WE are entering the last week of endometriosis awareness and we have covered so many aspects of the disease. This week we will talk about the psychological effects that lead to depression. I used to be oblivious to the issue but depression is a great issue when a person has a chronic illness. This is because your world is basically turned upside down and the unexpected suddenly happens.
Sometimes you are depressed and you don’t even know you are. Endometriosis can cause debilitating pain which leads to women not being able to work or being fired because they miss so much work. For younger sufferers they miss a lot of school and are judged and misunderstood by the people around them. My family is very supportive but it did take us a bit of time to get here. The disease can create financial strains on the family as well and ultimately makes the sufferer feel alone, abandoned and feel like a burden.
In the endometriosis community we have some women who have committed suicide because they simply didn’t get the help they needed or the effects of the disease overtook them. Sometimes doctors do not listen and tell women that it’s “all in their head” so women have no answers to their pain. I saw at least 10 to 15 doctors before any doctor even listened to me but I never gave up.
Sometimes when scans came back normal I felt bad for wasting money and stressing my family.
These are the trials that we face in life and we should just try our best to deal with them the best we can. I also used to feel bad that I couldn’t do some of the things my age mates were doing but I realised I was better than that. Not to say I don’t ever feel low here and there, but there is a way to deal with the depression.
Some of the symptoms of depression are lack of appetite which results in weight loss, suicidal thoughts, mood swings and secluding yourself from other people. The main reasons why women with endometriosis feel depressed is because of the feeling of frustration and feeling trapped by their own body and just feeling they can’t do anything about it. The other reason is that the hormonal medication that we take alters the normal structure of hormones and then alters our mood. For a very long time I was embarrassed because I had started university late and many of my peers were ahead of me but I later realised that life is not a race. I also realised that my journey was not the same as my peers and that my purpose was also not the same as my peers as well.
In the midst of the things you feel you cannot do, think of the things you can do or that you do. I used to beat myself up for the things I could not do but then I realised that there were things I still did that made a difference in peoples’ lives like being an endometriosis advocate and founding my non-profit organisation. For women who have failed to have children, there are children in children’s home that need care and love that you can give. Not only will it give your life purpose but it will feel so fulfilling. One of the ways to beat depression is to find purpose in life and focus on that more than the disease. It can be anything; painting, singing or even cooking. Make your passion greater than the endometriosis. Remember to also rest when you need to and don’t be apologetic when you need a time out.
Surround yourself with positive people and let go of the people that are not supportive or make you feel even worse about your situation. Know the people in your circle. They may not be as many as you would like but they are special people that keep you sane. Be grateful for them. Most of all do not be ashamed to not be okay sometimes, or even get professional help.
Denial is very dangerous. The mind is a very powerful tool and if you feel you are failing to stay positive, speak to someone and don’t suffer in silence. Allow yourself to go through the pain, but let your end goal be to get better. Let your voice be heard because it matters. You matter. You can overcome this. Sometimes when you have chronic pain it can be overwhelming and you may need to see a pastor, counsellor or even join a support group to get support. It is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength because you decided to get help in order to enrich yourself. This sickness is not your fault, your best is always good enough.
This is my last weekly article but it is not the last you will hear from me. I have thoroughly enjoyed educating you all on endometriosis. It is not a women’s issue but a human issue.
Remember, you may contact me on +263778026402 or on firstname.lastname@example.org.
God bless you all.