Acid Reflux at 24

To the people that know me, I have a wide variety of stomach issues. Some are real, physical issues. Some are brought on by this weird kind of stress I’m going to call crippling anxiety. It’s the kind of stress that hurts. And it’s the kind of stress that has given me acid reflux at age 24.

(At least, I’m assuming it is acid reflux. The doctor ran a test, and they won’t have the results for two weeks. Waiting isn’t really helping the situation.)

But I soldier on. My life isn’t bad. There is no reason I should be this stressed. Yeah, I have student debt, but it’s not THAT bad. Yeah, I am working, but knowing it’s a 1 year contract gives me pre-expiration anxiety about finding another job. Still, I jump every time the phone rings and have the weirdest stress dreams about everyday life. WHY?!

I’ve been trying to figure this out for weeks, but I give up. I’m not a doctor. So instead, I’ll give you some tips for walking around with chronic acid reflux. (Much like my How to Travel with IBS post, except without the travelling cause I’m poor now.)

Step 1: Take your once a day acid reducer. Like Prilosec or Nexium. I like Prilosec.

Tip: DO NOT take your acid reducer with coffee. Coffee is just a cup of acid. You don’t need that. But if you really need it. Drink it after you have taken your medicine and have eaten a healthy breakfast like oatmeal.

Step 2: Be ready for the intense, stabbing pain at any moment.

Tip: Wear an undershirt that explains that you have GERD. That way when you fall over at work, you can just take off your shirt and show what is happening. Or, to save on novelty shirts, you can just have a talk with your co-workers about your issues.

Step 3: Eat right. This might seem obvious, but it is really hard to avoid coffee culture in America. It’s like men avoiding going bald. You can try and try, but it will get you.

Tip: When trying to avoid coffee, switch to tea. If you are really tired or work in finance, cocaine is also a thing.

Step 4: Exercise. Again, obvious, but very hard to fit into busy days.

Tip: I like to pay random people on Craigslist to pretend like they are going to murder me on the way home from work. It gets me to run and prevents me from being murdered. Other murders will see and think I’m taken care of. Like how possums play dead. Find whatever exercise works for you and stick to it.

Step 5: Don’t drink or smoke or do anything too late at night or watch scary movies or go to raves.

I don’t have a tip for this one. Hopefully you just don’t like to do those things like me.

Step 6: Always carry around TUMS. Everyone should do this anyway. No matter your stomach situation; it’s just a good rule of thumb.

Tip: Buy the large bottle so you can rattle everywhere you go, and when you pull out the giant bottle of chalk on the train, everyone will stare. Or buy the travel-sized bottle for convenience. Whatever works.

Finally, remember you just a person. A person like everyone else, but with chronic acid reflux that feels like your stomach is being stabbed and the knife is twisted around a couple of times for many hours in the day. Just a regular person.

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