My name is Billie Anderson, I’m 21 and I’m a history student down on the sunny English coast! If we are talking hobbies in conjunction with student life, it mainly surrounds how much alcohol you can consume without hospitalising yourself. And also knowing where the cheapest pizza is to soak up all that booze!
The other things I enjoy in life (along with wine and pizza) aren’t exactly mainstream: I owned two very naughty ponies who loved to see how quickly they could throw me into the mud! As a kid I’d spend my pocket money on a new bridle or rugs for the horses rather than makeup and clothes like my friends!
I’m also an avid petrol head – an interest that was spurred by my grandad when he took me for a drive in his classic Porsche 924 when I was 7. I almost drowned when the passenger-side foot well flooded with water! There is so much character to a classic car – the smell of pure petrol mixed with 50-year-old cigarette smoke that is ingrained into the upholstery of a 1971 mk1 Ford Capri is so much more exciting than a Prius! Ive always preferred scrolling through classic car magazines looking at engines and the restoration of some beaten up old Beetle, than the ‘top ten reasons why your crush is ignoring you’ section of Hello!
Im also a super nerd! With the end of university growing ever closer, it’s a time that every student dreads… Dissertations! Along with my not-so-conventional hobbies, the area of study I specialise in is the history of piracy. So it’s 10,000 words about the life of Jack Sparrow and ‘research’ includes watching my way through every single Pirates of The Caribbean film! Not a bad way to spend the year if you ask me!
Now I’ve tried to make myself sound slightly interesting, onto the blog I run! Around 9 months ago I created Trust Your Gut. I started this project after being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis – one of the ugly sisters of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) – the other being Crohn’s disease. I decided to write about my illness due to how isolating it can be; I felt so alone in my fight against Colitis, not knowing anyone who had experienced it, and I didn’t want anyone to go through the same thing I did.
I found myself spending more time in hospital, talking to doctors, rather than going to uni and partying with my mates, so Trust Your Gut became a place where I felt other people could get a more human response to the illness rather than just the clinical talk you get from doctors and nurses.
As my illness progressed however, it became clear that my UC was very serious and the drug therapy I was placed on wasn’t making me any better. So in January 2018, one year after my diagnosis, I underwent major abdominal surgery to remove my very angry, ulcerated colon and given an ileostomy (so I haven’t got a large intestine and my small intestine pokes about an inch out of my stomach into a bag). Due to my surgery, Trust Your Gut went from being all about my life with a chronic illness and spreading awareness for IBD, to stoma awareness.
It is now all about how my little stoma bag saved my life!
From my point of view there isn’t enough awareness about IBD or stomas – particularly for younger people – and I hope that Trust Your Gut can be a platform to spread the word! This is a blog that has been a little refuge for me and hopefully other people (those who are diagnosed, have a connection to the disease through someone else or even those who just want to find out more) in raising awareness for an illness that isn’t talked about enough!
Along the way I’ve been inspired by so many other bloggers, vloggers and Instagrammers who all do so much to raise awareness for IBD and stoma life. The little Instagram family that I’ve built up over the last few months has been a lifeline of support and love in the fight against such a difficult disease!
Trust Your Gut has been something that I’ve found I truly love – a little project that hopefully helps raise awareness for those who don’t know about IBD and also a place where those who do know about it can find some comfort in knowing they aren’t going it alone! I love divulging all my secrets and probably boring the pants off everyone on there! In amongst the non-conventional hobbies I have, I now have a very non-conventional blog to go with a non-conventional stomach, all in the hope of spreading a little love!
You can find out all my secrets about bag-life here (https://trustyourgut.blog) and on Instagram too (@billieandersonx)!
Here’s to making the very non-conventional stomach I have conventional!
*Written by Billie Anderson, Trust Your Gut | Edited by Dawsonxo | Photo credit by Billie Anderson, Trust your Gut | Subject to Copyright*