Sunday 11 December 2016
How do you manage living with an invisible illness? It certainly isn't easy, that's for sure.
Out of nowhere comes a sharp, acute pain, as if you've just been stabbed in the stomach. You can't move, you want to cry, you want a hot water bottle, and you really just want your mum.
But you can't have any of that. Why? Because you're at work, and the pain is invisible.
So when it hits 10 out of 10 on the pain scale, who's going to believe that you feel like you're dying? Especially when you're showing no physical symptoms, your complexion is fine, you don't have a temperature, you're not bleeding: you look normal.
Generally when you live with a silent disease like endometriosis, you want to be treated normally. But what's more painful than your symptoms, is nobody believing you and the extent of pain you are in.
So how do you manage? You continue to build you mental tenacity. You learn to deal with it and the fact that people won't always believe you or understand your illness.
It was harder when I was younger. I found myself in a spiral of self-destruction, questioning, why me? What did I do to deserve this? Why am I spending my teenage years in and out of hospital, seeing specialist after specialist?
As I've grown older, I've accepted that there is no simple answer, there is no cure, no magic pill that will make life easier.
You are the one in control and you have to be willing to try new things and explain your situation to people and generally, people tend to admire the determination and willingness you have to pursuit with life as normally as possible.
You have to learn not to give up, even when it turns your life upside down.
You must grow to accept that this is you and there is nothing you can do about it.
I've accepted it and embraced it.
Living with endometriosis has made me the person I am today, made me more determined to achieve things and overcome the unpredictable obstacles along the way.
My blog, Embracing It, shares my story and life alterations.
Generally, the better I look after myself, the better my body treats me. I hope that my story inspires others and assists in making life living with an invisible illness that little bit easier.
*this was an opinion piece published on stuff.co.nz on 09/06/2015
Photograph taken by Thomas Kay.