How To Hide Endometriosis Symptoms When Out And About
A good part of my life involves waking lyrical about endometriosis. As an advocate, I am happy to answer any questions, and educate anyone on the disease that sabotages my life. Yet there are places and occasions in which I’d rather this side of my life was not known. If I am suffering through a flare-up or some uncomfortable symptom, I’d prefer to blend in unnoticed.
Sometimes it’s a question of privacy. I may not want others to know about my pain or the amount of blood I am losing. I especially don't want to tell anyone about my intermittent IBS, or the thick pads I am wearing to save my clothes and my dignity.
But also, I don’t want to be treated differently. At a professional level, I don’t want to be ignored for certain projects because of the unpredictable nature of my disease. When it comes to my social life, I honestly loathe being looked at as the one that is sick. It is a label that sticks, and I have enough with the disease I live with.
So here are some things I do when wanting to hide my endometriosis symptoms:
I have a toolkit includes a wearable TENS machine and all my meds
The small TENS machine I own comes with a clip I can attach to anything I am wearing. This means I can go about my daily activities, whilst receiving electric pulses to deal with my pain. This involves choosing my clothes wisely. My TENS is easier to wear and conceal if I am wearing an outfit made out of separate pieces: a top, and a pair of trousers or a skirt. Like this, any cables stay hidden and I can reach under my clothes and adjust the electrical pads, or remove them completely.
Carrying a stash of painkillers may sound like the most obvious of tips, but while I have an assigned place for my meds at home, it took me ages to realize I needed to do the same when out and about. Now, I carry a portable pharmacy with me everywhere. This is also a good reason to stick to one handbag, or have a particular one for days out, always packed with all the essentials.
I choose my attire to conceal my symptoms and make me feel better
Wearing baggier clothes can be a lifesaver during difficult times. It may involve a looser top, a t-shirt dress, or trousers with an elastic band. I love clothes and fashion, but I know that it is not a day for challenging shoes or tight waistlines whenever I am anticipating a flare-up.
If I am having a bad day, I may use a bit of concealer to lighten up the grey tones under my eyes. Applying a bit of blusher or illuminating powder will help perk up my skin tone if I look tired.
I may want to hide the giveaway clues, but I make no excuses about my disease
I don't choose to hide I have endometriosis to please others. It's something I do to regain a sense of control. There is also a limit to the amount of "concealing" I'll do. I won't bother disguising my endometriosis symptoms when I am having a really bad day. On those occasions, masking my symptoms or acting like I don’t live in chronic pain won't help me. I give up any disguise and just admit defeat for a while until I am better, and ready to play the game of living "my normal".
How old were you when you were diagnosed with endometriosis?