Guest post by Saschan Fearon-Josephs, founder of The Womb Room
Throughout March it’s #EndoMonth on Hysterical Women. As part of Endometriosis Awareness Month, we’ll be exploring women’s experiences of endometriosis, the stigma and misunderstanding that surrounds the condition, and the dismissal and disbelief that many women face when seeking a diagnosis – which takes 7.5 years on average.
First up, I’m thrilled to feature this guest post from Saschan Fearon-Josephs, founder of The Womb Room, exploring.
Adjective: non-functional, in need of repair.
Rural usage, derived from past participle and/or the past tense of verb to break. Usually used to refer to previously functioning machines which no longer work correctly.
I was actually inspired to write this post when I was writing something else.
I say this allllll the time when I’m talking to my friends and we’re trying to make low budget big dream plans, but I said it in my head the other day when I was writing about living with endo and the host of other reproductive health problems I have.
[cue tiny violin]
[enter stage right fibroids, adeno and uterine polyps]
And it really got me thinking about shit.
Man’s broke, innit… and I don’t just mean financially. There are days when I genuinely feel like my body is broke, my spirit is void of funds, the bank account of my emotions is seriously overdrawn. I’m trying desperately to walk the tightrope between paying the bills my body tries to collect from me, like the bailiffs at 8am on a Saturday morning, and being able to enjoy the fun things in life like sex, wine, sport (read: sex), being sociable with people whose faces I actually enjoy seeing, eating cake without having to worry about the post-indulgence inflammation, and sex. You know… just regular everyday stuff.
But I AM SPENT. I mean almost totally. Some days I’m in bed by 7:30pm like a pensioner on a week night, but I’m not up at 5am making porridge and listening to Classic FM. I’m still fighting with my dreams (which primarily consist of cats and spreadsheets) and my body to wake up and be productive – and by this point I’m probably late for work.
I shut myself off, and my body forcibly shuts me down. Got a date? Not today bitch! Got work to do? A business to build? Nope, we’re on an intermission. Got any life plans at all? Err.. who told you that you were the Queen of this here castle?
I am trying to navigate the world and my life on my own terms, but I perpetually feel like I’m fighting with the only vessel I have to travel in. Not being a malevolent spirit, I can’t just take a host body because I’m not getting along with the one I’m currently inhabiting. It’s exhausting living with chronic illness. Anyone who is existing within a body they cannot fully control, understand, love, or manage will tell you the same thing. It is exhausting and some days I AM SPENT.
It reduces your quality time with friends, family and partners because you’re generally limited by the reserves of energy you have stacked up in your body’s physical bank account. When you’re not too bothered by that, here comes focus and capacity to collect the rent on thinking, mental stimulation and, you know, just general enjoyment. Often the people around you don’t fully understand that you’re constantly in debt to the unknown forces of your ill health. That unlimited prosecco brunch will be collected on later, probably when you most need to be active or focused.
Like I said man’s broke, innit.
So if I don’t come out when invited, don’t stop inviting me places. Just understand that I can’t physically (or financially) afford to right now, even though mentally I’m there cutting shapes with you. If I don’t return your messages for a few days (read weeks, months, but not quite years unless I don’t like you) it’s not because I’m being rude (unless I don’t like you) but it’s tax season and my anxiety isn’t giving me a rebate. If I seem distant or aloof, I’m trying to be present but the body bailiffs are calling and I don’t know how to lock the doors (or windows). Unlike a financial crisis, there’s no-one I can call on to bail me out. There’s no option to re-pay later. My body is basically Brexit: nobody is quite sure what’s going on, but it’s definitely a shit show.
So like I said.
Man’s broke, innit, and I’m currently trying to work out a monthly installment plan so bear – because we’re all in this together… at least that’s what my doctor tells me.