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Why A Realistic Outlook May Be Better Than “Thinking Positive”

If I had a pound for every time, I’d heard the word “positive” since I was diagnosed with endometriosis, I’d be a rich woman!

I am not a positive person and I never have been. I worry about things too much and my head will always play out a range of scenarios, none of them ever being the ‘good’ scenario. However, I’ve learnt that this isn’t necessarily negative…

When I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2005, I’d never heard of it before. I had no idea what it was, what it entailed, anything really. I was handed a fact sheet and sent on my merry way. Soon after, I started my first course of Zolodex (GnRH) injections. I remember not being too worried and thinking it would all get sorted out. No more pain. Fast forward to now and, well, I was wrong!

As many of you will know, endometriosis is not quite that simple. Some will find a treatment that works for them, however, I’ve tried countless treatments over the years and, to date, not one of them has helped. I’ve had times where I’ve believed something is working and then I’ve ended up in hospital whilst on that treatment. Back to square one again.

This is why I find it difficult to ‘stay positive’. Because positivity really doesn’t get you anywhere when it comes to chronic illness if a treatment isn’t working for you. You can sit and think all the positive thoughts, smile your way through everything, not let an illness overcome you or change your mindset, but at the end of the day, you are still the one living your days in pain. I challenge anyone to ‘stay positive’ while laying on the floor in a puddle of tears, unable to move because the pain is all consuming. You just can’t. And that’s the reality.

Back to the here and now

I’ve tried being positive. I’ve written lists of things to keep at the forefront of my mind and stuck them on mirrors where I see them every day. Talked to people. Tried to take my mind off of things by changing activities. But it never works because there is always that pain nagging away in the background.

I would much rather think realistically about the issues I am facing rather than be all happy-smiley about it and then face a downfall. I will always try to think that a treatment could work. That I might not be in as much pain when it is finished. That I may have some time where I am not in pain on a daily basis. But endometriosis doesn’t have a cure. Once you have it, it’s there for good. Even if you find a treatment that lessens your pain, endometriosis is still inside your body.

Of course, with any illness, you have to maintain some semblance of positivity. Chronic illness tries it’s best to drag you under so finding that balance between positivity and reality is really where the sweet spot lies.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Jessie Madrigal moderator
    10 months ago

    I agree on so many levels with this. I’ve actually been told that I should try thinking positively, and that if I do so, my illness can be cured, that all, or a lot of it, is in my head. And it’s heartbreaking to hear, because, like you say, how can one be positive when horizontal, in excruciating pain. Our brain is already engaged trying to get through it all, breathe, stay calm etc. It takes hard work to stay focused and I’d say it is impossible to be positive all of the time. I see it more like thinking differently, and every so often, just letting go, and accepting what’s going on at that moment. – Jessie (team member)

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