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  • Writer's pictureHaulwen Nicholas

Living with the pain

I rarely talk about what it's like living with endometriosis and adenomyosis, but today as I can feel waves of pain through my abdomen I decide to capture it.

My periods are due to start, well they are and they aren't, I haven't had a full-blown period for months, as I am in perimenopause, just some light spotting and that's it. But I still have the pain. it's not like it used to be and that's a problem. I dismiss it, as it's not as bad as before.

I've been feeling energised for days and suddenly I get a wave of fatigue, and the first stabbing pain just around my appendix area. I know it's my typical time for my "period".

I take a deep breath.

I sit and look at the work I need to do. I read something three times—a wave of pain.

Deep breathe.

Just do this one thing and this other thing, and then I can rest for a short while. I have deadlines. Lots of work, so much it can feel overwhelming. There is no time for rest and I can hear the demon chatter in my head "Don't be lazy" "Get it done" "If you'd been more organised" - those little voices deposited by others over the years that echo around my head, telling me I am not enough, however hard I work, it's not enough.

I take a deep breath, another stab in the abdomen.

I'm refusing to take painkillers, it's not that bad, not as bad as it used to be, I can manage this. I try to type, I bend forward sharply as another wave comes.

I take a deep breath, I keep typing.

Do one more thing, just this one thing then I can pause, then I can stop, as though only if I work through this next task and the next task am I worthy of resting my tired mind, body and soul.

Another wave of pain. I pause. I take a deep breath.

It's hard to focus now, I can feel the brain fog creeping in. I need to be able to focus, this work is complex, and I don't need this now.

Another wave of pain. I pause. I take a deep breath.

I put on my glasses, as the words become blurry on the screen. When I am tired, when I am in pain I need my glasses. When I'm energised I don't need them.

Ok, I won't do that task, I'll do that tomorrow. Yes, I know it's Saturday but it needs to be done. Just an hour tomorrow, and it's another thing off my list.

I feel the stab, I pause, and I take a deep breath.

I will need painkillers soon, but a few minutes more, just get through this. Those voices chatter "Don't be weak", "Man up", "Stop making a fuss"

Push through the chatter, focus, breathe. 1 more task, 1 more thing, then I can rest.

Endometriosis is classed within the top 20 most painful medical conditions. Living with it means you end up not realising when you are in pain. Sometimes I think I am just cold, but then I sit with the feeling and recognise I am in pain.

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