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    This Teen With Crohn’s Disease Wants Us To Talk About Invisible Illnesses

    "Your illness is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about."

    This is Aimee Rouski, a 19-year-old from Liverpool, England, who has Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the digestive system.

    Aimee Rouski / Via

    Crohn's is an incurable disease which causes inflammation of the lining of any part of the gastrointestinal tract. It can cause abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition — which can become life-threatening.

    Many people with Crohn's will have at least one surgery as part of treatment, either to widen a part of the intestine or to remove portions of the intestines or the colon and/or rectum.

    Rouski recently posted a few selfies with her ostomy bag and surgical scars to Facebook, and the post is going viral.

    Aimee Rouski / Via Facebook: aimee.rouski

    "I've wanted to do this for a while because I always see body posi posts for weight, but not many for disabilities/invisible illnesses," she writes.

    "I've always been okay with the stuff that has happened to me, but some people have real difficulties accepting these things so I just want to say this. No one will know unless you tell them. People who know will still love you and still find you beautiful. Your illness is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about."

    Rouski told BuzzFeed Health she was diagnosed with Crohn's in 2008, and since then she's had several surgeries, including ones to remove her large intestine, colon, rectum, and anus.

    Aimee Rouski / Via

    One of the most invasive surgeries was to remove her inner thigh muscles, which were used to reconstruct the severe wounds left on her backside after the ileostomy (removal of the large intestine).

    However, Rouski remains incredibly positive and says her walking is fine aside from a little difficulty walking downhill.

    "You don't always know what's going on in people's lives, so don't be so quick to judge, and always keep an open mind," Rouski said.

    Aimee Rouski / Via

    "I nearly died because of my Crohn's, but I still have people saying 'it's just a stomachache,'" she said.

    As her pictures show, it's usually impossible to tell that Rouski is even wearing an ostomy bag.

    And although the feedback to her post has been positive, Rouski says many people who wear ostomy bags struggle to feel confident and accept their bodies.

    Aimee Rouski / Via

    "I know that a lot of people can't come to terms with their illnesses because they overthink and create all these different scenarios, worrying about future relationships, other people seeing the bag, etc," said Rouski. But these are "silly things that shouldn't matter," she said.

    Rouski hopes she can help others struggling to gain confidence and realize they have nothing to be ashamed about.

    Aimee Rouski / Via

    "Honestly I just want people to know that their illnesses, Crohn's or not, are nothing to be ashamed of," Rouski says.

    "I just want those people to know that people will love them and still find them perfect no matter what, in the end it's your personality that matters."

    For more information on Crohn's disease and similar conditions, check out the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.

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