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Tornado Tummy August 18, 2009

Posted by Kimmothy in Health, Nail Biter, Weather, Youth.

No, that isn’t some new ailment you should concern yourself with. But it is very real – if you’re me.

Back in the Paleozoic era when I attended elementary school in Sarasota, Florida, we learned all kinds of emergency preparedness procedures. Fire drills. School bus safety. Memorizing our addresses and phone numbers and to avoid talking to strangers unless they were wearing trench coats and offering candy. But the one that sticks out most in my mind is the hurricane information.

Hurricane season goes from June 1st until November 1st but in my experience, September is usually the most active month. There were plenty of school years that had just gotten under way and then were abruptly interrupted for a few days by a hurricane or tropical storm. Most kids loved it and I admit to a certain amount of excitement myself since living in Florida meant those were the closest thing we had to snow days. But when I was younger and developing all the many neurosis I still carry with me today, I didn’t enjoy discussing impending disaster one bit. In fact, I’m very surprised one of my favorite hobbies now is to read and watch weather stuff all the time because it certainly didn’t start out that way.

So one year, I think I was in second or third grade, we were in the middle of hurricane season and it appeared one was headed our way. I don’t remember much about it except one day soon before it was expected to hit, tornadoes started sprouting up like they sometimes do. Apparently one was pretty close to our school because an announcement came over the loud speaker that instructed the teachers to keep everyone in the classrooms and away from windows, as an official warning had been issued. My teacher, whom I loved and trusted, tried to keep things light and told us to sit on the floor in a circle so we could talk and have some fun. Her tone was chipper and upbeat but I wasn’t having any of it.

Immediately I felt the need to poop. Yes, I think all my bathroom issues can be traced back to that very moment, for ever since whenever pressed with a stressful situation, that’s my go-to bodily function. But there was no way in hell I was going to ask to go to the bathroom in the middle of what I was certain going to be the death of us all. I sat there in silence and suffered until the ordeal passed. Eventually my stomach calmed down but in my mind I finally had a name for what’s now called Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Tornado Tummy. It’s very effective in describing both my reaction to a weather emergency and also what it feels like goes on inside my stomach when I’m worried or upset.

I’ve been suffering from Tornado Tummy a lot lately. And the bitch of it is, there’s no damn reason for it and I can’t figure out what’s causing it. (Yes it is actually hurricane season right now, but since I no longer live five miles from the Gulf of Mexico, I no longer worry about the storms so much) No, this is the type of anxiety that bothers me the most – when things are going WELL and I’m STILL stressed out about some unnamed, obscure thing. I guess another name for it would be Waiting-For-The-Other-Shoe-To-Drop syndrome? Things are good so something bad must be just around the corner? I HATE thinking like that. Because it means that I’m unable to fully enjoy when things are going well and that’s just not how I want to be.

I’ve been off of Xanax for over six months now and I’ve been mostly fine with that. But I don’t know – it might be time to re-visit that or maybe even something else in order to maybe reign these feelings in a little bit. I don’t like the thought of medicating, but on the other hand thoughts of doom aren’t a lot of fun either. Any anxiety sucks, and there are plenty of things in this world to be concerned with every day but when I’m spending time and energy thinking up stuff to worry about? Probably time to take care of that.



1. iamheatherjo - August 18, 2009

Having been close to a tornado or two, I wouldn’t ever wish that kind of tummy turbulence on anyone. Egads.

Ever since the doctor stole my gallbladder, my tummy sure isn’t what it used to be. At least I have something to blame it on even though I was assured “nothing would change”…I call…BULLSHIT.

Kimmothy - August 18, 2009

I’ve known other people who have had to give up their gall bladders. I always think if I’m like this now, what would it be like if I didn’t have mine? *Shudder*

2. morethananelectrician - August 18, 2009

I am the opposite…I go on “lockdown.” I’d hate to get a building blown off of me with my pants around my ankles.

Kimmothy - August 19, 2009

That’s no fun either – I’ve always said a happy medium with pooping would be so nice. But I wouldn’t know.

3. LL Cool Joe - August 20, 2009

I live with “Tornado Tummy” all the time. Like you as soon as I get scared about something, I need to rush to the restroom. See how polite I’m being? I hope you get something to help you out.

Kimmothy - August 21, 2009

Me too.

4. suzy2110 - August 23, 2009

I feel your pain, and it sucks. That’s all I’m saying because believe me, I could MAJORLY overshare on this particular topic! I shall henceforth adopt the term “Tornado Tummy” as my own. I salute you, good lady. 😛

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