Endometriosis?

Today is one of my talking about something different blog posts. In all honesty, as I recover more from my eating disorder I don’t feel like talking or writing about it so much. The muse is just not there anymore. So today I am going to talk about endometriosis, which is a condition which I think I have but me being me is too scared to go to the doctor just to not be taken seriously.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a common condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb (the endometrium) is found outside the womb.

These pieces of tissue can be found in many different areas of the body, including:

  • the ovaries and fallopian tubes
  • outside the womb
  • the lining of the inside of the abdomen
  • the bowel or bladder

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Endometriosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Why do I think I have this condition?

Now before you expect some story about the number of ER (Or A&E in the UK here trips I’ve had or how much school I’ve missed. You’re not going to get that. Because I’ve ever missed school as if I was to tell my mum I had period pain, albeit really quite severe pain she would tell me to get a grip or harden up. And as for no A&E visits (Come on I’m not American guys I have to say it properly) There have been many occasions where I probably should have gone to A&E because of said pain but I didn’t want to be a burden on my parents so I always hid it from them as best as I could. Anyway, without further delay lets get started with the story.

I got my first period the day after my 11th birthday, December 4th 2008. I remember waking up and thinking I was sick because I was in pain, I thought I probably had some sort of stomach bug or something until I got out of bed and realised what it was. But I couldn’t stay off school because this was the day before the Christmas fair and I was playing a lead role in a segment of Nicholas Nickleby. I had to be present because as us actors say. The show must go on. (not that I would call myself an actor but that’s beside the point.) Anyway, I remember feeling really ill all day and in really quite a bit of pain. More than a stomach bug would bring and it was lower down than what a stomach bug would bring. In my experience anyway. I remember fighting through classes and rehearsals. I actually forgot to take my spoon on stage once because I was in so much pain presumably, seeing as I’ve never forgotten props before or after that occasion.

That was my first period and also around the point I started feeling sick all the time. Okay in reality not all the time, but it probably seemed like it from the teachers perspective with the amount I went to the medical room. This is also when I started getting pelvic pain right where you would if you had appendicitis and I was genuinely paranoid I had appendicitis until I’d researched it and realised I couldn’t have because this pain was an on and off pain that would last for maybe a week at a time? Or at least in those days.

My periods were light when they started, as they are now but even then, looking back I still remember pre-period nausea, diarrhoea I would get on the first 2-3 days, and the pain. All things I have continued to experience frequently up to this day.

With secondary school starting I learnt not to moan as much about feeling ill or being in pain, more so I was too anxious to tell teachers I wasn’t feeling well because I didn’t get on with my form at all. My friends did, however, know about this constant feeling sick, as they called it and I am well aware this is something that annoyed them greatly. Anyway, year 7 brought about the first time I really did think I had appendicitis. It was a day we had PE I remember because I asked to sit out as I was in so much pain and I felt so ill, but I wasn’t aloud as the teacher didn’t believe me. Back then I wasn’t a teacher’s pet but year 9 onwards I could basically sit out of PE whenever it suited me. A power I didn’t abuse because I loved PE but used when I absolutely could not handle standing, running, or sporting in any way due to this mysterious, as it was back then pain. I was actually really struggling to stand, let alone run so obviously I was “slacking.” As it probably appeared to everyone else. I remember next period we had textiles and the pain had intensified since PE. I was actually contemplating telling the teacher but this time, it was more the anxiety of possibly having to go to the hospital because of where the pain was that stopped me. Obviously, I eventually got better at some point after this moment, or at least marginally to not be in as much pain as I was on that occasion.

It was year 8 that my periods got heavy, and by heavy. I mean having to change my pad between periods, so every hour. They also became much more painful, I actually started sneaking painkillers from the cupboard in the kitchen, painkillers actually helped back then, or at least somewhat. That year there were two occasions where I thought I had appendicitis. (Common theme for me here) One towards the end of February and another in august. The time in February was the worst. I was in the most pain I’ve ever been in in my life and today I still agree with that statement. I have never been in more pain than I was that night, but guess who still didn’t go to A&E because they didn’t want to be a burden on their parents. Me of course. This was definitely in the middle of my cycle because year 8 was when I started to notice a pattern between when my various pains and nausea would act up. The one in August my friend actually thought I had appendicitis, a friend of ours had just had it. And she tried to drag me to the doctor, however, me being me refused.

By year 9 I would get period pain in my back and abdomen, I was popping the pills every 3 hours rather than every 4 when it was that time of the month and even then I didn’t get much relief. By year 9 I would feel ill for 3 weeks of every month and still had heavy and long, 8-9 day periods. It was in year 9 that my aunt was diagnosed with breast  cancer and I started to talk to her more, and I finally felt like I wasn’t so alone with my pain as she also experienced bad period pain and thinks she has endometriosis. It was year 9 that I went on the ski trip. February half term, I very, unfortunately, got my period a week early and I was actually in so much pelvic pain for a good half of this week that were occasions, when we were not skiing that I physically couldn’t stand. I also had no appetite the whole week and lost so much weight that my ski clothes, especially underlayers were too big  come the end of the week.

