I'm in a horrible flare today, and I thought it might be useful to use this time in which I can't do more than just sit, to tell outsiders more about what living with IC feels like.
For me, living day to day with IC equals quite a bit of pain, but as I have a high pain tolerance, it isn't such a daily struggle. Most of the time my conditions are at the back of my mind, and as long as I can keep hydrated I can function fairly well, although take more frequent trips to the restroom than normal people. When I get a flare, however, things change... my entire life is turned upside-down. It all revolves around my bladder, and the horrid spasms that are causing it to malfunction.
A flare starts out like this... I feel like I have to pee. And not just pee, but pee like an elephant would! So I race to the bathroom, go a teeny-tiny amount, and suddenly the pain gets WORSE. Now it feels like I have to pee even more than I previously did, plus I can now feel spasms in my bladder and also in my urethra. Joy be mine. These spasms are much worse than anything you would feel during your period cramps, for example. They feel like someone has taken glass & mixed it into your water & you are now attempting to pass shards of it through your body. It burns & it aches & sometimes it just feels like it will never stop.