A year on from her victory at the Olympics while suffering from endometriosis, champion swimmer Emily Seebohm has learnt a thing or two about the importance of her health.
Now an Ambassador for Endometriosis Australia, Emily wants to start more conversations and promote better education when it comes to this disease and women’s health more broadly.
“I’d love to see programs go into schools and actually educate girls on things properly because when I was going to school it’s almost like you just don’t talk about it.”
During her Olympic preparation, she ignored the painful symptoms, putting them down to her strenuous training regime. “I wish that I started talking earlier. There were a lot of red flags that I just put down to training. It was Olympic year, I was giving everything to that year. I guess I wish I just took a step back… maybe I would have noticed more of the red flags.”
With the benefit of hindsight, Emily can see her experience with fresh eyes, and she's trying to be a source of comfort for the many women suffering in silence.
“Women should feel comfortable talking about whatever we want…We shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. It shouldn’t be like that. You know the world is 50% women. Why can’t we talk about it more?”
She also explained how talking openly about her battle and listening to other people’s stories and advice has helped her cope.
“It’s nice to actually relate to people on a topic like that and be able to talk and feel comfortable in talking about a problem, which is so hard for people to do.”
For Emily, exercise and pets are always the answer. “I enjoy my exercise, I enjoy my animals and I think that’s my way of getting out of my head about the endo. I can have a nap with them or take them for a walk. They’re very loving as well so when I’m in a funny mood they’re always there to cheer me up.”