When it comes to empathy there are two schools of thought. Some say it is inherent, you either have it or you don’t. Those who go into a profession such as nursing or social workers are naturally empathic and that’s what draws them to these roles in the first place. They have the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and feel their pain. It’s not an easy thing to do. The other side believes empathy can be taught, and children can grow into caring empathetic adults…. I can see both sides of the argument. How many of us have read about a disease and thought, “God that’s awful”, and then put it straight out of our minds. Years later a family member or close friend gets that disease or illness and suddenly it becomes very real, you see their suffering on a daily basis and you do what you can to help. There’s a part of you wonders why didn’t you know more about this disease before. That doesn’t make us unsympathetic, it makes us human. The thing is, putting a real person’s face and name to that disease makes it real for everyone. Endometriosis is one of those silent diseases rarely mentioned in the headlines, it doesn’t kill hundreds every year. We think hospitals are not full of people with it. Reality is that there are lots of women hospitalised throughout the year with the symptoms of Endometriosis but they are never diagnosed. You can read all the articles you want, learn about the symptoms, and there are quite a few!, none of which are particularly pleasant to read about, but until you put a face or a person to the disease, it is hard to feel real empathy for those suffering with it.
With the cooperation of some brave women out there willing to share their stories and the EAI who support them, we are starting of series of stories that will tell you about Endometriosis, its symptoms and its far-reaching consequences for many women, but what we really want to do is to put a face and name to the disease that has been kept silent for far too long. If it means that women out there get a little more support and little more understanding then we are willing to share our stories.
Endometriosis is an equal-opportunities disease, it is not confined to any particular age-group, some girls suffer as young teenagers and other women only in their late 30’s. For some it involves debilitating pain on a daily basis and others it’s only once a month. Many women have had their children with uncomplicated pregnancies while others are on a long road of fertility treatments that brings its own heartache with it at times. 1 in 10 women suffer with Endometriosis and it takes in Ireland on average 9 years for someone to listen to them and get a diagnosis. Here are their stories:
Kathleen: Chairperson of EAI
For more information: http://www.endometriosis.ie/