This has been quite a difficult post for me to write,because it is a topic that I am so passionate about and have so much to say. But,I didn’t want to make it a long waffling post, as my endocation blogs weremeant to be short, concise, informative pieces. As there is so much informationto share on this topic, I will be writing more blogs in the future on chronicillness and mental health.
There are many studies and reports showing that is you arediagnosed with a chronic illness (particularly one associated with pain), youare more likely to experience anxiety or depression. That really doesn’tsurprise me at all. The feeling of never getting better, being in pain a lot ofthe time and feeling that your life is being negatively impacted by yourillness are enough to make anyone feel down.
When this logic is applied to endometriosis specifically itis easy to see why a permanent impact on your physical health can have adetrimental affect on your mental health.
Being told for years that your pain is normal, or isn’treal, or that they can’t find anything wrong with you is enough to make eventhe most self-assured person question themselves. Then, you are told that youwere right, there was something wrongand it wasn’t all in your head. Personally this was something I reallystruggled to get my head around. Since receiving confirmation of my diagnosis 7months ago, I have been very sceptical of any information given to me. Iconstantly worry about having something seriously wrong with me, and I worrythat doctors will miss it, because if they could miss my endo for years thenwhat’s to say that they wont miss anything else?
Even when taking the elongated diagnosis period out of theequation, there are so many other factors associated with endo that could causesomeone to be diagnosed with depression.
The fertility odds with endo aren’t great, but also notsomething that can be accurately predicted. Many women I have spoken to, andmany of the accounts I follow talk about this being one of their biggestconcerns. This is something that can be very difficult to get your head around,because you don’t really even get a “yes it’s possible” or “there’s no chance”,it’s all very unknown.
Spending more time in pain than out of it is also a bigcontributor towards having depression. When the pain is really bad for a longtime, it does feel like you might never get better. When my pain is really bad,I need help doing the most basic things – even just getting up off the sofa ortaking a shower. I find this very frustrating,because at 24 years old I should be able to look after myself. Feeling like youmay never fully recover from the pain, and that you are a burden to anotherperson can definitely make you feel very low.
The incurable element of endometriosis is the final factorthat I will discuss today. Knowing that there is nothing that can be done, andthat you will have to live with this condition for a long time is something alot of people struggle with. The lack of awareness means that you will answerthe same questions a lot (something that I don’t mind at all – so always askaway!), one of the most common being “if you’ve had surgery, why aren’t youcured?”. Every time I hear this question, I feel like it makes sense, becauseremoving the endo tissue should logically cure you, but it doesn’t. It’s aregular reminder that currently there is nothing that can be done to permanentlyremove it.
Sadly, I have had people message me about feeling so low becauseof their endo that they have wanted to hurt themselves. This is an absolutelydevastating though, and if you are ever feeling this way, please reach out tosomeone – whether that is a friend, relative, colleague or support page onsocial media. However, these people will likely not be professionally trainedto deal with mental health concerns. So, reach out to them for a supportivechat, but make sure that you also talk to someone who is medically trained.Your GP is your first port of call, but if it is an urgent situation and youcan’t wait for a GP appointment, please call 999 (or your local emergencyservices equivalent) or go straight to your nearest A&E department. You canalso self refer to an IAPT service in a non-urgent situation. Listed below aresome contact details for anyone who feels like they need support or help.
Samaritans (available 24/7) on 116 123