What is Endometriosis? Endo Warriors explain the illness to EN4 News

 

Across the globe, the month of March has come to be known by many as Endometriosis Awareness Month.

Endometriosis is a condition which occurs when the tissue that lines the womb grows outside of where it normally should. This results in pain, ranging from mild to severe, especially during menstrual periods.

It can sometimes be so painful that it causes real disruptions to the sufferer’s day-to-day life.

Worldwide, it is estimated that 1 in 10 women are affected by Endometriosis, and the disorder is also the leading cause of infertility in women.

Despite the number of sufferers being comparable to diabetes, there is still only a fraction of the awareness of the condition and help for those afflicted.

Two people who understand just how Endometriosis can affect your life are Candice McKenzie and Claire Beattie. Candice and Clare, both Endometriosis sufferers themselves, run Endo Warriors, a group based in West Lothian.

Endo Warriors‘ mission is to educate people about the condition and break down the stigma surrounding period pain.

Candice spoke to EN4 News about the difficulties she faced in getting an Endometriosis diagnosis.

“It was a really, really challenging journey. I was diagnosed at the age of 21 after being turned away all those years at the doctors where I was told I had anxiety, I was told I had IBS or some type of chronic bladder problem etc. Eventually, through laparoscopy, I was told that I had ‘deep infiltrating Endometriosis’ and, at that point, I didn’t appreciate how severe that was.”

It can take anywhere from 6 to 10 years on average to diagnose Endometriosis. Candice spoke about how important it is to change people’s perception of Endometriosis and get an early diagnosis.

“The only way to change the perception is through education, giving people the right tools to arm themselves with the correct language so that they can get a diagnosis. If you are living with this condition and it’s undiagnosed, it’s certainly not going to get any better.”

However even with a diagnosis, there is currently no cure, no one knows what causes the condition, and the tissue almost always grows back.

Unfortunately, many women still have their pain written off by medical professionals as simply being a symptom of menstruation. So why is Endometriosis not taken as seriously as other conditions?

“It’s all to do with stigma,” Candice continued. “I think men think there’s an ‘eek’ factor to it. Up until a few years ago we were living in a man’s world. I think now with social media platforms people are becoming more courageous and are now prepared to stand up and say ‘no, this is not okay! I don’t want to live my life like this and you must listen to me!”

A topic which has been frequently debated in parliament in recent months is the treatment of Endometriosis sufferers in the workplace.

“Workplace-wise, it’s always a challenge for women with Endometriosis. Being in the workplace as a woman is a challenge in itself but to have a gynaecological condition like Endometriosis or PCOS can make your work life very difficult.

“You don’t necessarily have constant access to toilets, you might be on a telephone where you are monitored for the amount of time you are on a call or at your desk, you might not have access to sanitary products in that environment.

“So flexible working needs to be considered, endometriosis-friendly employers, access to sanitary bins, it just should be happening.”

And it’s not only your work life that Endometriosis can disrupt, but it can also cause issues in your personal life.

“You start to exclude yourself from certain things because you’re just not well enough to be there. Your friends don’t understand and think you’re being pathetic, so you start to lose friends and it is incredibly sad.”

“It can cause problems in a romantic relationship as well because Endometriosis affects women’s fertility in such a huge way. I think when you’re preprogrammed as a woman, you grow up dreaming about your wedding and having children. But when that plan doesn’t fall into place, it can have a huge strain on a relationship.”

Over the past few years, Endo Warriors have been campaigning to get Endometriosis Awareness Month recognised all over the world through their ‘Light up Yellow’ project.

The campaign focuses on getting buildings to shine yellow lights in honour of the 176 million people living around the world with this invisible, life-changing condition.

“When we see the buildings lit up, we still get incredibly moved by it even though it’s a few years on. We get totally excited, we get goosebumps, we cry, we become emotional because it stands for something and it means a lot to us. We are just two mums from West Lothian who wanted to make a difference.“

Get ready to ‘LOVE Gorgie Farm’ – Beloved family attraction set to reopen this weekend

Gorgie City Farm is set to reopen its doors tomorrow under the new name LOVE Gorgie Farm.

