My IBS symptoms started when I was 13. I didn’t tell a soul. I was great at hiding my symptoms. The thought of having to tell anyone was hard. So I would turn on the shower at home and pretend to take long showers when in reality I was in there with debilitating symptoms. I got diagnosed with IBS-M when I was 18 and I’m 19 now. With the pandemic I was able to hide my flare ups. They seem to be getting worse with age but since school was online I could just turn off my camera and go to the bathroom. It wasn’t until I started college and we went back to in person learning that I really started to have problems. I’m leaving mid class to find the nearest bathroom and have had trouble making new friends because I’m never around. I’ve recently started having flare ups during work hours too. I don’t want to keep missing school and calling out of work because of my frequent and urgent bathroom runs. I’ve spent months getting all sorts of tests and blood work done and everything always comes back clear. It’s so frustrating. After my diagnosis I told a lot of people in my life about it. All that shame that I felt when I was kid left me. This is just a part of my life right now. I’m going to share my story and share my life and I’m not going to feel bad about it. I keep telling myself that IBS just disrupts my life, it doesn’t ruin it. I’m working on acceptance and mindset about my life. It still feels isolating though. But I mean everyone has something going on with them in their life. Some people are diabetic, some have cancer, some struggle with mental health. I have IBS.