The Cost of Honesty with Endometriosis

“Hey! How are you doing?”

If ever there was a landmine lying in wait for unsuspecting victims, this is it. The natural, socially acceptable answer of course, is, “fine,” “good,” or even, “alright.” However, if you answer anywhere near what is likely closer to the truth, then you open yourself up (and your unsuspecting victim) to a rapid downward spiral of conversation into the bottomless pit of endometriosis. Is honesty worth the cost when you talk about your endometriosis?

Is that a bit dramatic?

Perhaps. But sometimes it just feels good to say the reality of life with endometriosis out loud. It’s cathartic. And as an added bonus, it can help educate others and raise awareness. But there is a real risk involved in this kind of honesty. If we put ourselves out there and tell the truth about daily life with endometriosis, then we might be judged. We might make others uncomfortable. Or we might even lose some friendships. So what is the cost of honesty with endometriosis?

We might be judged

As much as I’d like to bluster on about how good I am at ignoring the judgement of others, the truth is that I’m not. How others (especially my friends) see me, matters to me. I’ve worked hard to have friendships that I value and I know value my friendship back. And yes, “true” friends accept us as we are, but sometimes being honest puts a strain on friendships.

Sure, I’m trying to learn about how to not care, but I’m not there yet. So yes, when others make judgements about me, I do take it personally. They only see the mood swings from the hormonal therapy. So they think I’m just being dramatic. But they don’t see the hours of sleep I miss at night because of cramping and pain.

We make others uncomfortable

More often than not, when friends casually ask how we are doing, chances are, they probably don’t want my real answer because it will make them uncomfortable. Talk of fibroid pain and month-long periods doesn’t really make for pleasant conversation. Rather, even as much as we’d like to “normalize” the discussion of endometriosis, it can still involve parts of life that we were raised not to discuss in polite company.

The symptoms and side effects of endometriosis are deep and lasting. It isn’t just heavy periods- in fact, it is so much more. It is lost pregnancies and hormonal therapies. It is dietary changes and even sometimes only one part of several autoimmune diseases. Talking about these things with others can be deeply personal and because of that, it can often make others feel uncomfortable.

We might even lose some friendships

You might say that perhaps they were never a friend to begin with then. And I suppose you would be right. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less to have someone who you “thought” was a friend drop you because of how endometriosis has changed your friendship. Is it better to just paste a smile on your face and just move the conversation along?

So then, what is the true cost of honesty with endometriosis? Isn’t it worth it to raise awareness and understanding? What has honesty cost you?

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