I didn’t get my first period till way later than all my friends and I couldn’t wait for it to come. I could finally ‘fit in’ and be like my friends and feel like a ‘woman’. The day I got my first period I felt instantly ill, I wanted to throw up and couldn’t understand why. We had a family trip out and I was feeling horrid on our way home so I asked to stop the car so I could use a public bathroom thinking I was going to throw up. What I found was blood everywhere, it was so heavy and so painful and I cried. I didnt understand why it was so heavy and thought this must be normal. I spent days and weeks missing out on school, following on to losing jobs because I couldn’t come in for days and being treated badly by bosses because I should pop a panadol and get on with it. I had my first period when I was 14, and I was finally diagnosed after a second operation when I was 25. I was originally diagnosed with multiple different things including IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), depression – apparently the pain was all in my head and I was over exaggerating, doctors accused me of being a liar to get my hands on drugs even though I would be on the bathroom floor for hours soaking through pads like no body’s business. I’m so relieved to be able to have an idea of what’s actually going on inside me and it is real. I’m still struggling and trying to manage my pain but at least I have a bit of ground with doctors who believe me and understand where I come from now.