Improvements have already been completed to the beloved family attraction, after the farm was bought over by Scottish mental health charity LOVE Learning in January 2020.

This was following the farm announcing its liquidation in November 2019.

Speaking exclusively to EN4 News, Lorna Murphy, LOVE Learning’s Project Manager of Education services in East Lothian and Edinburgh City, explained what visitors can expect to see upon Gorgie Farm’s reopening.

“We’re making improvements to tie in with our ethos of inclusion. We are completing the disabled access to make it accessible for everyone,” Murphy said.

He plans to have a rotation of the animals on display to allow them to retire at an older age with the security of having younger creatures to bring in and grow up on the farm.

LOVE Learning has also proposed introducing animal and forest therapy as an educational package for children and those suffering from anxiety and mental health issues.

“People gain a lot of nurture and comfort from animals and by caring for something else – their mind can be taken off of personal issues,” Murphy continued.

Gorgie Farm will reopen to the public this weekend (Credit: EN4 News)

The reopening celebrations are due to take place tomorrow afternoon.

Tickets sold out rapidly and some of those in attendance include Hibs and Hearts footballers, rugby players and politicians.

Edinburgh Charity, Dads Rock, have been asked to assist LOVE Learning in reopening Gorgie Farm to the public tomorrow.

Thomas Lynch, the service manager of Dads Rock, told EN4 News of how they were frequent visitors to Gorgie Farm.

“Like most people in Edinburgh, we were devastated when we heard the farm was closing; the farm has meant so much too so many people over the years,” Lynch said.

In terms of what those attending the reopening celebrations can expect, Lynch says there is a lot to look forward to.

“We’ve got magicians, entertainers, face painting, a tombola, raffles, there’s a singer coming and we’ve got a piper. And that’s not even the half of it!”

It was also announced earlier this week that the money raised in a public fundraiser to ‘Save Gorgie Farm’ would be given to LOVE Learning upon the farm’s reopening.

Over £100,000 was raised in an attempt to prevent Gorgie Farm from closing indefinitely back in November 2019.

There was some deliberation over whether or not the money should be given to LOVE Learning, but on Thursday morning, it was announced that the charity would receive the entire sum to invest into Gorgie Farm’s upkeep and renovation.

Among those who campaigned to save Gorgie Farm, the Scottish Greens were very vocal in their desire to protect the attraction.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, fought particularly hard in defence of the farm. Johnstone spoke to EN4 News about her delight at Gorgie Farm’s reopening.

“It is fantastic to see such a widely valued, much-loved community asset re-open, and so soon after it closed,” Johnstone added.

“This is a testament to the special place the farm has in the community and the hard work of everyone involved.”

Gorgie Farm will reopen tomorrow and remain open seven days a week with entry free of charge.

Walking your way to wisdom

This morning, walkers explored Edinburgh streets in the hopes of finding answers to their meaningful questions.

The event was hosted by a social-enterprise called Street Wisdom as part of this year’s Fire Starter Festival. Street Wisdom are known for their mind-opening walking events which are held all over the world.

Participants of the Street Wisdom Walk have the opportunity to broaden their horizons and step out of their comfort zone in a three-hour exploration of Edinburgh’s streets. Despite sounding rather complex, the general idea of a Street Wisdom Walk is really quite simple.

Mark Brown, COO of Street Wisdom

Mark Brown, the COO of Smart Wisdom spoke to EN4 News about what to expect during a Street Wisdom Walk,

“First of all, each person must choose a question they would like some fresh thinking on. The question could be personal or work-related. The experience then takes place over 3 hours and is made of three steps of equal length.”

According to Mark, the three stages of a Street Wisdom Walk are as follows:

Step 1: Tune up your senses

Group members are guided through a series of short exercises that are designed to allow them to tune into themselves and the world around them.

