A grid featuring stages of a close up of an eye rolling back. Around the grid are dialogue and comment bubbles popping up.

Things People Have Accused Me of During Meals Out

Having ulcerative colitis or an ostomy can make meals out feel daunting. You name it, we’ve probably considered (and gotten anxious about) it!

  • Leaving smells in public restrooms
  • Finding something appropriate on the menu
  • Getting up to use the toilet during meals
  • The noise our intestines can make
  • Finding an outfit that’s comfortable AND nice
  • Not knowing where the bathroom is, or wanting to be seated near it...

Anxiety while eating out with UC

I also feel paranoid about how long it takes me to eat. Needing to chew so thoroughly means that I take a lot longer than other people to finish. Sometimes, I just give up and leave my meal because I feel like people are waiting on me so they can order dessert. Other times, I end up choosing what to eat from the menu simply based on the fact that it’s easier and faster to eat.

I have received plenty of comments about being fussy, or taking ages to choose something from the menu. I assume this is usually said in a jokey manner, but because I already experience anxiety about the whole eating out thing, it sticks with me, making me even more anxious about going out in the future!

Feeling judged with ulcerative colitis

I’ve even had a few unwelcome comments about the amount of food I’ve eaten. Things like: "Wow, you did well" feels patronising. Whereas: “You’ve not eaten much” feels judgy, or even questioning. Again, I assume people generally mean well, but it results in me feeling even more self-conscious! I’m already anxious, I don’t need to feel like people are watching what I eat!

Today, I wanted to share some of the more interesting comments I’ve had when eating out with other people.

People think I have an eating disorder

The first one wasn’t actually said to my face. I heard about it when I got home. I was out with my partner at the time and some of his family that I hadn’t met before. I was having a bad day with my J-pouch, so I had to leave the table a few times during the meal to go to the bathroom. One of his family members had asked whether I was bulimic. Again, I can only assume, but I think that conclusion may have been based on how tiny I was at the time. I was tiny because I was sick!

Uncomfortable meal conversations

Once, I came back to the table after a meal to be greeted with: "Trying to skip paying your share of the bill?" I was unwell and I wasn’t in the mood, so I answered very simply: "No. I was taking a s**t."

Another time, I was out with my mum's partner at the time and some of his family. They hadn’t seen me in a while and I’d had an ileostomy since the last time I'd seen them. They were asking about my health, and I was telling them. Then, I was told, “That's not appropriate for the dinner table.” It’s not particularly appropriate for my life plan either, but here we are, dealing with it!

Assumptions about why I'm not drinking alcohol

On more than one occasion, I have declined alcohol at the table. I very rarely drink alcohol these days. My J-pouch never liked it. Then there’s been periods of taking painkillers, which didn’t mix well with alcohol. Now, I end up dehydrated so quickly it’s not worth it.

Of course, in everyone else’s head, the ONLY reason someone could be refusing alcohol is... "Ooo, do you have something to tell us?!"... Pregnancy! Which always annoyed me even more because of my surgeries and probable infertility.

Being bloated and uncomfortable after meals is pretty common for me, so placing my hand on it for comfort is pretty standard. This has also led to pregnancy assumptions.

Meals out with UC: worth it?

Honestly, it’s enough to put you off going out with anyone!

Have you received similar comments? Share your stories with me below!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.