It’s about time we start breaking down taboos

I shall start with this: We are not entitled to good health; but happiness is our birthright. I believe in not being submissive to and not being a victim of my endometriosis. I absolutely still receive pain and feel the effects from the reverberations endometriosis has on my life every day; its wake of destruction is impossible to ignore, however I have no patience for the silence of this illness. It’s about time we start breaking down taboos, which will in turn demand a cure.

Diagnosed at the age of 14 after two years (and perversely I’m a lucky one for such a prompt detection), I was SO relieved that the beast who had paused my education, imprisoned me with pain and biweekly trips to A&E in ‘false labor pain-attacks’, had a name. However, the second I got home my hope of a cure and the ‘beginning-of-the-end’ for the traumatizing and isolating quality of life I endured quickly evaporated. I was rendered heartbroken within minutes as I read blog after blog of women who were childless, hopeless and emotionally and physically destroyed. The gravitas of our broken bodies soon dawned on me and it took me years of tears, frustration and a matriarchal mother to shake it off. I now try to live as an example for the 14 year-old Alice to say ‘hell to the taboos’, to educate and inform people about endometriosis, and to be happy in spite of my past, present and future.

If one in ten of us are affected (that’s 1.6 million in the UK alone) and say we have two friends who feel impassioned enough to make waves with us (not to mention anyone who pays taxes as it costs the UK economy £8.6 Billion per year), and we all tap away at the tower of forbidden taboo; it will tumble. It has to, because we cannot suffer in silence forever. Let us be our own saviors; let us defy the taboos that oppress us. Taboos are an ironic paradox; by talking about the unmentionable it becomes mentionable, and ceases to exist. Let’s do it. Let us talk about periods and let us talk about endometriosis.

Admittedly, I do not feel like this 100% of the time. There is a very fine line between recognizing why you are upset and indulging it. We all work differently and finding methods that work for you is as important as finding the correct level of medication. Be kind to yourself, and be brave. We have nothing to lose by empowering ourselves to be our own anchor and our own cheerleader.

My attitude towards this hulking, oppressive and devious burden can absolutely be described as naive and ideological; however it is what keeps me strong, smiling and sane. I have nothing to lose by choosing to be positive, rather than letting potential future problems and the agony yet to come, engulf and envelope me in darkness. We live in the present and I empower and dare myself to be bigger than this condition today. It may inform our lives and place restrictions, but it does not define us.  I am not going to let it dictate choices that are absolutely within my power.

I see my role as Young Ambassador for Endometriosis UK ultimately as a political one; not party politics but the politics of people and culture. It is a role we can all partake in and, is perhaps, the most therapeutic of them all.

Alice Smith
@1_AliceSmith