick person, not capable of proper employment, but you also want them to know that you are doing the best you can with your condition. Then there is the decision to actually tell them about your condition. Fortunately, IBS is known about a bit more than it used to be, but there are still a lot of misconceptions, and it is not an easy subject to discuss with a boss or co-worker. And while there are many places of employment who know that IBS affects 20% of the population and is secondary in sick days only to the common cold, it still can be met with much ignorance.
Well, what to do? I thought about this burden on the IBS sufferer – the repeated and embarrassing explanations of just what IBS is and what you have to endure, and I thought that this needs to be addressed. Sometimes individuals need to hear the details from another source other than yourself.
And while your physician or gastroenterologist may be available to explain it to your immediate family members, or you can print up information or share books, this isn’t always convenient and folks sometimes read only bits and not get the full picture. So I decided to make a recording that explains the IBS condition to other individuals in the IBS patient’s life.
This title provides easy to understand and comforting content. Patients saddled with the embarrassing nature of the condition have found this recording to validate their suffering in a professional yet caring manner; it provides emotional support and helps remove the stigma of the condition for the patient, as well as the awkward burden of explanation to less than sympathetic companions.
In addition to having the IBS Companion available separately as a single CD, a few years ago, I decided to add this extra CD to the IBS Audio Program package because it can be an additional avenue of help to the patient’s overall condition. The inclusion of this separate, non-therapeutic recording can also provide an added area of patient improvement through lifting the burden of explanation of IBS, as well as providing the potential for improved family cooperation and understanding, which again adds to the multi-level therapy approach.
All too often, we forget that IBS not only affects the sufferer, it can have a detrimental effect on the lives of those around the sufferer. Holidays and days out might often be cancelled or restricted. It is not easy having IBS, it is not easy supporting an IBS sufferer either. This short recording is easy to understand explaining the symptoms, common fears, and the explorative tests that IBS sufferers have to go through to be diagnosed as having IBS. For those around the sufferer, it will provide some much needed insight and ways to be more understanding. For the IBS sufferer, the CD can be a good source of explaining IBS when you have tried or you are too embarrassed or tired of explaining it to others.
The IBS Companion speaks of the humiliations, fears, medical evaluation, embarrassments and ordeals that an IBS patient must go through, and how the family can help the patient, rather than add to their distressing situation.
I also mentioned that one of my patients, upon listening to this recording, told me that she cried, as it was the first time she felt validated by someone who understood her condition and its impact on her world. IBS had cost her a good deal of her life, and the recording was the first time she felt real empathy.
Another listener shares his experience with the IBS Companion when he wrote:
"If anyone knows Michael, let him know that his audio program CD for family and friends of the IBS patient really saved me. I had a family wedding in a distant state of a distant cousin. Of course, the entire extended family was attending, except me, due to IBS.
The family was not amused. But I sent them copies of the CD that explained IBS and all of them wrote back apologetically, saying they did not realize what an IBS person goes through.”
It is very gratifying to have feedback like this because it goes some way to show just how essential it is to have good communication between the IBS patient and those in your life. Through understanding your condition, you will lighten the weight of constant explanation, and through this, another avenue to help you feel as best as you can with your condition.
Michael Mahoney is an Associate Member of the Royal Society of Medicine, The British Holistic Medical Association, European Association of Cancer Education, Complementary Medical Association, and the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council among many others. He was invited by The Lord Chamberlain to attend Queen Elizabeth's Garden Party through recommendation from UK Trade and Investment for recognition of his work with patients. His work encompasses many treatment areas such as IBS, anxiety, emotional recovery from cancer and breast cancer.
He has provided consultancy services on-staff for a hospital Occupational Health Department. Here he provided services in conjunction with medical professionals to NHS and Corporate Employees to manage a wide range of presenting problems, emotional and physical, as well as workplace problem solutions.
Michael works with general practitioners, gastroenterologists and other health professionals and specialists who refer their patients for integrative care. He has a wide remit of treatment areas for both health and emotional conditions. He is also one of the first clinical hypnotherapists in the UK to be accepted into a medical centre building, working alongside physicians with practices there.
Michael's work has been featured in many articles, publications and books, one of which has been endorsed by Dr. Mehmet Oz. Michael has been interviewed on radio programs in both the UK and the US and his protocol for IBS is used in St Mark's Hospital in London.