Step 2: Look for answers

Each person will set off on their own quest in search of insights, ideas, and inspiration. By paying attention to the signs, signals, clues, and invitations received from the streets, they will hopefully be able to answer their question.

Step 3: Gather and share

The group then gather together and share their experience by reflecting on what happened, what they learned and how they might apply the insights and ideas they have gained back to their original question.

A group of Street Wisdom walkers

“It’s a combination of mindfulness and psychology – participants have space and time to slow down, switch off from distractions and switch on their creative, problem-solving skills. The results can be profound, providing deep insights and innovative solutions.”

Each walk is run by volunteers and is completely free of charge. However, due to a high level of interest, it is important to sign up quickly for a Street Wisdom Walk as spaces are limited and there is a very long waiting list.

If you would like to learn more about Street Wisdom or to discover the nearest walk happening near you, please visit here.

Credit for all photographs: Street Wisdom

Film Review: ‘The Lighthouse’ ★★★

Direction: Robert Eggers
Screenplay: Robert Eggers, Max Eggers
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson
Length: 109 minutes
Rating: 15

Powerful suspense, hauntingly surreal.

Loosely inspired by an unfinished story from the father of horror himself – Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Egger’s The Lighthouse is a truly chilling journey that descends into madness.

Shot on black and white 35-millimeter film, The Lighthouse is something of a throwback to the works of Alfred Hitchcock, George A. Romero and other pioneers of horror-cinema.

The Lighthouse finds our leading men on an isolated island somewhere off the coast of New England, during the late 19th century. Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) takes a job as a ‘wickie’ (lighthouse-keeper) where he must serve a 4-week contract under the supervision of an elderly and poorly-tempered ex-seaman (Willem Dafoe).

What follows is a series of events that leaves both men questioning reality, their sanity and their relationship with each other.

The Lighthouse is, for the most part, very impressive. The isolated setting allows for a build-up of tension that will leave you squirming in your seat. This is complemented perfectly by the gloomy, black and white visual style.

The only issue with the film was the ending, which was left far too ambiguous. Audiences often appreciate filmmakers who can leave a little up to interpretation, but The Lighthouse relied too heavily on the watcher. Resulting in the ending being rather confusing and admittedly, a little disappointing.

The Lighthouse is in cinemas now.

★★★

NHS Lothian in “crisis” following shock resignation of chairman

The resignation of the chairman of NHS Lothian shows that the organisation is in “crisis”, according to a local politician.

Brian Houston had been NHS Lothian chairman for over six years, but announced late on Thursday that he was stepping down.

Reasons for Houston’s resignation have been accredited to reported issues regarding questions from the Scottish Government and NHS Lothian Staff, in relation to the new hospital for sick children.

The news comes just two weeks after the Chief Executive of NHS Lothian announced his retirement.

The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh was due to be opened in July 2019, however construction was delayed by a litany of issues and the hospital opening date was pushed back to August 2020.

Neil Findlay, Labour MSP for Lothian, spoke to EN4 News about his concerns over the current state of NHS Lothian.

“The resignation of Brian Houston and the Government putting the NHS Lothian board into special measures both show the extent to which this organisation is in crisis,” Mr Findlay said.

“For years I have been raising very serious concerns about the way the organisation operates and how this is impacting on patient care and staff.

“We have the Sick Kids hospital chaos, the saga of St John’s children’s ward, waiting lists for some procedures of over a year, GP practices closing, understaffing and another budget deficit. The patients and staff deserve so much better than this. The SNP Government has to get a grip of our NHS.”

A public inquiry was launched over the delay after it was announced that the facility cost £52 million to construct and enable.

Rumours have also been circulating that Brian Houston’s resignation came as a result of fundamental differences between himself and the Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman.

Speaking on the news of Houston’s resignation, Scottish Conservative MSP and health spokesperson Miles Briggs said: “I think what we need to establish next is what these differences between Jeanne Freeman and Mr Houston actually are and exactly what the cabinet secretary has been trying to force upon the management of NHS Lothian.”

