Hi, I guess I'll just jump right into it:
I'm a male in my early 20's, and I have chronic diarrhea or (or maybe fecal incontinence) that I believe is caused by anxiety problems. This is seriously affecting my life, due to the obvious potential social embarassment. I very often decide to stay home when I could be out doing things, because I'm too scared of losing control of my bowels in public.
I won't go to a bar with my friends because they don't have a toilet (or at least not one a sane person would use). I won't go to certain people's houses because I don't want deal with the embarassment of "stinking up" their bathroom. I sometimes won't even make a 5 minute drive to get fast food because I'm worried I may not be able to make it to a bathroom in time if need be. I even recently turned down a free trip to somewhere I've always wanted to go because that country doesn't have easily accesible public toilets.
The funny thing is, I know it's my anxiety that is most likely causing the problem, because it always gets worse when I'm worried about it. For example, if I talk myself into leaving the house to go somewhere I'll usually be so worried about getting diarrhea, that I'll actually give myself diarrhea (when I would have been fine if I had stayed home). So it's a vicious cycle kind of situation.
Now, I'm sure most people who don't know me well would probably assume I'm normal. I have a regular job and a girlfriend whom I live with. But, it's greatly hampering my ability to enjoy life. I'd love to go kayaking, or hiking, or travel the world, but can't because of my problems.
Sorry if that intro was long winded, but I want to make sure I'm giving a clear picture of the problem I have. Now, luckily, I do have a pretty good idea of when and why this started:
When I was around 10 years old my parents divorced and I moved to another state. I had no friends and got bullied at my new school. I started "playing hooky" so I wouldn't have to go to school. But, that made me feel guilty, so I'd try to feel sick. If I could convince my self I actually was sick, then I didn't have to feel bad about not going to school. Eventually it got the point where if I was nervous about going to school, my stomach would automatically start hurting and I'd have diarrhea. But, after a while my parents obviously took notice of how much school I was missing, and starting making me go even if I was sick. But, by that point being sick was an involuntary reaction to being nervous. So, I often had stomach pain and diarrhea at school. I got so nervous about having diarrhea at school (for obvious reasons) that I got diarrha whenever I was out of my comfort zone (almost everywhere but home).
Over the years my parents took me to a bunch of different doctors, none of whom could find a problem other than maybe Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Later, when I was a teenager, I ended up in therapy a lot and was diagnosed with ADD, some depression disorder, anti-social personality disorder, and some anxiety disorder. I only bring that up because I'm not sure if they're related to the health problems (I'm sure the anxiety disorder is). But, I was only medicated for a short time until they took me off because of some problems I had with drugs at the time.
Since then I've just tried to deal with it as best as I can. At some times it's worse than others (for a whole year or two when I first moved out of my parent's house it seemed like it was pretty much gone). But, it seems to be affecting me a lot now, and as I said earlier is really kind of debilitating, so I need to get something figured out. If anyone knows what this is or how to fix it, I'd really appreciate your advice. I really just want to be able to do normal things that everyone else gets to do.
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