Two women have their arms around each other's shoulders and are smiling at each other. They are each wearing one half of a friendship necklace.

Growing Up With IBS

My teenage years were rough. Having an invisible illness that never goes always is always hard on adults. Having one you didn't have a name to put with it as a teenager was horrible. I wasn't what most people would call social, but I spent a lot of time with my few friends and my church youth group. Going out, being at church, or just spending the night with friends always made me feel different.

Childhood and teens with IBS

I've always been fairly confident in myself. I made decent grades in school and always had a babysitting job to keep me busy. My downfall was trying to hide my IBS. At the time, I didn't know that it was an actual medical condition. I just knew I had problems with most foods.

Going out with friends was easy. Church? Piece of cake. Staying the night with anyone other than family was rough. As a child, it was easy for parents to overlook as most children tend to use the bathroom more often. As a teenager though, it was harder to ignore. Staying overnight usually meant I would have to eat. Being raised as I was, it's considered rude not to eat what was offered. So I would eat, then, more times than not, spend most of my night in the bathroom.

IBS in adulthood

As an adult now, still being close to one of my friends from my youth, she understands. I'm blessed to have her. Before we knew what IBS was Natalie spent years trying to help me with my flares and symptoms. I pray everyone suffering from this has a "Natalie" in their life.

Twenty-one years later, Natalie is still my rock. No matter how hard the day has been I know she will understand. It never hurts to have someone you can talk about your frequent bathroom trips with who doesn't think you are gross or crazy.

Support helps

Finding support groups or forums is always great as well. I have been able to find a lot more non-trigger food that way. Being able to talk with others who are going through the same thing helps to make you feel not so alone. Most have awesome recipes, tips and tricks, and just advice you may not have seen as well. I highly recommend looking for a support group if you need more people to vent to. It really does make a hard day a little less bearable.

Do you have someone who just gets you and all your baggage?

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