In this YouTube video, vlogger Emily Ellen talks about what it’s like living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) while at college.
Emily was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when she was a freshman in college. The diagnosis itself is stressful enough, but when you’re living in shared accommodation and have to share a bathroom with 30 other people, things can get a little bit tricky.
Emily talks about her diagnosis, the symptoms she experienced, the medications she’s been on and the side effects they caused.
She also shares her best tips for managing an IBD at college, including:
Use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
This is the epitome of making lemonade out of lemons. Emily says this is the best thing about having to get up every few hours. It can be hard sharing a bathroom with 30 other students, but as Emily says, “Nobody uses the bathroom at 4am.”
Leave the dorms before a colonoscopy.
Colonoscopy prep is hard enough, Emily advises not doing it in the dorms. She spent the night in a hotel with her mom, but if that’s not an option, she recommends grabbing a close pal and getting away from campus for a night if you’re forced to have the test while at school.
Like most IBD patients, Emily’s had good days and bad days. Some days, she says she wanted “to pack up all her stuff and move home,” but by setting goals for herself, she was able to stay focused on getting through the difficult days.
Find your people.
Find good people who will support you and be there for you when you need them. IBD is no joke and you need people around you who won’t treat you like one, and will at least try to understand what you’re going through. She also recommends choosing to surround yourself with people who will bring positivity into your life, since it’s easy for IBD sufferers to feel down.
Join on an online support group.
You’re most likely living away from home — so joining an online support group will give you 24/7 access to a community of people who are not only are going through the same things you are, but can be there for you when you need them.
Learn to be open about your disease.
People can’t help you if they don’t know something’s wrong. As Emily says, “If you’re having a bad day, you have to straight-up say what’s going on. Educate your friends.”
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