My life pretty much changed in 2012 after I had my appendix taken out, but things really didn't start getting crazy until 2016 when I officially received my diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome.
I'll spare you the lovely details, but if you don't know what it is, it's basically a disorder where your bowels don't communicate normally with your brain. Sometimes, you feel like you have the sudden urge to go and nothing happens, other times you don't go for weeks. There are different types of IBS and not everyone is the same.
Since my diagnosis, I have been on medications whose names I can't pronounce, been in and out of the emergency room, had to change my diet drastically, and have gone days, sometimes weeks on end in the worst pain of my life.
During the pain, which is better known as a flare-up, I've learned to grin and bare it and pretend like everything was fine because it'd usually come during the most inconvenient time, like during final exam week or in the middle of a big project I was working on.
I would feel so nauseous, my head would spin, my insides would feel like they were being ripped apart, and sometimes, if I was lucky, I'd vomit or run a fever - and then I would break out with ugly purple spots all over my forehead. It wasn't and still isn't cute. Covering it with makeup takes SO LONG, but it's apart of my life now.
I'm not painting you an ugly picture because I want to gross you out. I'm describing what my life has been like for the past few years because there are other people out there just like me. Our problems may not be the same, but we have the same illness. The same struggles, mental and physical.
What I've gone through has made me realize that I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. But it's also made me realize that I'm stubborn, hardheaded, and I just don't know when to give up.
I overbook and overwork myself at school. I focus on 50 things instead of trying to get one thing done at a time. I work on things for hours on end until they're perfect only to find something else wrong, because, after all, we are our own worst critic.
Out of all the stress, there were and are a lot of positives to my life.
I've traveled around the country, been to so many concerts and met many new friends, found where I belong and what I'm passionate about in school, and I'm truly out here living my best life.
Having IBS may be inconvenient for me sometimes. I may be in a lot of pain, I may have to cancel on friends or skip some meals because I'm way too nauseous to eat, but that doesn't mean I should stop living my life.
I'm chronically ill, yes, but I'm still able to do things. I'm still able to live my life the way I want to, I just have to do things differently sometimes.