By: Cassandra Nordal, PR & Marketing Coordinator
Heating pads, chronic pain, uncontrollable bleeding, cramps, pain medication, depression, invasive procedures, tears, embarrassment, hormone therapy, infertility, bloating, debilitation, thrush, anemia, hormone imbalances, never being able to sleep and always wanting to sleep, extreme swelling and bloating, constant weight fluctuations, extreme dietary changes, painful scar tissue, late night/early morning ER visits, body aches, migraines, tension headaches, vomiting and IBS, and loss of function with certain organs - This is Endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a chronic disease which occurs when tissue, similar to the lining of the uterus, infiltrates nearby organs and causes inflammation, swelling and scarring. With endometriosis, the tissue can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines, bladder, bowels, and more. Endometriosis resides within the pelvic cavity, it has however been found outside of the pelvis as well, more common areas are diaphragm, lungs, pancreas and gallbladder to name a few and has been found in other organs in the body.The best way to describe Endo is that it’s a painful spider web that attacks your entire body internally. The disease affects 1 in 10 women and an unmeasured amount of transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse individuals.
Debilitating chronic pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. You may also experience pain during sex, and fertility issues. Clinicians are only just now shining a light on how living with chronic pain can take a toll on your mental health. It’s been found that people with endometriosis are twice as likely to experience depression.People with chronic pain get really good at pushing through and often, most people aren’t aware of how much pain you’re truly in because you’re either too embarrassed to admit it out loud or, you can’t afford to, and by that I mean, you have to push through and make a living and work.I’ve personally gotten pretty good at ‘faking it until I make it. " Endo makes it difficult for you to get out of bed in the morning, shower, plan things, physical activities, cook, eat, -the regular daily activities. All of it can impact your mental health drastically.
Life can feel like it comes to a stop for people with Endometriosis. Your just sort of stuck. I wake up every morning and sit in the same spot on my couch and watch the people outside that are just simply living. I just sit there in the deafening silence and feel completely mentally numb in the worst pain of my life. It’s a moment I take for myself every morning to mentally prepare myself for the day. It almost feels like the entire world just stops for a minute and I can pretend that I’m okay. It then follows by taking my medications, and turning on an Endo playlist to start the day. The fact of the matter is though, you’ll never be the same person and the quicker you come to terms with that, the better. Speaking from experience, it has unfortunately changed my life.
Endo has a way of tearing down your mental health, little by little. Especially when you are stuck watching your friends and family all around you live butyou are stagnant and feel completely brokenbecause let’s face it, your body has failed you. When this disease took away the chances of myselfhaving children, it broke my heart. But I also saw it break others around me. It caused friends to not bring their kids around me as much with the fear of “making me sad” it caused them to have private conversations without me involved, and it caused someone close to me to withhold her news of being pregnant. I always tell people in my life “do not let my pain, take away from your happiness.” But the truth is, everything is painful. Watching everyone live their lives has been difficult on me. And for me, and for most people that go through this, it takes many years to confirm your diagnosisand during that time, you are made to feel like you’re“crazy”, exaggerating, or like me, told that “it’sjust stress” or that “there are more sick people out there, you’re fine.” This disease breaks you down slowly mentally and internally. With the constant ups and downs, it can really affect your well-being without even realizing.
The constant need for pain medication during the discovery phase makes you second guess yourself. I have personally lost many friends to overdose and addiction, and taking the pain medication scares me but it also makes me very aware how quickly one can become addicted to something that nowI rely on every day which, that in itself is terrifying. So, sometimes you push yourself to not take the medication only to end up in excruciating pain, doubled over, locked in fetal position in your bed unable to move your legs. You may even lose control of your bladder which makes you feel just awful. These are the serious things that can or may already have happened to you. All of these things, episodes, plays deeply into your mental well-being,so please, do yourself and your body a favour and talk to someone–no one should suffer in silence.The reality is that this disease, like most other diseases,isvery difficult to navigate throughand it’s hard todothis on your own. You need support. Below are some things that have helped me during my endometriosis journey:
Talk to someone (friends, family, psychotherapists)
Connect with a dietician. They are clinically certified in this area and can help you navigate through the difficult diet changes.
Reflexology – This holistic approach can actually beneficial in restoring balance in the central nervous system of the body which improves the functions of the organs.
Pelvic Physiotherapy-Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) is a common condition in women with endometriosis. Chronic inflammation of the endometrial tissue can cause severe pelvic and abdominal pain. Very often, muscles that form the pelvic floor have tightened in response to chronic pelvic pain.
Create a mental health playlist (songs that make you smile, get youout of bed in the morning that pushesyou to keep fighting)
Yoga for Endo – People with chronic pelvic pain found that a combo of yoga poses, breathing exercises, and pain-relieving meds soothed pain.
Advocate and get LOUD
Join support groups! (If you are interested in connecting locally, please email me directly Cassandra@kellymentalhealth.com) We need to get loud and spread awareness.
We need to talk about these issues that we are going through because if we continue to sit in the dark, we may not be able to find the light. I still got a lot of fight left in me and I hope that one day I’ll be able to take back my life. Until then, I’ll be loud for all of us Endometriosis Warriors.
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