Behind The Spoonie Society

Erin Barnett

Erin Barnett

Erin Barnett, known for her appearances on "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here" and "Love Island," has a story that goes beyond the cameras. In this interview, Erin opens up about her battle with endometriosis, offering insights into her challenges and victories. Join us as we explore the journey of a woman who epitomises strength and resilience in the face of a complex condition like endometriosis.
Can you share your personal experience with Endometriosis? When were you first diagnosed, and what were the initial symptoms that let you to seek medical attention?
I wasn’t diagnosed with endometriosis until I was 19-20 years old. I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 14, almost 15. As I had a 3kg cyst on my right ovary. I was told by my surgeon it looked like I had endometriosis but it wasn’t something to worry about & I can look into that when I’m older. So I never really gave it a second thought. As time went on & I kept having surgery for my PCOS - I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. It’s hard to say what my symptoms were because I have PCOS too, they both have very similar symptoms - I also had adenmyosis which was chaos! But overall, I had really bad periods, heavy periods, clotting all the time during my period. My abdomen would swell so bad I looked pregnant. My periods were extremely painful, to the point I’d almost pass out. I felt like my insides were being set on fire. 
It’s impacted every inch of my life. I’ve had numerous surgeries & that really takes a toll on you physically & emotionally AND financially. It’s so expensive having endometriosis. It’s drained my social life like you wouldn’t believe. I stopped going out with my friends and family because I would be in so much pain, or wouldn’t bother going out because I would be worried I’d have a flare up or bleed through my dresses. Once you start isolating yourself from your friends and your social life is non existent - it starts to play with your mental health because you just become so deflated & starting seeing your life as a burden. That’s why it’s so important to have a good circle of friends! It also helps to be open and honest & talk about your endometriosis openly so everyone is aware of what is going on. 
What are some of the most challenging aspects of living with this condition?
Living with the unknown. You never know what’s next, you live in pain 24/7, and when you are pain free you can’t enjoy that time because you are just waiting til you start to feel pain again. It’s challenging to find a good GP or gynaecologist who truly understands what you are going through. Everything becomes a challenge when you have endometriosis. But that’s what makes us warriors! Because we learn to adapt to the challenges & give life our best go, while we suffer in pain.
How has Endometriosis impacted your daily life, both physically and emotionally?
It’s impacted every inch of my life. I’ve had numerous surgeries & that really takes a toll on you physically & emotionally AND financially. It’s so expensive having endometriosis. It’s drained my social life like you wouldn’t believe. I stopped going out with my friends and family because I would be in so much pain, or wouldn’t bother going out because I would be worried I’d have a flare up or bleed through my dresses. Once you start isolating yourself from your friends and your social life is non existent - it starts to play with your mental health because you just become so deflated & starting seeing your life as a burden. That’s why it’s so important to have a good circle of friends! It also helps to be open and honest & talk about your endometriosis openly so everyone is aware of what is going on. 
What treatments or interventions have you pursued to manage your endometriosis symptoms? How effective these treatments been for you, and have you encountered any side effects or complications?
I’ve tried so many different medications for endometriosis, I’ve had an IUD, I use a tens machine, heat packs, I’ve tried yoga, Pilates, I’ve tried meditation. I’ve tried seeing a pelvic floor Physio. I’ve given everything a go. And unfortunately nothing helped. It might of helped for a little while, but eventually nothing can help the pain. 
Many individuals with endometriosis experience difficulties in the workplace or educational settings due to their symptoms. Have you encountered any challenges in this area, and if so, how have you navigated them?
It’s extremely hard to have a job with endometriosis. I’m a nurse & I struggle every time I have a shift. This is also due to my PCOS though - I’ve had a hysterectomy in June 2023 & because they removed my uterus that had adenmyosis my pain has decreased significantly! But unfortunately I still have my right ovary, and it has a cyst in it - it causes me so much pain daily. I sometimes have to take so many days off just to be bed bound, pop some pain pills, heat up my heat packs & rest. On top of that, you start feeling guilty for taking time off work. So while you are resting at home your anxiety is working overtime because you feel guilty for calling in sick - even though it’s for a legitimate reason. I just keep reminding myself that I cannot help what is happening to me. I would give anything to not feel pain - I’d love to be at work making money, booking holidays, going to the gym, being normal! But unfortunately those weren’t the cards I was dealt. So I just keep trying to tell myself I’m doing the best I can - and that’s good enough.
What advice would you offer to other individuals who are navigating their own journey with endometriosis? Are there any resources, strategies, or support networks that you have found particularly helpful?
I would recommend to join endometriosis support groups on Facebook - our community is the best. We are so helpful & caring towards each other. You are not alone! Really advocate for yourself and your health. If you feel like you’re not getting answers from your doctors, let them know - speak up for yourself. At the end of the day it’s YOUR HEALTH & YOUR MONEY! We are not paying doctors to tell us “there is nothing wrong with you” always get a second opinion. Also, please reach out to me on my instagram as I am always so happy to help you through this as much as I can. 
Finally, what do you wish more people understood about Endometriosis, and how can we improve awareness and support for those affected by this condition?
I would recommend to join endometriosis support groups on Facebook - our community is the best. We are so helpful & caring towards each other. You are not alone! Really advocate for yourself and your health. If you feel like you’re not getting answers from your doctors, let them know - speak up for yourself. At the end of the day it’s YOUR HEALTH & YOUR MONEY! We are not paying doctors to tell us “there is nothing wrong with you” always get a second opinion. Also, please reach out to me on my instagram as I am always so happy to help you through this as much as I can. 
 

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