Name: Angela Breckenitch
Identify as: Asian or Korean, but I’m Italian at heart.
Have you always felt comfortable in your skin?: I’ve never felt comfortable in my skin and probably never will. I was teased relentlessly in my youth, not only for being Asian, but for being fat, ugly, and flat-chested. I have always felt like there was a stranger looking back at me in the mirror. I don’t know what I should look like, but the person looking back at me never felt right. I have suffered from eating disorders and body dysmorphia since I was 11-years-old. I never truly know how fat or how thin I am. I have to rely on the size of my clothes or the scale. Although, even that can be dangerous and wrong.
Fun fact: I don’t know how “fun” this fact is, but a fact it is, nonetheless. Since December 24th, 2011, my bladder decided it didn’t want to work anymore. Every day since then, I have had to wear diapers. I am currently 33-years-old. Luckily, due to my smaller stature, I can get away with wearing pull-ups, so instead of feeling too geriatric, I can instead feel “like a big kid now.”
It has changed me as a person. It has stripped me of my dignity and my pride. I no longer feel like a woman, like a wife, like a human being. I fight every day to find meaning in my life. I suffer from a rare genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. It affects the way your body makes collagen, thus creating a whole host of problems. The human body is composed of 80% collagen, including your skin, eyes, muscles, joints, and ligaments. Pelvic floor dysfunction is just one of many of the “fun” chronic and painful issues many of us have to endure. There is no cure for EDS and it often goes un-diagnosed for years, as was true in my case. The most common feature of EDS is joint hyper-mobility, which makes us very susceptible to constant subluxations and dislocations. Because we are in chronic pain and also suffer from dysautonomia, we are often labeled as drug-seekers or hypochondriacs, and doctors often believe our symptoms are “all in our head,” even after our diagnosis. With more awareness, it’s my hope that some day there will be funding for more research, and if nothing else, to have better treatment available.
Favorite hobby: Due to physical limitations, all of my hobbies seem to be in the past. I used to have a passion for golf, which I hope to get back into again someday. I spend time with my family, especially my niece, Maria. She is my Punkin Pie! I am also still able to fish! I have dabbled in stand-up comedy, but my real passion is acting. I spend a lot of time online in support groups for EDS and for Korean Adoptees. Otherwise, advocating for medical “zebras” and other young women with incontinence makes me feel like all of this has a purpose. If nothing else, I just wanted you to know, that you are not alone.