It can be very weird to start saying something like “I have a condition.” But, I’m going to say it here. I have a condition.

I’ve actually had a condition for a long time, I just always assumed everyone had it. You hear about people having an upset stomach or heartburn, and you just assume what they’re experiencing is the awful pain and upset of a stomach with way too acid, like mine.

For years, I don’t know, perhaps always, I’ve had stomach problems, and I just assumed they were at most slightly worse than the average person. I was embarrassed by them, and I thought it was wrong to complain. I never really even mentioned it to my parents, other than maybe a rare moan when I was particularly tired or it was particularly flared up.

I might never have known it was an issue if I hadn’t spoken to my roommate. I’m at college right now, and in typical new roommate fashion, we got a little drunk and started talking about everything. And at some point, I mentioned my stomach.

“How bad is it?” she asked me. “Because I know someone who had something just like that.”

It turns out, as I said at the beginning, I have a condition. I finally went and saw my family doctor, who told me I need to see a gastroenterologist, which is the fancy word for a stomach doctor. She didn’t want to come down on one side of a diagnosis or another, but she did think it was something that could be fixed, assuming not too much damage had been done.

That last point was a little scary, but I am hopeful I’m young enough anything can be fixed at this point.

So, I have a condition. I don’t know exactly what it is yet, but I know it needs treatment. I’ve decided I want to start a blog discussing this because I want other people who maybe haven’t realized that their issues are actual issues to see how much better life can get when you go and actually have things look at.

I’m hoping over the course of these blogs to chart my own progress, from diagnosis to treatment to, I hope, cure, or at least some way to leave more comfortably long term.

I don’t really know anything yet, but I want to be bold and forward and honest about this because I think too many people are suffering quietly, whether it be from psychological issues, or addiction, or embarrassing conditions like mine.

So, check in here regularly, and I hope you’ll find something worth reading that will encourage you to come forward with your issues and get treatment or to encourage those who have issues to come forward. If we make it a priority to get checked up no matter what the complaint is, I think we could really improve a lot of people’s lives.

So say it with me: I have a condition, and that’s okay.