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Dealing with Peer Pressure

Having to undergo an intestinal transplant and being a young adult is an extremely difficult combination, especially in the social scene. In high school, all you want is to fit in, yet, your transplant places many limitations on your ability to meet these social norms. At this age, your peers may try to pressure you into drinking or drugs, both which can be dangerous with your anti-rejection medications. Dating and sexual relationships can be tricky due to your physical health and items like your ileostomy. Because you are different from the rest of the group, you may be bullied, which can lead to depression and anxiety.

So how can you deal with peer pressure?

1. Educate your friends. If you educate the people your friends about your transplant so they understand your limitations (such as you cannot consume alcohol), then, they should not pressure you into situations that you cannot participate in because of your transplant. If you have educated a friend ,and they still try to pressure you, then that is not a true friend.  You should just walk away.

2. Plan for possible pressure situations. If you are going to an event or party in which you know there will be people there that do not know your situation, be prepared for the possibility that someone may try to pressure you into a risky behavior. Prepare by getting comfortable saying ‘no.’ For example, “No thanks, I just had a big operation and I am still recovering.”

  • If that doesn’t work and you still feel uncomfortable, call your parents and have a prepared phrase to say so that they know it is time for them to come and pick you up, such as “Can you come and get me? My headache is back.”

3. Another option if you find yourself in a sticky situation is to blame your parents: "Are you kidding? If my mom found out, she'd kill me, and her spies are everywhere."

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