I had always suffered problems since starting my period on my 11th birthday (such a good birthday present!). I'd miss a week a month from school stuck in bed in agony with no one to understand or listen. It was a very lonely time. At the age of 23 in 2016, I was diagnosed with endometriosis, I had never even heard of it before. It was a relief to finally know what I had been suffering with and to prove that it wasn’t in my head.
I was at a dark time in my life living with this illness as I felt it was controlling and ruining my life. Thankfully, a new group in my area had just been set up and I joined as it’s first member. It was a lifeline to know I wasn’t the only one in the world with this despite it feeling that way.
Shortly after, I had the opportunity to become a group leader at the Forth Valley Group and I knew I had to do it as I remembered how it felt to be alone in a dark place with no way out and I didn’t want anyone else to go through that. I hated how the condition can sometimes control lives and bodies so much, yet so many still don't know about it. So, I use a lot of my energy to try to educate people as much as I can and I’m passionate about bringing about some change as I feel it’s been brushed under the rug for far too long.
I’ve noticed that having the group and being able to support other sufferers has allowed me to regain some of my power that I felt endometriosis had taken from me.
I always aim to make sure the group is as relaxed and welcoming as possible, I like the meetings to be casual with no pressure to speak if someone doesn’t want to, a safe space for people to come and be around fellow sufferers. That in itself takes the weight off peoples shoulders, which makes a massive difference and it means a lot to me to be able to help people in this way.
Thank you Michelle for sharing your volunteer story with us and for your support for those with endometriosis in your local community. If you'd like to get in touch with the Forth Valley group, or find your local group, please visit our Support Groups page.