Why Self-Advocacy Is Important
What is self-advocacy?
Self-advocacy is essentially speaking up for yourself, but it’s a skill and much easier to do if you feel empowered. It can feel disempowering to receive a diagnosis of endometriosis, because you can feel as you have lost a sense of control over your life. But you can regain a sense of control, hope, and self-esteem by being a self-advocate.
5 tips to being a self-advocate:
1. Believe in your self-worth
Remember that you are worthy, your health is important and the pain, fatigue, gut issues, and all the other health issues that can come with endometriosis are not in your head. It’s real and you deserve to be heard and listened to. You deserve the best possible treatment by a health practitioner who will listen, empathize, and try to address your concerns and answer your questions.
2. You have a right to say no
Just because your doctor says the best course of treatment is the pill, excision surgery or both, doesn’t mean you have to do it. Doctors and other health practitioners don’t always know exactly what the right for you, they will use their experience and knowledge to guide you; but if it doesn’t feel right to you, or you don’t feel comfortable with their approach, you can say that’s not for me, or better yet, seek a second opinion.
3. Knowledge is power
When you get diagnosed, the more you can learn about your condition, the better. Knowledge is empowerment!
Google can be an overwhelming source of information so it's important to find reputable sources; Ideally you want to start with advocacy or not-for-profit groups who are all about endometriosis, they will have the basics covered around what the disease is and the available treatments. If you know how to read and understand scientific literature, Pub Med is a great resource with many scientific articles on endometriosis. If you’re reading blog posts, then try to read blogs written by experts who are trained and specialize in endometriosis.
4. Find your support network
Your support network isn’t just friends or family, it’s your health care team and it can be other women with endometriosis too. It can make the experience dealing with endometriosis so much better if you have caring people around you who understand what you’re going through.
5. Be assertive and persistent
Don’t give up! Endometriosis is a chronic condition, but help is out there and there are many treatment strategies; surgery and hormonal therapy are only two of them! Explore what’s available and find what works for you. Be persistent and know that the journey to finding better health is paved with ups and downs. Know that there will be days where you feel like you’re going backwards, so have self-care strategies to support yourself on these days. Self-care ideas might be using a heat pack, having an Epsom salt bath, or reaching out to someone you trust and can talk to. Above all be kind to yourself: you’re doing the best you can.
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