This post is sponsored by Depend® Brand. All opinions and statements are my own.
Incontinence is one of those body issues that people don’t talk about. We walk around pretending that it isn’t an issue because we believe that we are one of the very few dealing with it. But that is not true!
I began writing about my issues and history with incontinence a few years ago, and since then, it’s a topic I bring up with people when the conversation feels appropriate. You know what the response has been? Unbelievably positive. The conversation is met with relief by some because they feel like they aren’t alone. It is met by surprise with others because I am revealing this deep dark secret that SO MANY people deal with! It is time to release the shame my friends!
Releasing the same can’t be done overnight and you won’t be able to do it without making some changes. So here are ten ideas that will help you move in the right direction to help bring this dark secret into the daylight:
1. Tell Yourself That You Are Not Alone: It is time to change your internal dialogue. We speak to ourselves far more than we speak to anyone else each day and you need to begin giving yourself encouraging messages. Instead of saying, “ugh, no one else has to deal with what I deal with,” encourage a conversation with yourself that goes, “NO, that’s not true. It’s just that no one is admitting it. You are doing great.”
2. Ask Your Friends: Time to get out of the shadows! Sit down with your closest of friends and ask if they have ever had experience with leaks. Did it have to do with childbirth? Surgery? Age? Disease? The more we ask people and share our own stories, the closer these friendships become. You don’t have to get into the intimate details of your daily routine if that isn’t comfortable for you (Or you totally can! It helps me!), but knowing that you aren’t the only one struggling can be a huge weight off your shoulders.
3. Talk to Your Doctor: If you haven’t had a conversation with your doctor, it is time. Not only should your doctor know all of your medical issues, but they are often the first to be aware of new solutions, exercises and tools that may help. While you are there, let them know how you feel about the issue. Allow them to be another person that can help you bring the issue out of the shadows.
4. Come up with Solutions for Your Daily Routine: When you struggle with incontinence, keeping a routine is key. You need to know where the bathrooms are, how your body reacts to different kinds of liquids or stress, and what types of products will aid in daily life. I’ve had excellent experiences with using Depend® FIT-FLEX® Underwear because of its ultra-soft fabric and fast-absorbing material. It also comes in a beautiful blush color and a variety of designs, so it feels like wearing regular underwear. In addition to staying protected, I reduce my liquids when I know that I will be out and about, and am very careful about my caffeine and carbonation intake. It’s never perfect, but the more you can attempt to control about your body, the better the results are.
5. Get a Fantastic New Purse or Backpack: Releasing the shame isn’t just about helping ourselves on the inside, it’s also about helping ourselves feel fantastic on the outside. Whether you carry your incontinence products and/or a change of clothing with you all the time or not, pick up a fantastic new purse or backpack that you will love. Make it large enough to transport what you need and carry it with pride! No one needs to know what is inside (do you look in other people’s purses??), but you’ll know that you’re feeling good about the items you are carrying around.
6. Wear Clothes That Make You Feel Good: I think we can all attest to having had some insecurities about having incontinence, so do yourself a favor and wear some clothing that makes you feel good about yourself. Whether it be a pretty new bra, a sharp new suit or a pair of shoes that you’ve been wanting, you are still a sexy thing, so don’t let yourself forget it!
7. Find a New Hobby or Invest in an Old One: When you deal with incontinence, it can be really easy to become reclusive. It is time to battle back! Choose an activity that you’ve always wanted to try and start looking for classes. This is the time to learn to cook or bake, take a pottery class or learn an instrument. Do something that gets you focused on something outside of your worries and concerns. Inevitably, you will find yourself feeling stronger and more engaged in life.
8. Get out of the House: Just because you may be looking into a hobby doesn’t mean that you’ll actually leave the house. Go out into the world! There is nothing shameful about dealing with incontinence. It is a challenge – and a frustrating one at that – but everyone has challenges. Life might not always be perfect, but it is better when you’re in it, doing the things that bring you joy. Everyone is far more worried about themselves than they are about you and your issues. Get yourself to a library, go dancing, join a book club, do whatever you can to engage with other people. There is no reason for you to live a solitary life just so that you can be near a bathroom. Find places that feel safe and go out.
9. Look for a Support Group: One of the best ways to release the shame is to engage with people who can both listen and relate. Finding a support group for people with incontinence can be invaluable for finding a community of people who understand this part of your life. You can look for something local if you’d like to go in person or join an online group like The Incontinence Community – a private group on Facebook that shares resources, tips and tricks for managing incontinence. I share my own bits of advice in the group as well!
10. Be in Your Photos: When you have children or are the head of a team (sports, work, anywhere), it is very easy to leave yourself out of the photos that you take. Someone has to click the camera! That said, it is time that you find a way to be in your photos. Be proud of this time in your life! Make sure that you can include yourself so that you have memories. You are special and you deserve to be included just as much as everyone else. One day you’ll look back and be glad that you are.
There are all kinds of ways to release the shame of dealing with incontinence – you just have to begin the change. Give yourself healthy messages of love and acceptance instead of frustration, and don’t think that you have to do it alone. There are lots of people out there who want to connect with you, whether they are friends or in a support group. You just need to make yourself available.