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What life is like with a hidden disability The ERIC Young Champions share their thoughts about what they wish others knew and ask all people to stop judging a book by its cover.

What is life like with a hidden disability? 

People don’t know how hard it can be to be a young person with a bowel or bladder condition.

It can be awkward at school if we have to leave class when at school.

Having a bladder or bowel condition can have a really big impact on your life. It can affect your confidence and your relationships.

It can be really scary to tell your friends or family about your condition.

Sometimes people laugh or make jokes about us and our conditions, but it really isn’t funny.

Sometimes your condition can be okay and other times it can be really bad. There isn’t always a pattern to how we are feeling.

Because bowel and bladder conditions are invisible, other people can’t see what you’re going through. So it isn’t always obvious the support you might need.

Sometimes it can be difficult to hear someone say ‘get well soon’ when there isn’t an easy fix for you. It might be that our condition is lifelong.

So what can you do to support young people with bowel and bladder conditions?

Try and understand what it is like from our perspective.

Please be understanding of our challenges and more respectful of us.

Ask us how we’re feeling and how you can support us. This might change from day to day.

Be patient with us. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the words to say or have the confidence to speak up.

When I feel sick it is not the same as when you get sick.

Don’t assume we are always ok.

And finally, learn more about bladder and bowel conditions. They’re not as rare as you might think.

Getting help and support:

ERIC have loads of resources for young people, parents and carers and professionals. We have made lots of videos and written blogs about our experiences which we hope you will find helpful and reassuring. 

Videos and blogs by the Young Champions

About the authors: 

The ERIC Young Champions are a group of young people aged 11-18 who have come together to raise awareness around bladder and bowel problems. They've shared videos and blogs about their conditions to help others.