Endometriosis and Depression
To this day, endometriosis is still a medical condition that can take a long time to be diagnosed. The chronic pain that sufferers from endometriosis are dealt with can lead to mental health issues such as depression.
Living with a chronic medical condition, such as endometriosis, can lead to depression. Endometriosis can also cause chronic pain when it is not controlled, which can also lead to depression.
For some individuals, seeing multiple doctors who do not believe your symptoms can be overly frustrating and disappointing. It can also be disheartening when an individual has tried many treatments and still does not have control of their endometriosis. These issues can cause somebody to struggle to continue to see things positively.
I was about 16 years old when a gynecologist gave me a prescription for an antidepressant. Luckily for me, this doctor was treating my endometriosis and not simply prescribing an antidepressant in place of treatment for endometriosis. I point this out because I had previous doctors who did not believe somebody my age could have endometriosis and told me I was just depressed. But this doctor explained to me and my mother that chronic pain is linked to depression, especially when the pain makes you unable to do the things you used to do.
Unpredictability of pain
One of the biggest stressors faced by individuals with endometriosis is the unpredictability of a flare-up. It is hard to deal with never knowing when you will be hit with extreme pain or even extreme bleeding. These drastic changes complicate making plans. One cannot say “I will be there,” they have to say something along the lines of “I will do my best to be there.”
Other people in the lives of the endometriosis sufferers can start to judge them. Some people do not understand why the pain cannot be ignored. It is hurtful to receive criticism for being in too much pain to attend an event. Being told to “just deal with the pain” often enough can make an individual become isolated from others.
To treat endometriosis properly, it is important that your doctor believes your symptoms. From a menstrual flow that is too heavy to pain that keeps you bedridden, it all matters. If you feel as though your doctor does not consider all your symptoms or that they refuse to try new treatments, know that you can find another doctor. I strongly believe that we should not allow ourselves to be swept under a rug.
Having support can make all the difference in the world for someone dealing with endometriosis. A strong support system will help individuals see that they are not alone. This is helpful in battling feelings of depression and isolation.
While supportive family members are great, there are other options available as well. There are online support groups and communities, such as our community and even Facebook support groups. This allows you to find support from home. In some locations, in-person support groups are available too. The doctor's office may know of some local groups or an internet search may find some local groups for you.
Additionally, there is nothing wrong with seeking help from a therapist. I have personally seen a therapist on and off for many years. When I feel as though I am losing control of my life or there has been a lot of change (planned or unplanned) in my life, I make sure to seek some form of talk therapy.
Living with endometriosis can be challenging, physically and mentally. While it is important to focus on your health, it is also important to have things that brighten your mood. It does not matter if that is a furry pain pal or a nice spot to soak up some sun. Keep your head up and remember that you are not alone.
Do you know someone that has made a difference with endometriosis advocacy?