The pain-as-weakness thought line creeps me out.
I’ve spent a lot of years hearing supposed reasons for my pelvic pain, reasons that would put the cause of the pain back on me.
Because I eat meat.
Because I eat dairy.
Because I drink soda, coffee, alcohol.
Wheat gluten, soy, and carbs– they all have to go.
No wonder I hurt; my iron levels are low! When was the last time I had a burger?
Because I don’t exercise enough.
Because I exercise too much.
Maybe it’s just the wrong kind of exercise.
Because I’m too thin.
Because I’m too fat. It’s all that soda and alcohol destroying my reproductive bits. Why don’t I check back with the doc when I lose 30 pounds?
Because I have sex.
Not enough foreplay.
Not enough lube.
Maybe I’m too tense. Why don’t I relax a little and have a glass of wine?
Because I haven’t had a kid yet — as though it’s a biological inevitability.
Because I won’t get a hysterectomy already — as though at twenty-nine, I’m past my prime for that sort of thing.
I’m sure I could find a solution if I’d just try a few more things. Why do I have to be so difficult?
Even under the best of circumstances — a clear physical cause, access to health care, providers who respect and support the patient — I’d guess that chronic pain can be tricky to manage or treat. And we don’t always get the best of circumstances. Attitudes that conflate pain — even pain leaving — with weakness can further get in the way of that already imperfect care and can seriously fuck up my body’s ability to make peace with itself.