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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK. I’m going to college in the fall. I hadn’t been planning to live on campus but then I got this scholarship, and one of the requirements for it is to live on campus, to “be involved” or something…Anyways, this presents a problem for me. Living cramped up in a tiny little dorm is one of those things like being stuck in a traffic jam or in an important classroom discussion when you need to get to a bathroom. It stresses me out and makes me sick.On top of that, underclassmen have to live with a roommate. I just cannot do this. I know I am going to make myself physically ill all the time from stress, doing schoolwork is going to be harder, just functioning is going to be harder... I’m so stressed about this! I haven’t even told my longtime friends about what my IBS really is because of embarrassment, so how could I trust a complete stranger with what I go through every day?So I’ve been considering seeing if I can live on campus alone, for medical reasons but then I'd feel like my scholarship is for nothing, because it’ll cost my parents more money for me to live by myself. I know they’d be fine with giving me the extra money if I need it, but I’d feel so guilty. You guys know what its like to deal with IBS – is it wrong of me to do that to them?And also, if I ask the college about getting my own dorm for medical reasons, who do I talk to? And what do I do/how do I cope if they refuse to let me live by myself?Thank you for taking the time to read all this if you did, I know it was kind of long but I’d really appreciate advice from people who know what I’m going through.
 

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You should email the university right away and see what they say about the situation. If you can prove that it is a disability then they shouldn't have a problem with it.Nikki
 

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I had the same prob when I was in school, I did have a roomate and it was just too much for me to deal with, so I tried to get a single. I spoke to my therapist (or to your doc) and explained my situation and told them that it wasn't helping me deal with my depression and everything else having someone else around...I had to make it sound worse than what it was too, b/c they do give u a bit of a hard time. You definitely need to get a note from a doc, saying how beneficial and necessary it is for you to have one. If it's a medical disability they may not charge u, not sure. I then had to bring that note to a social worker on campus, who talked to me first, then wrote a letter that I could take to campus residences, who then gave me a list of rooms I could choose from. So I eventually got my single and it was sooo much better for me physically and mentally. Just don't wait too long to do all of this, singles go really quickly since they are limited....try talking to campus residences first, they should be able to point you in the right direction. Hope this helps....good luck
 

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Hi GG,I agree with the above advice - get a note from your doctor and enclose it in a letter to the Dean of Students (or Student Life, health services, head of the scholarship program) ASAP. At my school you were able to bypass the horrible room assignment system if you had medical reasons for needing a particular setup (no stairs, single room, etc). I never did it myself but had friends who did, and they said it was fairly straightforward as long as you had the doctor's explanation.Maybe if you talk to the head of the scholarship program, (s)he would be willing to talk to some other official on your behalf. Scholarships are great like that!
 

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I agree that your college/uni would prob help you get around this issue if you explained the issue. One thing to be aware of tho is that other students may well ask you why you've got your own room- so if you're not ready to tell them have a plausible explaination at hand. I really feel for you having to deal with this- I mean sitting in lecture halls can be stressful enough with IBS and it's really important to have your own space to disappear to when you're feeling crummy. You mentioned that you haven't told your closest friends yet. When I first used this forum I hadn't either, but coming on here made me feel more normal and helped me gain enough confidence to start telling people- I actually found that all my friends I told were really understanding and it makes my life so much easier now I can be more honest with them (no more making excuses for leaving early because I must find a toilet NOW!)I think it's probably a bit easier to tell people as you get older tho- people are more likely to have come across IBS before and you need to do less explaining.I feel like I've ranted on long enough ;0)Best of luck with finding a solution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the advice.The thought has crossed my mind that others are going to wonder why I have my own room if I do get one. Any suggestions also on what I could tell them? Or how exactly to explain IBS without making it sound gross/embarrassing but still explaining its seriousness??
 

