It’s hard to live with an invisible illness - it’s harder still when so-called medical professionals rubbish the condition which causes you so much hardship.
Last weekend an American ‘celebrity’ doctor caused a lot of hurt to a lot of women who are living with endometriosis and other pelvic conditions.
He described conditions such as endometriosis (where the lining of the uterus grows outside of the womb causing internal bleeding, scarring, the formation of cysts etc) as “a garbage bag diagnosis” and implied the conditions were all in the mind of the woman who was suffering.
Women with endometriosis - which is thought to affect around one in ten of us - know this condition is not in our minds.
Of course the condition affects every woman differently - and some will find they can manage well with their lives - while others rely on strong medication, the support of family and friends and frequent visits to medical practitioners to get by.
I was diagnosed with this condition two years ago - from that point on my life has changed. This progressive condition, for which I have undergone a series of invasive tests including surgical intervention and six fun filled months ‘enjoying’ a chemically induced menopause - has changed the person I am.
While it can flare up at different times, typically I finish each day with a couple of hardcore painkillers in the hope of a night’s sleep. I am frequently seen sitting in work clutching a heatpack to my stomach and a night’s entertainment at home will more than like involved a tens machine for electrically induced pain relief.
I could list the symptoms in their gory details but there’s no need, really. The bottom line is that I am in daily pain, and permanently exhausted thanks to a chronic medical condition for which there is no cure.
The hardest thing for me is seeing the person I have become. The person who is too tired or sore to socialise with friends. The person who has to tell her children no because “today’s a bad day”. The person who is short in temper and hormonally imbalanced and prone to cry at the drop of a hat.
I also get to endure hairloss and the skin of a 14 year old.
But sure, it is all in my mind... or or so this American doctor would have us belief.
My mind wants nothing more than to enjoy my 30s in the way I should - having confidence and looking forward to my 40s. It also wants people to understand just why I can’t.