Hello my name is Erica and I am 23 years old. As a child I have always had stomach issues but I have thought It was normal because I use to eat weird food combinations like Mac and Cheese and sunflower seeds lol. I didn’t really relize that my stomach ache was more than just a regular stomach ache until one day I had a horrible flare-up. I was 16 in my senior year of High School and suddenly I could not leave the restroom for 5 mins without having to go back in. I was so concerned and like everyone else I went straight to google. Thats the one thing I should have not done lol because it freaked me out. Months later I set an apointment with my previous family doctor and told her all my symptoms. She reffered me to a GI doctor who than scared me more with big words like IBD, IBS, Chrohns etc. I didn’t want to believe that this was happening to me a 16 year old girl thats about to graduate high school and about to go college. As time went on my old GI doctor gave me a colonoscopy, diagosed me with IBS and sent me on my way. That was the last time I saw him. I was so lost on what to do next, I searched on the internet on what to do and found nothing. So I did what all people my age do… go on social media, and I found a whole IBS community that was very supportive and very understanding. Now at age 23 I have made my own IBS Instagram page called IBS_warriors, where I make memes about how IBS can be, I share important facts about IBS and I also do Live videos. I try to make people laugh so that we can take a break from the pain. I am so glad that I found a communtity and a new GI doctor that understands what I go through everyday. Having IBS has not been easy.. I have been In the bathroom for 5 hours, been in excruciating pain, went to thr ER, missed events etc. IBS is a horrible thing to live with but I’m glad that I found a community in the midst of it. Although I have found an amazing IBS community I have really struggled with anxiety and depression because of IBS. I now worry about eating and what can cause a flare-up or when a flare-up will appear. It’s crazy to think that I was just a “normal” teenager and now I am a young adult with a body that feels like a 70-year-old. My mental health has really been affected and I have been learning to deal with it. I’m not going to lie it has been really hard, but I know that one day it will get better. I hope that more research can find something to help us deal with this crazy illness. I hope my story shows you that even though we have IBS, we are not alone and that there is a community for us. I hope my story helps the person that is reading this.