I thought I would share my story. I am in my early twenties and have been suffering with IBS for 7 years. Before this illness started, I was a straight A student, very ambitious, confident and sociable. I first started seeing symptoms after I was pushed into a dirty lake by someone as a practical joke and I ingested some of the water. Since then, my grades dropped drastically, I went from a 100% attendance student to around 60%. I managed to get into University by God’s grace but by then it got really bad, constantly in pain and suffering from abnormal symptoms. I went to my home GP for a year but they mistreated me, making me do countless tests and never getting back to me- three times they said they “lost” my test samples. After being tired of being mistreated, I moved to another GP and they referred me to a specialist. Though my symptoms and different GI tests showed that my condition was clearly not IBS and correlated more with IBD, the doctors ended up abandoning me and just printing out an IBS leaflet for me after they couldn’t pinpoint the cause of my issues. I do not have enough words to describe how much this ordeal has affected me physically but most of all mentally. I became very depressed and still struggle with suicidal thoughts.
However despite this, I have been able to complete my undergrad degree and a master’s (whilst only being able to attend 1% of lectures no exaggeration). I currently have a lovely job and though most of the time I get overwhelmed with trying to cope with my illness, I know I am bigger than it. I am a fighter, I will not give up. We only have one life, I want to use it to show others in a similar position that though we feel weak, we are strong. I think it would help if there were more role models out there with this condition to tear down the shame and isolation that comes with this illness.
I just want to say we are not defined by this illness. We have a purpose, don’t give up. Whoever is reading this, you are stronger than you realise and you are never alone. You may not be religious but I want you to know you are never alone. I stand with you. We (IBS sufferers) stand with you. God stands with you.