The only thing I remember about the period education I received in school is that we talked about giving our jumpers to girls who were having a leak, and then a teacher put a tampon in a clear vase of water.
These are both things I’ve carried into running these programs, they’re memorable and not horrific, but even though I don’t remember anything that ended up being helpful when my own period began, unfortunately this is not everyone’s experience.
In fact, most people I’ve spoken to about this remember their period education in one of three ways:
Periods were completely brushed over, hardly warranting a mention.
They left absolutely terrified, completely ashamed and unprepared.
The vital education was clouded by shame leaving the distinct impression that silence around menstruation was the expectation.
None of these are acceptable.
Neither is separating the cohort by gender, shuffling the girls into another room to whisper about the secret shames of our bodies.
I turned 21 in November, and spent the following two days in bed.
I wasn’t hungover or recovering from some wild night, but so completely exhausted by my small dinner celebration in which I cooked for four of my friends and then sat at a kitchen table for a few hours.
It was absolutely lovely and I loved every part of it, but just the cooking and baking (which was not monumental by any means) had me in pain before the dishes were clean.
What would maybe be tiring for the average able bodied person, my disability makes beyond draining.
In February this year I published a post about my goals for the coming year, and while there were a few specific goals it all really boiled down to being kinder to myself.
I talked about not beating myself up so much and giving myself time to rest, which became part of my need for a diagnosis around my chronic pain.
Validating what I was feeling enough to go through the process of finding an OBGYN and putting myself out there at risk of not being believed or having my pain trivialised was a huge and necessary step.
Okay don’t worry, social media isn’t the devil and I’m not about to go all boomer on you but hear me out…
It can be super bad for your mental wellbeing.
I don’t mean the fact that you’re on your phone all of the time (like I said, not going all boomer), but are you spending your time on social media making yourself feel bad?
I was, without even realising it I was following people who made me feel like crap about myself, and in particular my body.
We know that ‘diet culture’ is toxic, and I really hope no one is following anyone promoting appetite suppressant teas or ‘meal replacement’ shakes (spoiler alert – they’re full of laxatives, but what else promotes a toxic relationship with your body?
Because pain is exhausting, but then when that pain stops you from sleeping, cutting down the hours and quality that you need to function, it ruins any chance your body has for extra rest to recover from that pain your body has been through.
So you wake up tired.
While it’s not exactly the same, if you suffer from anxiety attacks it’s like when you have a particularly bad one and then you wake up the next morning feeling like complete trash.
I feel like a broken record at this point but, in summary, I had a laparoscopy to investigate and excise endometriosis and had a mirena inserted while I was under (for more on that you can check out my surgery and recovery post here).
Since I put up that post, I’ve had my post-op appointment and started in a physiotherapy clinical trial at my hospital.
In my follow up appointment I got to see photos of inside my pelvis from the surgery and where the tissue they removed was, and had it confirmed that it was in fact endometriosis. Read more ›