Written by Casey Hersch, MSW, LCSW
November 1, 2019
Published at Taste for Life Magazine
This story originally appeared on Taste for Life
As my college professor closed the door to the classroom, I felt my heart pound. The timed exam was about to begin, and I couldn’t leave the room until I finished. This may not seem like a problem, but it was very stressful for me.
Living with Chronic Illness & Autoimmune Disease
Despite my exceptional academic record, I suffered from severe abdominal pain; just sitting on the hard classroom chair felt like needles stabbing my insides. Distracted by the pain while trying to recall my study materials, I breathed a sigh of relief when I finished my exam. Cradling my stomach, I carefully walked to the front of the room trying to not provoke another spasm attack. I didn’t want my peers to notice I was hurting. Embarrassed, I left the room and headed to the student health center where I could lie down between classes.
“You’re too young to be going through this,” the nurse said. She was referring to my being 20. But I wasn’t too young; older adults are not alone in suffering from chronic illness. In a report published by the Children’s Health Defense Team, over half of millennials surveyed reported having been diagnosed with at least one chronic illness.