My Stomach Hurts...

I'm about to get REAL TMI in this post in the hopes that topics like these become more normalized and show more people they're not alone. I feel like being able to be candid about real stuff is what old school blogs were all about. I never want my online presence to be "curated just so" or seem "perfect" so I'm sharing something that is ever present in my life and impacts my quality of life daily, maybe you can relate.

It was after lunch, I was in my high school freshman english class when I started feeling one of the most excruciating stomach pains I've ever experienced. I keeled over at my desk, could hardly breathe and winced in pain until my teacher excused me to the nurse's office. From there it was to the doctor's office where the search began to find out what was causing the pain. Ultrasounds were done revealing nothing unusual, then I was placed on a celiac diet to see if that improved things- it didn't. Next came a dairy free diet which seemed to do the trick, so it was determined I must be lactose intolerant. Since then, that particular excruciating pain has not happened again, I take a pill anytime I want to eat diary and it usually helps combat the effects of lactose. Even so, I limit my diary intake. However, other stomach issues have persisted even with the dairy concession. 

Now, I haven't had a Dr. diagnose this but after experiencing this for years, the fact is I bloat VERY EASILY. When I say bloat easily I don't just mean I "look bloated." I mean that my abdomen doubles in size, is hard to the touch, I feel intense pressure, there's lots of burping/flatulence, a feeling of bubbles in my stomach, there's constipation and heavy breathing. To someone who doesn't experience bloating on a regular, what I might even consider a chronic, basis these symptoms might seem very minor and I don't blame you. All I have to say to that is you have to experience it on a regular basis to know what a inconvenience it is both in a superficial way but also what a blow it can be emotionally.

When I experience really bad bloating not only can it last several days but it will effect how I sleep, what I can or cannot wear, what I can eat, what exercises I can do, whether I feel like having sex and how I feel about myself overall. Some of my darkest days have stemmed from a bout of bloating that made me not want to leave the house or even catch my reflection in the mirror. Again, to someone unfamiliar, I know this might sound very dramatic and I get that, but it's something I've dealt with for many years and

there is no getting around the shitty feeling when your own body makes you feel nothing like yourself. 

As I write this, I am on day 3 of bloating caused by a (newish) vitamin I had suspected caused me bloating a couple months ago but wasn't 100% sure so I took it again and now I'm certain that's what it is. 

Now, maybe you're like "just stop eating or drinking whatever bloats you...duh" and I get that. I wish it was that easy. I'm finding out nearly every month new things that bloat me so it's something that I can't get a 100% handle on until I track down every culprit with trial and error and can avoid them completely. An example of some of the most recent things I've found bloat me are: La Croix (or anything carbonated), gum, regular coffee, wheat, cauliflower, fried foods, a certain Vitamin and drinking through straws. The vitamin I mentioned is one I need to take so now comes the challenge of figuring out what ingredient in the vitamin is the culprit and try to find a vitamin that does the same thing without said ingredient- wish me luck!

The point of this post is not for pity or to insinuate "my life is so hard" because to be honest this is a first world problem. I'm just wanting to share a part of me that I deal with daily and have to be super conscious about. Bloating makes me feel like shit some days but it's my reality and if you deal with something similar,

you are not alone. 

Thanks for reading this and let's all agree to talk about the real stuff that we all deal with- even if you think it's insignificant- because it isn't and nobody is as perfect as their social presence may make you believe.

-B