I feel utterly drained. Of energy, of blood, of enthusiasm. I am so grateful for the lack of extreme endometriosis pain since my operation, it’s just the bleeding, oh the bleeding, and the emotional rollercoaster.
I am incredulous that half the population (sorry, over half – 32.2 million compared to 31 million men at the last count in the UK don’t you know) have/had/will have periods yet we have to get on with our lives as though: no, I’m not haemorrhaging; sure, I can get up at 6.30 and not look like Nosferatu; yes sirree, I can work full-time at full capacity without bawling in a corner; nah, I don’t need more rest time to give my hormones time to rebalance because I feel like I’m sleepwalking through treacle and HELL YES I need to pay tax on my ‘luxury’ sanitary products. My partner believes that if men had periods they would have an allocated week off every month. I concur.
Taking a day off work feels like such a failure. I want to work for a living. I want to be at work. I want to be able to fulfil my duties and then some. I want to be the best at what I do. I want to be the happy soul of the bunch. I want to impress myself and others. Instead I feel like I am scraping by, trying to twist myself into a full-time working juggernaut shape and I know this needs to stop because my body is clearly saying no. I can feel the judgement from others and it makes me feel even worse. Sometimes getting through a full week feels like climbing Everest, so please forgive me if I don’t turn up or pull out at the last minute. It’s really not because I want to.
I eat so much nutritional goodness I’ve got cold-pressed sesame oil and unsalted nuts somersaulting out of my ears. I drink filtered water like Brita’s my church. I exercise as much as my body can take. I have counselling to soothe my mind and my heart. And I try to take responsibility for the footprint my being here has stamped into this freakin wonderful earth. Still, nothing can override the effects of the hormones I happen to have been given and sometimes, most period weeks, I just feel fucking beside myself with upset, depression, anger and frustration because I want to live my life and to feel like I’m making the most of it. And taking days off work makes me stand out and it feels like I’m splitting my nails down a blackboard.
Don’t get me wrong, I know there are so many out there with malignant diseases; the funerals tell me this. I often consider myself very lucky indeed. Most days in fact. Today not so much. For the first time ever I actually called the Endometriosis UK Helpline. Thanks, Magui, for some sage and timely advice and the encouragement to not just give up.
Chronic and severe pain are internal forms of torture and if you are not careful they can mutate and ransack your healthy mind as well as taint and wreck your healthy body. I have dealt with pain for so long I might once have considered myself an expert, but all I am doing, all I can do, is try to work my way through so I’m still here at the end of each month. With a modicum of dignity (on occasion). Please be kind. And be there when the bleeding stops and my gumption returns. Coz, although it has fallen into a hole, if you wait around for a bit, it’s there, it really is.