Mental health

Invisible Illness.

What’s an invisible illness? As the name suggests, an invisible illness is an illness that cannot be seen. Also, it can’t be diagnosed either.

Here’s my example. When I was about ten years old, I started suffering from stomach aches. Strong stomach aches. I was having problems with my friends at school, and I didn’t want my parents to leave me there anymore. The anxiety was so strong that my belly ached.

In secondary school, the situation got even worse. Not only did my belly ache terribly, but I had frequent episodes of dyarrhea. I had to call my mother several times so that she would take me home – there was no other way to get a permission to go home.

In high school, attending the hardest school in town with very demanding professors, I had to start taking medicines to block my bowel from movement several times a month, in order not to skip tests. I was then diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Now, even after secondary school, I have always had two kinds of episodes – I know it’s not the most romantic topic, but I think it deserves to be talked about.

  • Sometimes I recognized that my stomach ache was caused by anxiety. It felt like my bowel contracted, it was often associated with severe sweating, it didn’t necessarily led to dyarrhea, but it gave a feeling of having to go to the bathroom.
  • Other times, the pain was less diffused, it hit some specific points of my bowel at a time, I could feel strong movements of my bowel, and it was either a very strong pain, or a strong pain accompinied by dyarrhea – no halfways. It felt more like I had eaten something expired and it had hurt me.

Naturally, neither of the episodes is pleasant. Lately, anyway, the second kind is getting more and more common, while the first one is getting rare – it takes place in situations of strong pressure, like exams at university.

While I have always been able to clearly associate the first kind of episode with anxiety (IBS), I have a different feeling about the second kind. Nonetheless, IBS is the only disorder with which I have been diagnosed.

In the last two months, no matter how calm and relaxed I feel, I have suffered from the second kind of episode almost every single day. I have hardly been going out, I can’t study, I’m frustrated and I wonder how I will ever get a normal job like this.

I don’t know if I’m in a phase of denial, or I’m just got an intuition, but I refuse to believe any longer that this is all “just”* IBS and that I have to live with it. I’m going to run some more tests this week, to find out if I may be intolerant to some food. I’m praying the universe that I am, so that I can finally solve this situation. I’ll keep you up to date. Stay with me, my beloved readers, and send good vibes in my direction!

*IBS is an awful and very debilitating disorder, so I invite all of you to NEVER tell a person with IBS to relax cause “the pain is all in their head”.  The pain (and other horrible symptoms) is real as much as the punch in the face that (I hope) you’ll receive for being so little understanding and supportive.

If you are suffering from anxiety, panic attacks or any other kind of mental disorder, don’t hesitate to ask for help! Contact me in private for advice or warm virtual hug, and seek a psychologist’s professional help! Remember, we are all in this together!

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