I guess this  leads us to the time when I  came across endometriosis and remember thinking I had it however at the same time having the feeling that I was over exaggerating and complaining about nothing.  I was actually watching Higher Ground and in that one of the characters has endometriosis. I was curious so I googled it and suddenly everything I had been experiencing made sense. I’m pretty sure I actually self-diagnosed with endometriosis for a while. But now I don’t say I have it I just say it’s a possibility because although I believe in self-diagnosis for SOME mental conditions. It just cannot be done with physical conditions.

Anyway. Year 10 came and by that point, I had, for the most part, given up on painkillers because they did nothing and just decided I would have to deal with the pain in whatever way I could. I did, fortunately, get some relief towards the end of year 10. For all of you who follow my blog you know I’m recovering from Anorexia and the end of year 10 is when I stopped getting periods due to this. Oh how my friends envied  me for those 6 months that I had no periods for.

So I got my period back in recovery from  anorexia and suddenly they were a lot lighter and since have remained that way. Apart from back when I was drinking a lot of soy milk strangely enough. I was still, however, getting 8-9 day periods. The other difference was for the first few periods they were nowhere near as painful. A More normal sort of painful if you get me.

But the relief could not last forever, and the pain came back with a vengeance. The only difference being not feeling so ill for so long every month. It settled down to 2 weeks a month. Just normal PMS really, or as I thought then. And that’s the way it was really until I relapsed into Anorexia, had periods if you could call them that, they were so light and short with no pain and then I recovered again, on a healthier diet than the one I was on before and I certainly had a lot less pain, I would say a bit more than normal pain on occasions but nothing like I’d experienced prior. Well, that was until the last month of fun I’ve had. And this month I made a link again between pain and my cycle.

Anyway, that’s that story done for now. I guess one day I may get the courage to see a doctor and gain answers. But on the other hand, I may not.

 

Advertisements

Feeling like a failure

We all know a lot of people with eating disorders are also perfectionists and I am not one of the exceptions. The problem is I see most people in the recovery community meeting the overly high expectations they set for themselves. Which, don’t get me wrong is great for them, but it doesn’t help much when your sat hating yourself because you didn’t get those grades. You didn’t get the straight A*’s you were predicted, you didn’t even get the A*AA you needed for your dream university. You actually didn’t get the grades required for your insurance. And they let you in anyway, but that’s not the problem. The problem is you didn’t do well enough. You didn’t do well enough to meet those expectations you’d set for yourself. So you hate yourself and you feel ashamed of yourself although deep down you know you couldn’t have tried any harder and whatever happened happened.

You find yourself comparing your failed results with others, others who did get those 3A*’s you we’re supposed to get, maybe even 4 with that A or A* in EPQ to top it off and it fills you with hatred. Even more so when the other brags on facebook about her daughter who for these straight A’s and had a part time job and trained for sport multiple times a week. You did none of that. You had no responsibilities but you still didn’t get good enough grades.  It fills you with hatred because your jealous and you hate yourself. It fills you with hatred because you have to be the best. You were the best. And now you’re just mediocre. This is why comparing yourself to others is so harmful yet I find it so irresistible at the same time. It’s a hard habit to break really but one I know I need to break if I’m ever going to have any friends and ever come to accept myself. 3B’s and all. Just typing that. 3B’s. It makes me feel ashamed of myself. To me, 3B’s isn’t good. But if anyone else had got that I would congratulate them. If my best friend had got 3B’s I would be pleased for them. So why isn’t it good enough for me?

This is the perfectionism trait that gets to most of us wth eating disorders and it can make or break us. The positive of the perfectionism trait is that it can lead us to achieve amazing things. On the other hand, it can lead to you not doing that essay or exam because you know you won’t achieve well enough. You know you’ll never be good enough. It can also lead to burn out. And lead to your whole world tumbling around you when you tried so so hard but still didn’t achieve those perfect grades.

You try to tell yourself it doesn’t matter but it still does. You try to tell yourself it doesn’t define your worth but it does. Nothing can change how much of a failure you feel like you are. Even when other people seem proud of you. And this is why  I feel like the education system can be so dangerous and harmful to people, especially perfectionists.

In both high school and college I’ve been told everyone can et straight A*’s if they work hard enough. And I’ve been told it by plenty of teachers. IIt really is quite a dangerous thing to say I believe because it ensues the belief in perfectionists even more so that if they don’t get the top grades there somehow failures and it somehow means they didn’t try hard enough. When really that is not true, especially in perfectionists who do try hard enough. it’s because some people aren’t clever enough to get straight A*’s. Some people may have undiagnosed learning difficulties, gone unnoticed because they were getting good grades all their lives. (I honestly think  I have some mild form of dyslexia and it’s only become more apparent since starting my A-levels, and especially during A2 year.The only reason  I haven’t got myself tested is because I’ve heard it costs £400.) They may have just had a bad day, week or year for any number of reasons. Or they may have been to a college with a very bad quality of teaching and no one got straight A*’s. (Again me)

The point is there are countless numbers of reasons as to why these self-set expectations may not have been met but the perfectionist will still beat him/herself up about it because the fact hasn’t changed. In the mind of the perfectionist they have still failed and failure is such a scary thing.

I’m not going to type here about how it’s all okay if you haven’t met your grades or everything happens for a reason because I know it changes nothing. But what I am going to say is that we all need to learn to accept ourselves, go easier on ourselves. We can’t always be perfect or the best. Self-acceptance isn’t easy but it’s what needs to happen so we can be okay when things don’t go to plan.