A while back, Endometriosis UK ran a campaign across their social media sites of #whatiwishedilearned. It aimed to raise awareness of Endometriosis through people with the disease sharing their stories and things they wish they knew with regards menstrual health and well-being, and the things that they wish they had known to get a diagnosis of Endometriosis sooner (did you know in the UK it takes on average up to 7 years to be diagnosed? Yikes!).
If you didn’t already know, Endometriosis UK is the UK’s leading charity for the disease Endometriosis. Their website is available at the bottom of this article, as well as the links to their Facebook and Instragram accounts. Endometriosis is a gynaecology condition where tissue that is normally found in the lining of the endometrium is found elsewhere. I did a feature article on it, which you can access here – What Is Endometriosis?
This was the post I put in their #whatiwishilearned campaign;
I didn’t want to post a selfie as I wasn’t too sure what was happening with this campaign, and as I posted it on my personal account (which you can follow me on – @laurenemtugwell) I preferred to join in via a relevant quote.
If you search the #whatiwishilearned hashtag into Instagram, you will find all sorts of beautiful and inspiring posts of people just like me who were constantly told their symptoms were normal – heavy periods, incredibly painful periods, pain at other times of your cycle – all repeated to me as being normal. But how wrong where those people, and this is what part their campaign is targeting – overriding these symptoms which are considered as “normal” and prompting healthcare professionals to take them seriously and look into them.
A few weeks after posting this I was contacted by Endometriosis UK and asked if I would give my permission to be featured on their social media accounts to raise awareness -sort of like a feature post about me and what I’d said. I agreed, and was asked to send a picture of myself along too so they could use it to identify me. I’ll admit, this is where I almost got cold feet because I initially didn’t feel too comfortable having my face plastered on their Instagram and Facebook page – anyone could go on their and read it, right? And I’m generally selective in who I let know about my health. I’ll point out that this was before the days of my dedicated Endo Bunny Instagram account. Sure, I’d posted bits here and there on my personal one, but because I have colleagues, friends and family on there, I never felt I could be really open.
Anyway, my husband thought it was a great idea and we searched through to find a good picture of me to submit (honestly, most of the selfies we share with each other are those unflattering Snapchat filter ones – no one needs to see those!). And that was that.
I then spotted my face on the Endometriosis UK Facebook page and decided to share it along with a little post with a bit more information. Here is what went on the Endometriosis UK Facebook page;
And here is what I shared on my own page, for all my friends to see;
I was brave enough to even put the link to my website in it, something that I spent a while deliberating about. But it paid off, as I got an increased number of views that night and even got a bunch of new followers.
I’m even tempted to submit my whole story to Endometriosis UK, which is something they spoke to me about when the approached me about their current campaign, but I somehow don’t feel I’m ready for that just yet.
Going public with my story was not an easy decision – do you realise how many people will either judge you or not be interested because it is disease that centres around periods? Do you know how many people can quite easily comment that “you’re just lazy” or “the pain can’t be that bad”? Loads. But trust me, it is worth all the love and support you’ll suddenly coming across.
Endometriosis UK Links