Checking Up On Our Self-Worth Is A Daily Exercise
I was never a super confident girl, doubting my looks and the sound of my voice from very early on. Grown-ups told me to fear not: I would become a confident adult in my thirties. But that’s when I got my endometriosis diagnosis, and my view of the world and any self-confidence I had amassed by then all took a massive hit.
Life with endometriosis or any chronic illness is quite a different existence to the rest of the world. It is a tough imbalance I am acutely aware of daily. I require more support than others, I struggle to hold down full-time jobs, and live with symptoms that routinely ruin my enjoyment of most social gatherings. Because of the amount of discomfort I endure, often self-care takes center stage, and with endometriosis it means rest and alone time.
Spending so much time alone can make me feel like I'm missing out
My illness can be quite isolating, because when my uterus feels like it’s been forcefully dragged out from my insides, I am not great company. Looking at social media and watching the rest of the world function, while I'm in bed, makes me feel like the loneliest of losers.
Endometriosis impacts how we view the world, and how the world views us
Through other people's words and reactions, a lot of my self-confidence has become quite tarnished. I notice the head-tilts, and the fact that all I'm asked is related to my health and nothing else. Yes, health is an important topic, but when you’re chronically ill, and it's all everyone asks you about, it feels like you are being reduced to a disease.
Having a broken career has made me lower my self-worth, struggling to afford to pay rent, or any medical bills. The fact that others have questioned my commitment to holding down a job has beaten me down further. Additionally, having a challenged fertility feels too much like a failure at life. This becomes especially tough when repeatedly told how motherhood would be the best thing I'd ever do.
It takes just one quick glance at our lives, and then at everyone else's, to realize we are doing things very differently. Yet, the mistake is to see this "different" as bad, and diminish ourselves because of it.
Sometimes, being different means being outstanding
Yes, comparisons can be unhealthy. Yet, when it comes to endometriosis, they actually say more than “I am not enough”. Whatever we're doing, no matter how little, we are doing it with a chronic disease. We look at others on social media, friends and relatives with high-flying careers, acquaintances with busy social calendars... None of them live with a debilitating illness present 24/7.
If we're mothers, we are doing so with endometriosis. If we're business owners we are doing so with extremely painful periods. When we run a half-marathon, we do it while in chronic pain. Every day we get up, get dressed, and head out. We are doing so much, despite life-altering symptoms such as nausea, or while losing huge amounts of blood.
Checking up on our self-worth is a daily exercise
I battle negative thoughts every day, and sometimes I struggle to find enough reasons to carry on. And that's when I must remind myself that living with a chronic disease means triumphing daily. After suffering through the bad days, eventually we get up and dust ourselves off. We continue, and live our lives. Life is tough already, and with endometriosis, it is essential we remember that we are doing so much more than the average Joe.
Has intimacy with your partner been affected because of endometriosis symptoms?