Misconceptions of Living With Endometriosis: Part 2
Endometriosis comes with all sorts of misconceptions from those who may not be suffering with this illness. It can leave us feeling alone, guilty, and like we always need to explain ourselves. In my last article, I discussed a few misconceptions I wanted to debunk. This week, let's debunk a few more!
"Opioids make us addicts"
I know the usage and abuse of using pain killers is pretty high, however, it is upsetting to put that label on someone dealing with so much pain. Just because we use opioids does not mean we are addicted to pills and medications. In fact, for so many women, the only thing that brings them even a little relief is pain meds. But because of this label and misconception, so many of these women cannot get their medications. Please be considerate, especially if you do not know the person's story.
"We caused this illness"
For as long as I could remember, I believed I caused my illness, that I brought endometriosis upon myself. It broke my heart. But the truth is, none of us caused our illnesses. We did not do this to ourselves, and the fact we fight so hard to feel better proves that. Because endometriosis is still not well known, research is being done to try to determine what exactly causes it. Some say it is genetic. Some say it was there as a fetus. There really is no right answer. But it is important for you to know, you did not cause this.
"If we just took care of ourselves, we would be fine"
This misconception angers me the most. I was a healthy child growing up. And I don't mean I never got sick, I was always sick and had a very low immune system. However, I was always playing sports, staying active, outdoors and my mom cooked majority of the nights. I only remember a few times during each month of actually getting to eat fast food. Now, as a grown adult, exercising and eating healthy are two of the most important things I continue to do.
And I hate to break it to you but, I don't feel better. While eating healthy and exercising does help control my symptoms sometimes, it doesn't get rid of them. It doesn't get rid of the fact I have endometriosis. Many of us ARE taking care of ourselves. We have no choice but to be on diets or eat certain foods, to move our bodies to help with bloat and pain. We are constantly seeking doctors to help us, getting tests done and doing our best to monitor how we feel each day. So please be mindful when trying to suggest what someone should do to feel "fine". Chances are, we already tried it.
"We use our illness as an excuse not to do things"
False. We use our illness to do things we never thought we could ever do. In fact, since my endometriosis diagnosis, I find myself doing more than I ever have. We want to hang out with friends, we want to work, we want to do all the things those without endometriosis do, it just looks different for us. So never assume we are using our illness as an excuse to not do something.
"We just don't want to work"
It seems that way, doesn't it? I know the people I worked with before I left my job probably felt that way and thought that of me. But that was far from the truth. We want to work. Do you think we enjoy trying to scrape for money to pay for our hospital bills? Our surgery bills? Our medications? I can tell you right now, we don't.
Being able to obtain a job though is hard for many. Not because they don't want to do it, but because their workplace does not make it an easy environment for them. Without proper knowledge of endometriosis, or a caring employer, working for others is tough. It isn't easy for many to call in saying they have their period, because the world is taught that periods are normal, which they are. But endometriosis periods are far from normal. The pain, the agony, the things it puts us through somedays makes it hard to function, to even move. That doesn't mean we don't want to work.
I know no matter how much we try to debunk these myths, there will still be others out there who just don't understand. And you know what, that is ok. We do not need to have the entire world on board. As long as we continue to speak out and share our stories and know that none of these misconceptions are true, we are one step ahead. So keep sharing.
Have you had to deal with any of these misconceptions?
Do you know someone that has made a difference with endometriosis advocacy?