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sad tales: teenagers with ibs-d page seven

The tale of...Corey (6 September 2006)

I am 16 this year and I'm in the fourth year of high school which means a lot of work, exams and studies. I have serious problems in the morning. I get up at 6:30am, take my tablets which are: IBS Clear (peppermint), Colic, Inner health IBS, and aloe vera juice, which are things recommended by the doctors I see, then I brush my teeth without breakfast, sit on the loo, have a shower, sit on the loo again, and if good, head off to the bus at 7:00.

I have missed out on so much school it's not funny and I am having serious trouble with my work and teachers. Just recently we had a parent night at school where we go and meet all my teachers, and most of the results were bad and good because I had done most work to standard results and handed it in on time but I was doing all the work at home and not in the classroom which stops me interacting with the students and teachers.

I am a computer game freak which does not help because for me to get into a gaming career I have to be at school completing classes which is very frustrating. I live in a small town with no facilities so I have to travel on a bus to get to school which upsets my stomach even more.

The tale of...Charissa (20 October 2006)

I am 16 and I just found out that I have IBS. It started in the beginning of the year. I usually try to stay at home, because I seem to have IBS whenever I go out. I can't really eat anything because the next second I'll be rushing to the toilet. Even in school my friends constantly ask me why I skip recess or why I go to the toilet straight after I eat. I just manage to somehow come up with a lie, cause it's just too embarrassing to tell the truth.

Even when eating at home with my family, I often have to excuse myself just to go to the toilet. It gets even more troublesome when I have my period. My stomach is bloated at all times and this gets noticed by some of my friends, which leaves me badly embarrassed. This then leads to them asking why a skinny person like me has such a big stomach.

The worst part of IBS is the pain, which makes me want to cry. I have tried endless medicines but nothing seems to work. But recently I have been given another medicine and it seems to be getting slightly better. Well, I can only hope for the best now.

E-mail Charissa: [email protected]

The tale of...Megan (7 March 2007)

Since I was 13 I have been having stomach trouble and IBS-related symptoms. Now I am 15 I still face the same problems, but I am beginning to cope and accept it. I've lost count of how many times I have been to my local doctor's surgery. My mum would take me there, worrying about how much school I was missing, and each time they would give me a little bit of hope in 'curing' this illness. This only led to disappointment as the diarrhea and abdominal pains would still be going on.

Numerous blood tests to see if I was celiac or anaemic; all coming back with nothing! I got extremely frustrated as nothing seemed to be going on. All the doctors thought I was faking to get out of school, but thankfully my mum didn't believe them - she has been very supportive over the past two years that I have had the problems. I went to the doctors again recently and I have been given an anti-depressant called amitriptyline. I am on a very low dose and I start taking them tonight so fingers crossed they help out a bit!

My IBS was at its worst when I was first diagnosed with it. I was in my 9th year of school so fortunately I wasn't missing a really important year, but still I got lonely at home and missed seeing my friends. Through this time I became really depressed, some days I just cried and cried because I was too scared to go anywhere without desperately needing the toilet - the one thing I could always rely on to make me feel happier was music.

A teacher at my school was very helpful, she sent work home for me to do regularly so I felt a bit more 'normal'. My friends were also very supportive and still are to this day. My GCSEs are soon and I have arranged to sit them separately to the rest of the students in my school, hopefully there won't be as much stress!

Overall, I think IBS has ruined my life. It gets in the way of my social and school life and I hate having to cancel plans with my friends because I'm not feeling well enough to go out. I am very lucky to have two very supportive best friends who are always there when I need them and a set of friends who are lovely to me. My mum helps me out, her and my dad's diets have changed to try to suit my needs!

The only thing is no-one seems to understand what I go through, they think I can just forget about it and try harder to stay at school or go out more, that I should just grow up and hold it in but then I can't! I understand that I wrote a lot and some people may not read it but it was really nice to write it out and get it off my chest!

The tale of...Claire (19 October 2007)

I'm a 19 year-old woman from the UK and I began suffering from IBS six months ago. Already it has given me depression and I haven't the slightest idea what to do about it. As you probably know, doctors don't really know or care about how to treat this condition, nor do they realize how seriously depressing and restricting it is to the sufferer.

If I am sat at home, IBS will never bother me. The minute someone says we have to go out, whether it be just the shops or (please God, no) a long drive down the motorway where it is illegal to stop your car, the IBS is there straight away. The crippling stomach cramps, nausea, dizziness etc. It's so hard to explain but it is as if my mind is against me, taunting me, telling me 'You won't be able to go to the toilet if you need to' and that's it then, I'm a wreck. No-one around me seems to understand this though. People say to me 'If it's your mind that's telling you this, just ignore it or change it.' That is so much easier said than done, as you probably know.

