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Commuting College with IBS

I am going to be a junior in college and I am transferring from a community college to a college thats 30 mins away from where I live which means i will be commuting daily. I have IBS and am afraid I will have flare ups when I commute and then my anxiety will start acting up because I know I am not close to home. Now I am rethinking going to this college and am thinking of doing online school. I wanted to get some opinions on what yall would do.

  1. Personally, I think I would choose online school, so long as the standard of education is as good as what you would find in the college.

    But I know there's more to going to college than just the course. There's the social life, and it would be quite sad to miss out on that, unless you already have a happy enough social life.

    And then there's the feeling that you have "hit a barrier" in your life. It makes sense in many ways to adapt to that, but I imagine you're still quite young (?) and to find too many limitations in your life isn't great at your age.

    But I understand. IBS does that to all of us.

    I wonder if there is any anxiety-management technique, or even any IBS management methods that might help you, so hopefully one day you won't be stuck in the feeling of being uneasy to go out, travel a little etc?

    I know what you mean, however. I have had to call off a stressful and no-fun 500-mile round trip by train to see an elderly relative in hospital at the moment. I feel like an absolute rotter as everyone is helping and visiting her, and here am I bleating that I have IBS which I am sure no one really understands. I think their feelings might be more "so what? There are toilets on trains."
    But still....there's a lot more to it than that.

    Mind you, I am 70 and I am sure you are much younger and it would be nice if you could find a way to manage things and still be a part of the world outside.

    1. I'm sorry that you had to call off the trip to see your relative, that's so hard and I can really relate to how you're feeling. I wasn't able to attend my grandfather's funeral last year because I just couldn't figure out a way to travel 1000 km alone with 2 babies... Is there some other way you can offer support, like maybe doing video calls, or sending something...? Karina (team member)

  2. I’m 32 and I can feel your pain. I’ve suffered from gastro and anxiety issues for at least fifteen years and it has taken a lot to get things under control. I’m not someone to push medication or look to meds as a go-to solution, but for me the anxiety and IBS go hand in hand. To this day I still suffer similar flare ups and worry about the travel and commuting like you do, and my anxiety medication has helped curb that a little. I also make sure I am carrying my little handy fanny pack with me - which is very nerdy- but it keeps me sane. Has things like mints, medication, water, and things like emergency sick bags. It helps me mentally knowing I have that security blanket of things on my person at all times. Maybe something like that might help, as a step toward giving yourself the power to know you’re in control and not your IBS. I know easier said than done…

    1. Thank you so much for sharing what works for you. I also find an emergency bag to be very helpful, even if it's just for peace of mind. Karina (team member)

  3. I always got to school 1 hour earlier than necessary on transit and carried breakfast with me so I ate at the college near a washroom. Having an empty stomach on transit helped plus using a gycerine suppository to empty my lower bowel before leaving home. The doctor suggested that and it helped.

    1. That sounds like a great idea, especially since I imagine the bathrooms must be empty when you arrive early? That would make it much more comfortable to use them. Thank you so much for sharing what helps you! Karina (team member)

  4. I also got to school at least 30 minutes early so I could handle any problems before class started. I always had Immodium on me at all times, but I also carried a "Care" package of a gallon ziplock with an extra pair of underwear and wipes. I spent the first week learning where all the bathrooms were in my buildings. Knowing where they were and how to get to them really helped, I was less panicked when something did happen. Back then I didn't know anything about the food connection, I might have been better about what I ate if I had known.

    Now I have a commute and I do something similar, but I have found getting up an hour and half before I need to leave really helps my system set itself for the day. I also know where some decent bathrooms are on my route. Being prepared helps, and giving yourself extra time for travel makes it not so panicky when something does happen.

    I would give it a try. You can always switch later on to an completely online college if you decide it doesn't work for you, but I liked being around other students (misery loves company) and I learned better in person that I have in any online courses I have taken since.

    1. Those are really great tips! I used to get up three hours before having to leave when I worked at an office, just so I could start the day slowly and manage my morning IBS flare at home. Being prepared also really helps with anxiety! I'm glad that this all worked out for you and you were able to enjoy studying along other students. All the best, Karina (team member)

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