Following Houston’s resignation, an emergency meeting of non-executive board members has been scheduled for Monday. Houston has offered to help whoever replaces him to settle into the role.

Tyrannosaurus Rex exhibition opens in Edinburgh

The entrance to the T. Rex Exhibition

A Tyrannosaurus Rex exhibition has recently opened at the National Museum of Scotland to rave reviews.

The exhibition focuses primarily on the T. Rex, one of the most fearsome and well-loved dinosaurs, and allows visitors to explore the creature’s extended family tree.

It could be said that the exhibition’s star attraction is ‘Scotty’, the largest and heaviest T. Rex discovered to date.

Each skull comes from a different Tyrannosaur species

‘Scotty’ was first discovered in the early 1990s in Saskatchewan, Canada, and was was named in reference to the Scottish whisky that those involved would toast to their discovery.

Experts think that when he was alive, ‘Scotty’ would have been roughly 13 meters long and may have weighed over 8500 kilograms.

His teeth would have been as large as a human hand and capable of crushing bone.

Dr Stig Walsh, Senior Curator of Vertebrate Paleobiology at National Museums Scotland, told EN4 News what visitors could expect to see in the exhibition:

“Tyrannosaurs were around for nearly 100 million years.

“You’ll see they varied widely, with small and feathered Tyrannosaurs from Asia, as well as some of the large precursors to T. Rex.

“In all, there are about 25 specimens, as well as rare T. Rex fossil bones.”

A cast of the tibia of a Daspletosaurus

Dinosaurs have fascinated us for centuries.

While the Victorians shuddered at the mere idea of the prehistoric beasts, we in the 21st century can’t get enough of them.

“These animals are at once familiar yet alien. There is the sheer awesome size of the bigger beasts, whether T. Rex or the gargantuan plant-eaters. We can learn all sorts of important lessons from dinosaurs to do with evolution, adaptation and extinction.” Dr Walsh said.

The exhibition’s star attraction “Scotty”

The National Museum of Scotland expect the T. Rex exhibition to attract thousands of visitors to the museum, even more than the popular ‘Parasites’ exhibition which was opened in December 2019 and is still currently running.

Dr Walsh explained why he thinks the T. Rex exhibition will be such a success:

“There’s the fascination of dinosaurs we’ve spoken about combined with the fact that the exhibition will, for most, be telling people some things they didn’t know before.”

The exhibition will run until the 4th of May 2020.

Credit for all photographs: Aimee Spence

Projekt 42 and the Hunt for Happiness

The third week of January has come to be known by many as ‘Hunt for Happiness Week’. The general idea of ‘Hunt for Happiness Week’ is to consider what we define as true happiness and the ways in which we can achieve a satisfactory level of personal pleasure in our lives.

The entrance to Projekt 42. Photo Credit: Aimee Spence

In celebration of ‘Hunt for Happiness Week 2020’, EN4 News visited Projekt 42, a non-profit gym located in Leith which focuses on strengthening the link between mental and physical health.

First opened in April 2016 by Sara Hawkins, Projekt 42 is currently the only gym in the UK to incorporate personal training, life coaching and counselling.

By looking at well-being from more than one angle, Projekt 42 are able to provide their clients with the tools necessary to make positive changes in their lives.

A self-proclaimed “gym for everyone”, Projekt 42 is all about inclusion. The gym offers classes, counselling and training at an affordable price in an attempt to encourage people with a low income to improve their physical and mental well-being.

In a further attempt to prevent anyone from missing out, the gym offers free counselling sessions to anyone receiving benefits that is not currently in employment or education.

Projekt 42 also takes into consideration that it may not always be possible for parents to find childcare while they attend a session. As a result, the gym includes a large soft-play area where parents can leave their children with a qualified child-minder.