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When I finally decided to tell a few people it was the beginning of my post grad degree- I'd made a couple of new close friends and decided to just mention it in passing. I think the conversation went like this....Her: Oh I didn't know you smoked?Me: I don't really, I have IBS and if I feel a bit dodgy before a lecture it helps a bit.Her: Sh1t poor youJust trying to remember how I told another friend- I think she saw me taking my colofac(uk anti-spasmodic) and asked if I was ok, so I told her it was for my IBS. I remember that as soon as I told her she said "Oh really my friend rachel has that too"...so I guess I was lucky in that I didn't really need to explain myself too much.When I was explaining IBS to my sister in law I told her a slightly prettier version of the truth...something like "I get really bad gut cramps and my digestion is really shafted" failing to mention constipation, farting, piles and these weird bowel rumblings I get ;0)Right now about that plausible explaination.... tricky one huh?! they only had a single room left You suffer from insomnia!You're repeating your first year!(hmm I think i'd better have a think about this and get back to you)
 

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Perhaps it's the scholarship people you need to talk to rather than the college (unless they're one in the same) as I'd have thought they might let you keep the scholarship but live at home if they understood your circumstances
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The scholarship and college people are one in the same, but for some reason that never crossed my mind to see if they'd let me live at home considering my condition. Maybe they will, but I doubt it.Anyway, I have to go to the college Monday to schedule the classes and I've talked to the advisor before and she's really nice, so hopefully I can explain it to her a little bit and she can lead me in the right direction as to who I can talk to about all this. I'm assuming once I know who exactly at my college to go to, I can get notes from my doctor; I know he'll be supportive through this - he got me through highschool with out failing for missing so many days! Isn't it just ironic - in trying to reduce stress to help your IBS you have to go through extremely stressful situations that just make it worse at the time. Sigh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, I'm a little slow to tell anyone who is interested what happened Monday, but basically this is it..I told my advisor I had IBS and she seemed nice about it but I don't think she understood the severity of it. She told me she understood if I was sick a lot, that that can't be helped, which was nice. But she seemed like I was crazy by wanting to let my professors know. Apparently she's never had to run out of a classroom in search of the nearest toilet.
Doesn't look like I'm going to be getting my own dorm, which is upsetting but hopefully I'll get an understanding roommate. Also, the way my schedule worked out I'll have plenty of time in the week to come home and relax in the safety that is my room. hehe. My advisor also told me that if I couldn't make it to certain trips and seminars required of me for my honors class, it would probably be ok. So I mean, she was nice but I don't think she totally understood that it's an everyday thing and not like a once in a while type thing, you know? and I think she kind of felt like, "This isn't my issue, take it to the college nurse or something," while still trying to be polite about it. You know?I don't know I hope this made sense, it's pretty late here and I'm tired.
 

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Hey girl. Glad things are looking a bit better for you. Don't be ashamed of IBS and needing to run all the time. It's the social stigma's attached to what we as women are expected to be that make our IBS seem completely other-wordly. Just go with the flow. I have a huge problem with rumbles and popping sounds which signify the need to relieve gas and you know what, some days I get brave, stand up from the company I'm in and go do my thing. You know, it's so true that the more nervous we make ourselves, the worse it becomes and that doesn't help IBS. So, for what it's worth when people don't try to understand it's because they're ignorant and that's not your fault. Good luck with the studies! V
 

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Know I'm a bit slow here, but on the telling people thing, if I don't know someone well I just explain the pain and cramping and say I feel sick, rather than the embaressing stuff. Also I think you should try to push for your own room. So weird in the uk almost all rooms are singles, I don't know anyone who shares a room at uni, maybe things will gradually change over there too.
 

