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I have been ill for exactly 1 year this month.

My problems started out of the blue, i fell ill one night and never got better. I had diarrhoea, stomach and back pains so bad I couldn’t stand, nausea and couldn’t eat anything for 6 days straight. After a week these eased a little, but have never stopped. It took a few trips to the docs to convince her it was more than just a stomach bug but after losing 2 stone to drop to 7 stone, she finally listened and I went through all the usual tests, blood, stool, the cameras etc but nothing was found.

I have tried all the diets with a dietician but none have worked ( I spent 5 weeks eating plain rice, tuna, potato and water and still had symptoms and bad turns). After one final trip to the GI doc last week I’ve been told I have IBS and that I may see some improvement in 2-3 years but I should expect to just have to learn to live with it. 

I’m currently trying Amitriptyline to control the anxiety and symptoms (switching between violent IBS-D and IBS-C). I’ve been on it for 5 weeks and it’s pretty awful if I’m honest, I have turned into a short fused, bloated, chunky Zombie. The side effects are outweighing any positive effects the drug may have if I continue, and the weight gain is awful so I think I may quit after this week. 

I have lived on sites like these, taking in any info I can find on IBS, trying anything and everything I can to try to get back to my proper life, those times when I could eat foods I liked, sleep easily, had friends and wasn’t so afraid to leave my house- it seems like that was all years ago.

I keep my IBS a complete secret, I’m ashamed of it and don’t want the judgement and lack of understanding that other people have to offer. My partner knows and he has been amazingly supportive and understanding- especially when I can’t leave the house or we have to cut trips short because I’m too anxious or ill to stay out. I can’t tell my bosses at work because I don’t think they’ll understand, so I work through my bad days and just get called lazy or uncommunicative and surly because I don’t have the energy to move or hold a decent conversation and I avoid making new friends because if I can’t eat, go out, take trips or be good company then there really isn’t any point.

It’s a real shame there isn’t more information about IBS given, all I learned and know has been taken from reading paper, blogs, diaries and snippets of web info. I also hate that more effort isn’t put into understanding and treating IBS, it seems that once the diagnosis is given to a patient then that’s it, you are told that nothing can be done so you are expected to shut up and put up.

I never thought about anything like this when I was well, but now I have complete sympathy, and empathy for anyone with any kind of digestive problem.

So…that’s my story, every day is a struggle and there seems to be no end in sight, but like Dory have to just keep on swimming! ^_^

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