Now it's got so bad I don't want to leave the house, but try explaining that to your partner. I don't want to tell him that in case he gets bored of me not wanting to go out and then leave. He knows about my problem but doesn't understand it. He seems to think toilet habits are something you can control. Yeah right. 'Just tell yourself there's a toilet wherever you go, keep telling yourself that'. Obviously I have tried this technique but all that happens is my brain goes 'I know you're lying'. I probably sound like I'm crazy and sometimes I think I am!

At the moment I can see no way forward and my social life is rapidly going down the pan. Work is a major problem. I work in a shop and I have a constant fear that my managers are going to put me on the till where I have to ring a bell and then wait a while for someone to relieve me before I can go to the toilet. And then I worry that I might have to go again a short time after and then they will make fun. I worry that eventually I might get sacked for having so much time off.

All in all it's a very, very bad condition to have, something where you constantly look for a toilet everywhere you go and try not to move far away from it. Something where you feel there's no chance of you ever getting rid of it and leading a normal life, going out with friends, doing courses, studying, working, going on holiday etc. All those things seem impossible and laughable to me right now. I should also mention that my IBS is greatly increased when I get up early in the morning, anything really before 9 o'clock makes me feel sick and that sets me right off. Don't ask me why, I really don't know.

How I haven't embarrassed myself at work yet is beyond me, but I pray to God I won't because I think actually doing it would destroy me entirely. I know the point that triggered all of this off. I was at a car boot sale six months ago, and I had to be there at 6:30am. It was a bit of a drive and also suffering from morning travel sickness didn't help.

So after we got there it my partner said he was going to have a look around while I manned the stall. As I was feeling sick after the morning journey the thought crossed my mind 'What if I need to be sick, I can't leave the car or our things in case they get stolen. What will I do?' Then that's when the stomach cramps started and I realized I actually needed to go to the loo for diarrhea, not sickness. As you can imagine I quickly came out in sweats, shaking and looking round for my partner in the crowd, but I couldn't spot him.

Eventually it got to that crucial point and I had to ask the couple next to me to watch the car and the stall while I 'went for a wee'. I then realized I had to walk what seemed like miles across the field to the two Portaloos which looked as if they had been there forever. And there was a queue about a mile long.

I managed to make it though, and obviously completely exploded by the time I got there. The pain was phenomenal. To make matters worse the loos were absolutely disgusting; they were the kind you can't really flush, and I have no doubt they'd never been cleaned in the history of that car boot sale.

So I got back to the car, very shaken up, and all I wanted to do was go to the comfort of my own home and bed. Just as I was about to ask my partner if we could go home, I realized that even if we wanted to, we couldn't. As anyone knows, at car boot sales your cars are stacked in a line on a field in rows, and there is absolutely no way of getting out until closing time when the other vehicles have dispersed a bit. Well, that was it then. I was up and down that half-mile walk to the toilet all morning, not knowing what was happening to me.

Ever since, I've been afflicted with this constant fear of not being able to reach a toilet when I need to, and I can honestly say it's ruining my life in all aspects. I cannot get excited about anything, because it's all that plagues my mind. Obviously I have tried Imodium but after you've taken about five million of them they sort of stop working as well as they used to.

The only solution I can think of at the moment is hypnotherapy, to try and tell my brain that this isn't a problem. I think that would help, but it's just so expensive I can't afford it. I don't know what to do, I really don't. And like I said, I don't want my partner leaving me because I don't go out anywhere.

The tale of...Elana (25 February 2008)

I don't really know how to start off a story like this but oh well, I need to try. I'll start with the fact that I haven't been diagnosed officially yet, but my specialist said that IBS is the highest possibility for me right now. Tomorrow I have to do an endoscopy just to make sure, oh joy, I already had one when I was 10 years old and none of my problems have changed so I don't really see the point.

I guess writing this is just my way of freaking out before another stressful event in my life as a person with (almost certain) IBS. I've had blood tests, stool tests, and all of that other fun stuff with all negative results. I read a lot of the stories on this site and it really just had me bursting into tears randomly.

I've felt like this since I was nine years old. I'm going to be 17 soon and I just don't know how I am going to live with this. Without this I feel like my life would be so enjoyable, I have great friends and family, my grades aren't too shabby, and I'm naturally a rather happy and energetic person. Too bad I can't really be myself anymore. Going out with my friends has become nearly impossible, my best friends know about my 'condition' but understanding is not something they always manage to have.

My social life is basically zero, my family is over-stressed because of it and my grades are plummeting from my many absences and inability to concentrate and work hard. I'm in my junior year of high school and there's nothing I can do to be like everyone else. I've tried medicines and nothing works the way I want it to.

A lot of my time is spent feeling sorry for myself, on the computer, and in the bathroom. I won't say any more because there's just too much to really say. This isn't much of a story but rather a rant. Sorry for taking up your time, I just needed to let it out because people around me don't really understand. Thank you.

E-mail: [email protected]

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