Bad Sleep But Awake For This
Updated: Jul 7, 2020
Reflecting on "Sleep quality and endometriosis: A group comparison study" by Stacey Davie, and how this project is a space to get upfront and honest about pain.
CW: Cissexist and intersex exclusionary language (the language in this journal article erases or doesn’t adequately acknowledge the existence of trans, gender diverse and intersex people)
Stacey Davie - Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital & Gold Coast University Hospital - Obstetrics and Gynaecology
An Australian study
Published in March 2020
30 people with histological diagnosis of endometriosis and 30 control patients completed an online questionnaire that assessed sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index) and quality of life (WHO-QOL-BREF). Pain scores within the endometriosis group were evaluated using a visual analogue scale:
Results: People with endometriosis had significantly poorer sleep quality and lower quality of life scores when compared to the control group. Within the endometriosis group, there were trends between poor sleep, a reduced quality of life and higher pain scores. However, these did not reach statistical significance. Note: this could have been due to the small size of the groups and results might show significance if studied on a bigger group.
Age did not have an effect on the outcomes
Study showed people with endometriosis have poorer sleep quality and a lower quality of life
Davie, S. et al. (2020) ‘Sleep quality and endometriosis: A group comparison study’, Journal of Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Disorders, 12(2), pp. 94–100.
This morning I was woken up by a dream of me sitting in a doctors office, trying to describe my pain in my abdomen and how much it varies. I was finding it hard to find my words.
I was shortly woken up by that indescribable pain in my abdomen.
Since the middle of last year I have been struggling to find a consistent sleep pattern. This feeling is abnormal to me because as a child I could fall asleep within minutes of lying down.
I've been putting it down to lifestyle changes for example moving houses, my diet, the amount of exercise I do etc.
The other factor that I have in common with this timeline is that it relates to when I started to get pain in my abdomen. I don't have endometriosis but I found this study relatable.
Acknowledging pain is something I have only started to do with the last 3 years of my life so to admit that I'm losing sleep over pain weirdly doesn't feel justifiable. I am an ex-gymnast and ex-sports acrobat. Coaches kind of drill talking about pain out of you as soon as possible. If you had immediate pain and you had to stop training, obviously that was worth talking about. I'm talking about the aches and pains that are constantly there when you're training. Just like having sore legs from the training session you did yesterday. If it doesn't stop you from training, it's not really worth talking about.
So to have consistent pain at a 3 or 4 for two months from a cyst rupture, it doesn't really feel worth talking about. But it does hurt and it's distracting my mindset constantly. I think about my pain so often. I'm slowly changing my mindset. Acknowledging the discomfort that I get while sleeping is a big step in my eyes.
Training is such a big part of my life and it has been for so long. It is definitely encouraged for an acrobat to not talk about their pain. We become educated about how to manage pain, if we are working closely with people they know about any injuries we have but other than that, the show must go on. There is a different ‘persona’ for your training/performing self and your pain self. You acknowledge your pain self after the curtain is down.
This project is bringing those two selves together. This project is allowing me to be upfront and honest about the weird things my body is putting me through and encouraging me to make art from it! I bloody love that.