Ask The Advocate: Supporting Someone with Endometriosis
While endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women worldwide, for those on the outside, it can be difficult to know what to say or do. If you have endometriosis, your friends or family may be wondering how they can help, or what they should say.
To further recognize Endometriosis Awareness Month, we asked our Endometriosis.net advocates, “As you manage your endometriosis, how could your family, friends, and/or acquaintances can better support you?“. Check-out their responses, and share with your loved ones today!
“I feel most supported when my family or friends don’t make me feel guilty for taking time to rest when my body needs it. It’s hard enough for me to admit when I need to slow down, but the idea that I’m being judged for it, makes it that much harder. Thankfully, I have a supportive circle and I believe that I’m helping to remind them the importance of self-care in the process.”
“I would appreciate more understanding, especially when I need to pull out of social engagements. I can’t predict when my pain will flare up, so sometimes I need to cancel at the last minute. I know that can be frustrating, but I don’t cancel lightly and I’d rather live without pain. It would be nice if my friends and family would commiserate rather than express annoyance, or worse: give well-meaning, but useless advice about how to alleviate my pain.”
“Something really simple that can be helpful is validation. Just saying, “I’m sorry you’re in pain, let me know if there’s anything I can do to help,” can go a long way.”
“I think the best way to support someone like me is to listen, even when we don’t say much at all. Understand that if we are touchy or exhausted, it may be because we are in pain, or frustrated at our endometriosis. Because this illness is always “buzzing” in the background, we are less likely to want to complain about it.”
“It would be helpful if people took the time to become informed. While the scientific community needs to focus more on endometriosis, there’s enough out there that even a cursory Google search could yield enough results to provide a basic understanding of the disease. It is frustrating having to explain, repeatedly, that yes, my endometriosis does still make me tired and give me cramps.”
“All I really want and need from family, friends, and others in my life is for them to listen. They don’t need to fully understand what I am dealing with, but I would truly love for them to ask more questions if they are confused/not understanding. The only other thing I ask is that they stick by my side. I want to know that they are there if I need to just cry or vent when I am having a bad day.”
“Sometimes, I wish people would check in more, or ask more questions than they do. It seems like people are still squeamish about periods and so-called “lady-parts”, so even when I get a sympathetic ear, I often have to solicit it. People rarely ask. I wish they would just ask, “How’s it going?”.
“Recognize that I could be in pain. When I am irritable, snappy, frustrated, etc., think first that it’s due to my pain and discomfort, and not that I am just being a b*tch. Endometriosis.net is a great place to direct my friends and family to learn more about this disease and what myself and others suffering from it truly go through every single day.”
“Get educated! Awareness is key to understanding how this condition can affect women and will enable you provide a better level of support. Also understand that due to pain or fatigue, an endo sufferer may not feel up to doing the things you can and may not always be able to attend events; be patient and understanding.”
What do you wish that your family or friends would do? Comment below!