2008 was the year of my diagnosis. I'd always had tummy problems and after a meal my stomach would distend hugely. It wasn't until I started college I got really sick. We think it was stress from the exams I was doing at college, which triggered the flare up which would put me in hospital for the first time.
I was feeling sick a lot and had a lot of crippling stomach pains, constantly. I went to the doctors and without any tests, was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and given a load of tablets and told to have a fibre full diet. Which, as a result made everything worse. At college the only relief I could get was laying on a table at break and lunch times to stretch out. The IBS tablets said to take 30minutes before food only and you MUST eat once 30minutes have gone by. So taking them and waiting, then eating fibre full food, for example grapes and a slice of bread, as my appetite was non- existent was really difficult and always made me feel sick.
Working was also hard, and my employer was extremely unsympathetic and made me work 10-6 Saturdays and some Sundays. In the end I said I couldn't work front of house as I just felt so poorly! So I was stuck washing up weekend after weekend. They took me in the office several times and told me I wasn't working hard enough, and there answer was "I have IBS too and I work hard!"
Exams at college were difficult too, not being allowed breaks and standing up for hours during the exams (Practical Art Exams) became too much and as a result I ended up being violently sick several times during the exam and therefore not being able to finish it.