I am kneeling on the floor. Jarvis, my sausage dog, is hiding under the table. One of my shoes is a few meters away; I am wearing the other one. My hands are clenched, my face covered in tears … all because I caught my reflection in the elevator mirror and realized I had the face of a drunk skunk and was wearing a stained T-shirt. I had been a mess in public and now I was one in private — one that was scaring my wee dog.
Looking back, I wonder whether I’ve always been like this. I used to be a small, young girl with brown hair and a penchant for drama. I am now a slightly taller, fully grown woman with silver-flecked brown hair and … a penchant for drama. OK, so maybe a part of me has ALWAYS favored tantrums. But I look back on specific moments in my life when I was truly difficult to be around and wonder: Was that me, or was that my endometriosis?
Endometriosis involves a great deal of chronic pain, which can turn anyone into a pile of snot and tears. Symptoms include chronic pelvic pain, severe back pain, discomfort when ovulating, and excruciatingly torturous periods.
I get easily irritated when under stress, and physical pain puts me in a sour, tearful mood. My bouts of fatigue make me less prone to feel adventurous at the drop of a hat. I pass on a lot of plans.
Is it this disease that’s shaping me?
Or is it being treated as a sick person way too often? Or the years of dismissals by doctors? What made me a hot, hormonal mess? My illness or others’ reactions? What came first: my malfunctioning insides or my hatred of small talk?
So much of what we experience shapes who we are. Yet, when you spend days in bed, wishing for painkillers with magic qualities — because, most of the time, no drug on earth helps — your brain is not filled with happy thoughts. When you live in fear of the next flare-up, positivity is a tricky mindset.
One time I wanted to throw my ex out of the window because he was happily singing his favorite Foo Fighters song while my insides performed a heavy metal concert. During one especially social weekend, I wanted to slap everyone who greeted me with a head tilt and told me how tired I looked.
I am often moody and teary. At night, I grit my teeth and become very annoyed if I cannot go to bed at my usual time. In the morning, if anything hurts, no amount of coffee and croissants will drag a smile out of me. That’s me in a nutshell … on the bad days.
On the good days, I’m a great dog parent, an adventurous hill-climber, a lip-sync assassin, a fun friend.
Chronic illnesses are emotionally tricky.
We do our best to manage them, hoping no one will notice the cracks. We say, “I’m fine” super easily, and seldom mean it. Disguising our pain as crankiness, we blame our tears on “stress.” We are experts at living a double life, and we need to recognize this more often.
I may never know whether I was prone to drama from an early age because of my personality or because my insides were already hurting more than those of the average child. Does it actually matter? Not really. Just catch me on a good day and I will show you how I can do cranky the fun way.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.