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At this very moment I'm sitting on my couch with my stomach making some pretty crazy noises, and my roommate is playing her piano, completely unaware of amusing sounds my stomach it makeing
just thought that I should mention that. Ok to the reply: Here's my thoughts: IBS sucks, it sucks big time, but you can't let it take over your life, when you let it take over your life it gets worse because you're paranoid about the possible outcomes. I'm not saying this blindly, I was fist diagnosed with IBS when I was 10, but it went into remission and only just flaired up last October (just before I turned 20). I let this basically consume my life, I became really depressed, I also had to deal with a lot anxiety... anywho life became a lot harder when I was focusing on the all the problems that came with IBS, and this is where I come in with some things to think about when going to college, and living with roommates, and having IBS.1)College is different from highschool, people tend to behave better and are a little more considerate of others, this includes roommates and professors. Most profs won't have an issue with you getting up to go to the bathroom during a lecture, and if they do let them know you have IBS, maybe through in a little humor, anyway, they're usually pretty understanding. As for roommates they might not even care. If you have to deal with bunk beds grab the bottom so you don't have the hassle of climbing off the top, if not grab the bed next to the window. Keep some sort of music or something on... she might not even notice, if she does, just give a quick heads up ("Hey, I have IBS, it's not contagious or anything, but my stomach tends to freak out on me..."). 2) Bathrooms, if you like to have some privacy (which I'm sure most of IBS peeps crave), do some bathroom scouting. Look for bathrooms that don't tend to be used, or that lock so you can take the whole bathroom... my school has over 30,000 people, but I can almost always find an empty bathroom (if I have the time to make it to an empty one... if not, I pray that no one sees me
3) In my opinion, if you got a room to yourself, you'd be missing out on an experience.Ok well, I'll stop rambling, I hope this was helpful. What school are you going to?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks to everyone for replying.Actually, I think the singles are pretty much taken now...long story about mixups since I hadn't been planning on staying on campus at first but anyways... I'm trying to get myself convinced that it'll be ok for me to live with someone else now... I'm really trying to work hard to make myself not so embarrassed of my IBS anymore (and let me just say that is hard to do! Last week was my prom and on the way there I had to stop at a convience store in my huge ballgown, trailing through the isles to get to the bathroom, people staring at me the whole time. Talk about embarrassing.)Anyways, thanks for the advice, especially Leyaflute. I think that's what I really needed to hear... that IBS and roommates can work out. I'm terrified for college, but I'm trying...Anyhow, I'm going to a small Catholic, liberal arts college, Mount Aloysius.Oh yeah, one last thing...I've been being a little bit more honest with my friends lately...I've only actually told one what exactly IBS is but that's a start. And whenever people ask, I've been telling them it's a medical condition I have were something is wrong with my intestines and I can't digest food very well, so I just have extreme stomach pain pretty much any time I eat.
 

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Looks like I'm coming into the discussion late, but I wanted to share something I read on a website:"If you don't tell people that you have IBS, they will assume that you act the way you do for much stranger reasons!"I just got IBS this year, in grad school, I one of my flatmates is a boy, so it's been mortifying. I've never been one to want to talk or joke about the bathroom, but if you can become comfortable telling people about it, do so, and tell people right away when you get to college. If you act like it's normal, they will think it's normal too. Definitely tell your closest friends, if only because it will make you feel closer to them. And if you tell other people that you have IBS, they usually know what it is and you can leave it at that, without going into the embarassing details.I always just say, "I have a digestive disorder," and the people who would be comfortable hearing more about it ask, and the people who don't want to know, don't ask. It works out OK. Good luck!
 

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I lived in the dorms at my school with a room mate during my freshman year, right when my IBS symptoms starting really affecting me.Some tips that helped me, the arrangement in our dorms was a suite where you had 2 dorm rooms (4 people) sharing one bathroom, which made me very uncomfortable if I had diarrhea to use that bathroom so luckily on main floor of the dorm there was a large public restroom that I used if I was sick.Also when I would study for tests and get really stressed I found it helpful to study in private study rooms in the library or something, just to get out of that tiny dorm room.
 

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Yeah, i shocked you share rooms in the USA as well! I dont know anyone that has a "roommate" in the UK at university! I think that would suck! You would not be missing out if you didn't share, but you will most likely end up with someone really nice though!Just tell your new roommate about it, have a couple drinks when you move in together or soemthing and get it off your chest!I love my current housemates as they are so nice about it all. I spend hours in the bathroom and they never comment!Nikki
 

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Grace,When I last lived in the dorms, I had to share one toliet with three other guys, not including myself. Four to a toilet. If I had to go really bad I would have to run downstairs and go in the 'community' bathroom that was located at the entrance of the dorm. Do you have one of these available?
 
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