Parents can leave their children in the soft-play area. Photo Credit: Aimee Spence

EN4 News spoke to Projekt 42’s general manager Marty Wilson and manager of studio and activities Matt Whale to gain a little more insight into why the gym was opened and how it works. You can watch the interview below:

 

If you would like to make a donation or find out more about Projekt 42, you can find their website here.

 

Want to enjoy haggis on Burns Night, but you’re vegan? Now you can!

Burns Night is upon us and you know what that means. Plenty of singing, plenty of dancing and (undoubtedly) plenty of hairy, kilted men.

Another staple of Burns Night is the traditional meal of haggis, neeps and tatties. However, we understand that this may not appeal to everyone.

Have no fear, you don’t have to miss out this Burns Night, why not try our recipe for delicious, vegan haggis!

A Burns Night celebration. Photo Credit: RAF Mildenhall

You will need:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 250g mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp Marmite
  • 25g sunflower seeds
  • 50g pearl barley, rinsed
  • 390g tin green lentils
  • 50g porridge oats
  • 100g vegetable suet

You will also need:

  • string
  • muslin

Method:

1. Pour oil into a large frying pan and fry the onions for 15 minutes over a low heat.

2.  Add the garlic, grated carrot, chopped mushrooms and sunflower seeds and add salt, pepper and the other spices.

3.  Cook for 5 minutes and then add the Marmite, pearl barley and 200ml water.

4. Bring to the boil, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

5. Take the pan off the heat and tip the mixture onto a large roasting tin. Once cold, stir in the lentils, oats and vegetable suet.

6. To cook the “haggis” spread it out on a large piece of baking parchment. Shape it into a log, roll the paper up and twist the ends so it is completely sealed. Wrap up in muslin and tie the ends securely with string.

7. Heat a large pan of boiling water then slowly lower the haggis into it. Reduce the heat and cook for 1 hour. Unwrap and serve with neeps and tatties.

Alternative serving suggestion – Vegan Haggis with butter beans. Photo Credit: Flickr

Blue Monday: Survival Guide

How to get through the lowest day of the year 

This coming Monday (January 20th) marks the annual date observed by some as Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year.
The term was first coined back in 2005 by a holiday company called Sky Travel. In a now famous press release, the company claimed that they had calculated the most depressing date of the year using an equation.

Sky Travel took many factors into consideration while determining the date of Blue Monday. Firstly, they looked at weather conditions around this time of year where rain, wind and snow were in abundance.

They then considered the level of debt which had likely accumulated by people over the festive period. It was also found that around the third Monday of January was when most New Year’s resolutions failed. Additionally they also looked into low levels of motivation, time spent sleeping, hours of sunlight and stress levels.

Generally reported as falling on the third Monday of January each year, Blue Monday has become a date dreaded by many.
All is not lost however, you don’t have to spend Blue Monday barricaded in your room eating tub after tub of peanut butter Häagen-Dazs.

We have here 6 ways you can beat Blue Monday and dreary winter months ahead!

Survival Tip #1 – Brave the Weather

Credit: Pixbay

I know it looks horrible out there. But spending even 20 minutes outside each day can provide you with some amazing health benefits.

Studies have shown that getting yourself outside (especially during the winter) can boost your immune system, improve your focus, lessen anxiety, help you sleep better and even increase your self-esteem.

So this Blue Monday, rain or shine, why not arrange to go a nice walk in the local park or if you’re feeling brave, go a good long hike with a friend.

Survival Tip #2 – Socialise

Credit: Flickr

Humans are sociable creatures who crave regular interaction with other humans. Even the most introverted individual could not survive without a little communication with other people.

And social interaction is good for us. According to psychology, being social is an integral part of human nature. Our own nervous systems actually expect us to have others around us and when we go without, it puts a large amount of stress on our bodies.

Nobody likes to feel lonely, but it can be difficult around this time of year with increased workloads, lack of funds and adverse weather conditions to ensure that we are getting enough social interaction.

