A Love Note to Say "You're Doing Just Fine"

Last updated: July 2019

In the past two weeks, our flat has flooded and we’ve had to move into temporary accommodation, and less than 24 hours later, we lost a family member. What’s happened in my life of late has not been directly related to endometriosis, but no doubt it will affect my experience of endometriosis this month (it’s likely I’ll experience more pain when I get my period, as stress usually makes it worse). But more importantly, the way that I’ve coped and what I’ve learnt from this, has made me want to share my lessons with you.

The second half of last year was also incredibly challenging, and I had to slow down and make some changes to the way I ran my business and life to accommodate. This year was supposed to be the year of a fresh start, where those challenges were put behind me and I could move forward. And so I wanted to continue in this way.

Trying to do it all...

Week 1 looked like a ‘Coping Perfectly 101’ tutorial. The day after our flood, despite just a few hours sleep and having moved in the early hours of the morning, I got up and wrote an article that was due in that day for a publication I had dreamed of writing for since I first began This EndoLife. I also carried on with my normal day-to-day work and then finished the day with a podcast interview. We were met with more hard news later in the day, and whilst I had a bit of a cry, I then got on with things. The rest of the week was a mix of working on exciting and positive projects, making sure I got out for daily walks, working from cafés to ensure I wasn’t isolating myself, exercising, writing gratitude lists, and upping my meditation (not much, but still). And to top it all of off, I kept to my social plans, despite circumstance doing everything it could to get in the way, and despite me being the queen of cancelling plans, I kept to them – and had fun. And to add to my already impressive tutorial, I was reassuring the people around me that things could be worse (which they could), whilst they repeatedly told me what a disaster it all was.

The challenges were building

Week 2 was my pre-menstrual phase, and naturally, things were a little rockier. Monday was a write off, as we ended up having to spend the entire day moving into another temporary flat and cleaning, and then the next day we were met with the news of our family member passing away. I did what I had to do to get paid that day and do a good job, and then I wrapped things up early. The next day, I did pretty much the same, and then binge watched Netflix from 5pm. The day after that, I crawled into bed with my partner for cuddles and more binge watching from about 4.30pm. I also decided to not call or speak to the people telling me how much of a disaster my life was until I was more ready, and I essentially ignored all messages from the outside world for about four days; even then, I just replied to say I’d be in touch again soon. The week ended up in bed, with my go-to comfort foods and more Netflix.

Mid-way through week 2, I felt like I was failing. I was pretty annoyed with myself that I wasn’t ‘getting on with things’ as I was before, and that I was allowing my personal life to affect my work life. And then I got real with myself and also, really, really compassionate.

The dangers of just "carrying on"

We are told by many industries, from wellness to self-help, that we should just ‘carry on’. That resilience looks like taking some painkillers and going into work anyway. That winners can’t be losers. That being strong is admirable. That there is a correct way to cope; and that looks like being positive, finding the silver lining, doing your meditation and yoga and mantras.

And I am the first person to tell you that meditation, yoga, and positive thinking have helped me – really helped me. I’m never more myself than when I’m meditating, it’s like I’m going home each time – even when it’s hard. But equally, I really, really needed those Netflix binges. I laughed, I think I even cried, and I got completely absorbed into a world that wasn’t my own.

Both coping mechanisms were perfectly fine, and healthy, and normal. Neither demonstrated how well I was coping or how disastrously I was failing.

In the end, I'm doing just fine

And you know what? I needed all the ways. I needed my friends, and I needed to be alone. I needed to write down everything I was grateful for in my life, and I needed to cry about how much things sucked. I needed to be really proud of myself for writing a great article for a major publication, and I needed to stop working at 4pm to sit in bed in my pjs.

So what I’m trying to say is – if life or endometriosis is throwing a lot of shade your way at the moment, and you’re feeling guilty for not dealing with it in the way society tells you to - don’t. You, my love, are doing just fine.

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