Healing begins with knowledge: understanding the emotional impact of IC

JUNE 29, 2016 – Last week I wrote about dejection; today it’s anxiety. This current season of feelings, beginning with extreme aggravation, moving towards dejection and now morphing into anxiety has me quite puzzled. After this past weekend I needed to step back and try to understand just what was going on,

Last week I anticipated a wonderful weekend away with my husband at Hampton Beach, NH. I looked forward to the carnival atmosphere, the gorgeous pristine beaches along Route 1A, the shops and restaurants, and finally, the Happy Together Tour featuring singers and bands of the 1960s (The Turtles, The Cowsills, Mark Lindsay, Billy J. Kramer, Chuck Negron and Gary Puckett).



The weather was perfection – upper 70s with a refreshing onshore wind. My husband and I have needed this time together after the last hectic few months.

And yet during the trip I was overcome with anxiety. Why?

I have continued to ask God for healing as I pray for friends and family as I sensed I needed those prayers. Just as the book lifted me up and out of myself, prayers for healing uncovered information that related directly to my anxiety. It came from a most unexpected source.

I am researching a biography at the moment and have several years’ worth of notes. They need organizing so today I attended to that.  In the course of the task, I came across an article called “The Psychological Effects of IC.”

ICJust what is IC? Short for Interstital Cystitis, IC is a painful and chronic urinary condition. When paired with Overactive Bladder (which I also have) sufferers experience sudden urges to urinate. If you are not near a bathroom, it can be an excruciating experience both physically and emotionally. It can be quite embarrassing as well. Over time you are conditioned to place the needs of your bladder above all else. I go nowhere now without immediately scouting out bathrooms.

It took years to have this condition diagnosed. Heck, it took years to get a doctor to take my complaints seriously! I took meditation for the Overactive Bladder but it did nothing for the IC. Over time I learned what foods to avoid. The discovery of AZO products (especially Bladder Control Go Less) finally began to bring my IC under control, at least during the daytime. Nighttime is another story (and for another day).

What I have discovered about IC is that it is triggered by stress and anxiety. Going away from home is a sure-fire way to trigger it. If you are not sure where the next bathroom is, you are going to obsess over finding one. Such stress triggers flare ups and before you know it, you’re in a vicious cycle.

What I did not know, however, was that there are long term emotional consequences, something I had begun to suspect after coming home from our weekend. The article I stumbled upon today confirmed that suspicion:

“Although IC is a physiological disease, the effects are emotional. The pain of IC automatically induces an emotional response … The messages from the bladder pain can make a patient feel upset, emotional and depressed as a result.”

In my case, it’s panic. And that’s what I kept experiencing in the lovely yet unfamiliar setting of Hampton Beach, NH. That, and hyper-vigilance:

“IC patients may be seen as emotionally laden victims of a traumatic experience demonstrating hyper-vigilant behavior (the need to be on guard against harm), instead of a person in need of medication to calm the unsettling symptoms of interstitial cystitis.”

This may sound a bit dramatic but the fact it that it is true. This article described my experience to perfection. There was more:

“IC is a daily responsibility … it is not a situational stress that will resolve in time. And, even though most of us build a certain amount of tolerance to the everyday bladder sensitivity (not the painful flare-ups), we still have to place our bladder needs first.”

The world with IC can become very small. And, problems can seem too big to overcome. Sometimes the limitations can make us feel stuck, sometimes with no hope for the future.”

anxietyMy world has definitely shrunk as demonstrated by the tremendous anxiety I experience whenever I have to go away. I am a confirmed homebody—no trip to Europe for me. I chaperone confirmation retreats twice yearly and each weekend is a constant struggle with anxiety-induced obsessive and compulsive tendencies that interfere with my work on the retreat. Finally I have a better understanding of WHY.

I reflected a bit before sharing this blog post. IC and Overactive Bladder are hardly things spoken about freely in polite company. I don’t even know anyone who has it though I know it’s common. So why share this with you?

  • First of all, because someone out there might also be a sufferer and perhaps, this information can be helpful to them.
  • Secondly, to show that healing that comes through God’s grace is more often revealed in steps rather than granted miraculously. But just because a healing unfolds rather than effects an instant cure doesn’t make it any less miraculous in my mind.

I am convinced that because I approached God in prayer for healing (even though I didn’t specify what the healing ought to be) that he gave me the mindfulness to pay attention to this article when I found it.

We’re told that knowledge is half the battle. I believe that. This knowledge has given me great relief.

  • I’m not going crazy.
  • There is a reasonable explanation.
  • Now I know what to ask for in prayer for my healing.

This wave of anxiety will, in fact, pass. And when I feel it return, I know where to go and Who to ask when I need help.

p.s. Those of you suffering from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – there is something for you in “The Psychological Effects of IC.” Something tells me we have walked down a similar path.