Don’t spend Blue Monday alone if you can help it, call up a friend that you haven’t seen in a

while and pick up where you left off.

Survival Tip #3 – Get Active

Credit: Flickr

If you are not fond of exercise, it may seem a little counter intuitive to spend Blue Monday doing something you hate. However, it may be just what you need to boost morale and improve your own self-image.

Through exercise, your energy levels are increased making you more alert and boosting your immunity. There has also been a link found between regular exercise and improved mental health. Want to increase your confidence and reduce your stress levels? Getting active may be the way to go.

Joining a gym is a great way to keep fit but it can be a little costly.

If you would like to get active this Blue Monday without spending too much, why not join a local running group?

Survival Tip #4 – Try a New Diet

Credit: Pexels

After all those Christmas dinners, selection boxes and bottles of Baileys, now is the perfect time to try and new diet and improve your health!

You don’t need to try anything too intense. Introducing more fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet can be very beneficial. While reducing the amount of red meat you consume lowers your risk of heart disease and is good for the environment.

Due to lack of sunlight, this time of year it can be very difficult to get the crucial vitamins and minerals that we need. By eating foods rich in vitamins C and D, you can help boost your immune system.

This Blue Monday why not follow our easy recipe and make your own Vitamin Booster!

 

Survival Tip #5 – Clean Your Space

Credit: Flickr

Studies have shown that a cluttered space can equal a cluttered mind. We all have our own space and no matter how small, it can seem daunting to think about tidying it.

It is especially common to lose track of tidiness after the rush of Christmas and New Year, however cleaning your space may reduce your stress levels and make you feel more contented to work at home.

Our advice would be to start small and take your time. You don’t need to rush and you can take breaks in between. If cleaning your space means tidying several rooms then don’t stress yourself by taking it all on at once, start in one corner of a room and progress from there.

If your mind is feeling a little muddled this Blue Monday, try tidying your space and see if your headspace feels tidier too.

Survival Tip #6 – Have a Cheap Day Out

Credit: Flickr

The festive period can be very hard on our bank accounts. One big source of unhappiness around this time of year is lack of money. It is very depressing having to turn down fun activities because of money problems, however, there are lots of ways in which you can enjoy yourself without a lot of money.

Some wonderful ideas for a cheap day out include, a trip to a museum or art gallery, a walk around your local botanical garden or a day out at the park.

Get yourself out of the house on Blue Monday and go enjoy some low-cost fun!

Whatever you decide to do this Blue Monday, please remember that it’s okay not to feel okay all of the time and there are always people you can speak to if you need a little support. Call Samaritans at any time on 116 123.

Major Threat of Job Loss for Argyll Wind Turbine Factory

A prominent wind turbine factory in Campbeltown, Argyll has recently announced the possibility of redundancies within the company.

CS Wind, a Korean Firm that employs almost 100 people from the Mull of Kintyre area have revealed that over 70 jobs could be at risk.

Managers have discussed how “gaps in the order book” may lead to job losses and have blamed renewable energy support reductions.
According to CS Wind, conditions in the onshore market have been “extremely challenging” and support for offshore wind production from the Scottish Government has been drastically reduced.

Additionally, the threat of redundancy was also attributed to the company’s failure in securing major work with other offshore projects such as Triton Knoll and Kincardine.

Employees should be made aware of their future with the company by the end of November. In the meantime, there will be a meeting of management and union representatives which will span approximately 30 days.

If an agreement is not reached, it could result in the loss of 73 jobs.

Worker’s Union, Unite has described the redundancies as “major blow to Scotland’s renewables manufacturing capacity.”

Unite has called on help from the Scottish Government with their regional industrial officer, Charlie Macdonald saying: “There needs to be urgent intervention by the Scottish government because if the scale of these job losses goes unchallenged not only is there is a major cloud over the future of the factory in Campbeltown but also over Scotland’s green manufacturing capacity.”

One CS Wind employee described the recent news as “deeply concerning but unsurprising”.

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