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When I Was Judged Because I 'Look Well'

I have severe ulcerative colitis. For those who do not know what that is, it is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), like Crohn’s disease. It can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, blood in stools, dehydration, weight loss, and exhaustion. I have had this since I was 9.

When I was 14, I had the the three surgeries to remove my colon, form a colostomy, and a colostomy reversal. Fast forward four years later and I still have adhesions, inflammation my small intestine, and kinked, stretched bowels.

During first year of college I decided to put myself out there, despite my anxiety, my running to the bathroom and feeling nauseous and exhausted all the time, and I went through sorority recruitment. After all, I am still a young woman trying to have a life.

One day during recruitment all the potential members were waiting in crowded hallways to meet up with current members. The hallways were packed, with hundreds of girls waiting eagerly. We were not allowed to bring our own drinks, so I could not bring my water bottle, despite my constant dehydration. I did not know anyone, and I was in a building where I had no idea how to get around. I began to feel dizzy and nauseous. I was afraid of passing out, which I have done before. I decided to listen to my body and ask an older sorority woman to help me find a water fountain.

Due to my anxiety, it took me a few minutes of sitting on the floor (while everyone else was standing), to work up the courage to ask for help. I willed myself to ask where the water fountains were. A simple question, or so I thought. When I asked, I saw many of the girls scowling at me, and I heard one of them mumble, “I wish someone would take me to the water fountains.” Little did this judgmental girl know, I have an invisible illness. I have severely complicated ulcerative colitis, and I do not have a colon. Little did she know, I would go on four months later to have another surgery, and I would have one more surgery a few months after that. Since this incident I have been hospitalized over four times. But, I am still trying to live my life to the fullest.

It is important not to judge those who “look well.” I may be young, but I am still ill. Let’s support others.

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Thinkstock Image By: oneinchpunch