Click to Tweet & ShareHealing begins with knowledge: understanding the emotional impact of IC http://tinyurl.com/IC-Overactive-Bladder

em space




Many people find coloring to be a wonderful way to relax and experience harmony in their lives. Is that you? Join my Email List to subscribe to this blog and receive your free Harmony coloring book (and more).

River of Grace Audio book with soundtrack music available now on Bandcamp. Listen to the preface of the book, and all the songs.

Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read my other blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion


Healing versus a cure: There is definitely a difference!

I believe in healing. Not a just a cure but a healing.

Doctors provide cures; that’s their job. They note your symptoms, attempt a diagnosis and then offer treatment. It can all be rather clinical and impersonal. I don’t blame doctors; they are not trained to be counselors (though a treatment of the whole person is certainly the ideal). Medicine does offer some amazing cures. But does a cure guarantee a healing?

Just what is the difference?

The ultimate physician

from pastorblog.cumcdebary.org
from pastorblog.cumcdebary.org

Jesus was a healer. He also called himself a physician (see Luke 4:23). And he desired mercy. When he healed the sick, he did not just cure the ailment.

Take the paralytic on the mat in Luke, chapter 5. He is lowered down through the ceiling by his friends so that he can see Jesus.

What is the first thing Jesus does for him? Does he tell the man to “pick up his mat and walk?” Eventually.

But first he attends to his soul by forgiving his sins.

He discerns that the man’s deeper suffering was interior.

The man was already healed by the time he was cured.

One woman’s story of healing

I have a dear friend who suffers from a disease of the inner ear known as Ménière’s. It makes her dizzy and nauseous; this makes any kind of movement difficult. Walking, riding in a car, just moving her head: this all contributes to the symptoms. It has left a once vibrant woman homebound. And yet, the other day, she told me she was healed. It began several years ago at a healing service. She had the disease but didn’t ask for a cure. Rather, she left herself open to whatever God wished to grant her. She ended up on her knees crying copious tears.

She still has the disease, but she is healed.

Staying connected to life

Like the paralytic my friend is healed from within. She accepts her fate and lives with it. Despite her physical pain each day has a purpose. She makes a plan and tries to accomplish something whether it is cooking (which she enjoys), changing the bed sheets, doing laundry or general cleanup. She stays connected with her friends and goes out to lunch with them even though she is nauseous and her walking labored because of the dizziness.

My friend is still quite physically ill. How did she become healed from within?

Staying connected to God

My friend makes a point of spending ample time with God. She sits in her rocking chair, closes her eyes and meditates for long periods of time. She prays the Rosary and watches the morning mass on TV. She listens to religious music while falling asleep.

She immerses herself in God, filling her head and heart with good things, just as St. Paul in spelled out in Philipians 4:8: ” … whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

She told me a cure would be most welcome. But she assured me she is healed.

Healing the whole person

suffering and the nature of healingI am reading a fascinating book called Suffering and the Nature of Healing. It is written by Daniel Hinshaw, M.D. He writes from the point of view of a physician but also as an Orthodox Christian. He is focused on the incarnation of Christ and Christ as the Great Physician. It’s where a lot of the ideas in this post came from. His overall thrust is the care of the Total Person: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual. Dr. Hinshaw maintains that modern medicine usually stresses the physical, forgetting about the other three.

There is a disconnect between the physical symptoms and the person experiencing those symptoms.

The ideal physician

Dr. Hinshaw’s book describes the ideal for physicians in the treatment of their patients: that of imitating Christ, the Great Physician.

Jesus’ intent in his healings was always about the whole person; he was intimate with that person.

Over and over again he reached out to individuals, touching them, using primitive healing techniques (such as the mud for the blind man’s eyes), lifting up Peter’s sick mother-in-law by the hand, calling out the woman who touched his cloak for healing to present herself. He wept at the grave of Lazarus, his good friend before raising him from the dead, keenly aware of the grief around him.

Jesus reaches out to the whole person, not the parts. He also reaches out to the community surrounding that person.

from praycatholic.wordpress.com
from praycatholic.wordpress.com

Personal healing

Jesus never forgets who we really are. He longs to show his mercy and bestow his healing if we would but ask.

My friend with Ménière’s knows that and now I know it too. And not just because I know my friend’s story: I now have one as well.

In my next post, I will share about my personal healing. It’s nothing short of miraculous especially because of the way it happened. I am so full of gratitude and wonder over my healing that often when I pass a church, I stop, go inside and say thank you to God over and over.

But that’s for next time.

How do you feel about your doctor? Does he or she know your story? Have you offered it?

Have you experienced a healing from God?

Click to Tweet & Share: Healing versus a cure: There is definitely a difference! http://wp.me/p2D9hg-Cp

Would you like to learn along with Susan how to live your life
in single flow?
Send an email to susanwbailey@gmail.com
to subscribe, and never miss a post!
Follow Susan on Facebook and Twitter
Listen to Susan’s music Read Susan’s blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion