For this 26-page comic, Green tells a story of her journey to being diagnosed with endometriosis. Whilst personal, the publication shares universal experiences of those suffering from endometriosis, especially pre-diagnosis – not understanding their own pain, ignoring it, feeling alone and being dismissed by healthcare professionals.
“Currently, one in ten women in the UK suffer from endometriosis, yet the average diagnosis takes eight years because the condition’s symptoms are dismissed either by its sufferers or by healthcare professionals – largely due to the lack of awareness and relevant research into the condition,” says Green. “Raw is for sure an awareness piece of the condition, but for me, even more importantly, it’s a tool to soothe endometriosis suffers, make them feel less lonely, and to empathise just how hard it is to deal with this condition.”
The comic starts with the character first experiencing severe period pain and follows her journey through excruciating pain, misplaced comments during a GP visit, finding out what endometriosis is, finding the courage to push for a gynaecological referral, and finally receiving the endometriosis diagnosis – a moment of both relief and fear about what’s to come.
“Throughout my journey I found it hard to describe how endometriosis feels, failing to address the severity of the pain and its effect on mental health. Through the images though, I found it much easier to communicate – whether the pain is visible as tentacles tightly wrapped around the abdomen, or the character is stuck in the labyrinth of misdiagnosis,” adds Green.
Further volumes of Raw are to follow, with the second volume highlighting the character’s journey from the diagnosis to the laparoscopy and overcoming mental health problems through physical challenges, and volume three covering the laparoscopy, recovery, holistic medicine and trepidations around (not) having a child.