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I had stomach pain off and on all my life, but as a child the doctors dismissed my pain. My mother was accused of being neurotic and so I pressed on. When I was 11 years old I became severely constipated, and embarrassed when my mother had to administer an anal laxative to me!!! Yuk. During my teens my IBS-D began to be prominent - I had a casual job at McDonalds (shame!) and I became severely ill once a month. I only remember having to go home once, but I can think of many nights where I had to run to the toilet.My problems really began in my second year of university. My parents were having marriage problems and then my family moved to another state and I stayed behind. I ended up living in a hovel with 3 guys and became hooked on marijuana and smoking. I was diagnosed with IBS that year and had all the medical tests done. I was put on anti-depressents which made me feel awful - I felt emotionally numb and extremely tired all the time.I had relationship problems with my boyfriend and was trying to survive working a casual job and studying fulltime as well. In the end I just kept getting sicker and sicker, until finally I stopped eating for two weeks. This was the end of my solo survival. I moved over to live with my parents for a while and recovered a little.That was five years ago and a lot has changed. I am now married and have my own home with my husband who is extremely supportive, and my IBS has definitley improved since I married him! He makes me feel relaxed and we can joke about my IBS. I don't have any miracle cures or secrets to coping with it. My past coping stragies have included - group therapy (general) - seeing gastroenterologist - seeing psychiatrist, psychologist, eating disorder specialist - taking aloe vera juice - taking probiotics - following a no sugar diet (it helped but was hard to maintain) - attempting other dietsCurrently: My main definite success has been relieving emotional stress with my counsellor who I have been seeing the last few months. Its not perfect but I notice the difference in my confidence and stress levels.My individual coping strategies when I have an attack include - visualisation (strangely enough I visualise getting on a boat and leaving my GI on the pier, leaving me free to relax and enjoy myself on the boat with other people) - my hot water bottle - drinking peppermint teaNothing special of course, but then I'm not cured either. I feel only about 40% confident, especially around other people. I'm confident about telling them about IBS, but not about being with them when I don't feel well.I really appreciate this bulletin board, and am looking forward to trying some of the things suggested. I am thinking of getting into the IBS Program 100 audio tapes, so we'll see what happens and go from there.
 
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