How to Have A Social Life with Endometriosis
Having a somewhat normal life when you’re suffering from chronic pain is difficult. And it’s even more difficult when the chronic pain is the result of an invisible illness. We all have to work, and most of us have managed to find coping strategies that will get us through the work day.
But what about a social life? How can you enjoy going out, meeting friends, and being social when you’re in the grip of an unexpected endometriosis flare-up?
Listen to your body
When you make plans with friends and a flare up of endometriosis pain occurs, it can be very tempting to pop some painkillers and go out anyway. After all, eventually your friends will get sick of you always cancelling at the last moment, right? Well, hopefully not, if they are real friends. And pushing through the pain and going out anyway – especially when alcohol is involved – can make the pain worse, and in the end it’s you who pays the price for this. Listen to your body, and if you are in pain, choose to take care of yourself instead.
Communicate with your friends
Going out is not the only way to be social with your friends. Explain your situation to your friends. That may involve a lesson on what endometriosis actually is, since it’s still not a well-known condition. And as it’s an invisible illness, it may be hard for others to understand the extent of endometriosis pain. But if they are good friends, they will sympathise and they won’t want you to be in pain when you are out. Stay in with your friends instead, so you can curl up on the couch with a hot water bottle and still spend time with friends.
As endometriosis flare ups can be unpredictable your plans need to be flexible. Make contingency plans with your friends so that if you can’t make a certain date, you can reschedule. My friends are used to me saying “I will try to make it” rather than promising to be there. And they are also flexible enough to change plans if I can’t make it. That’s not always possible, of course, but if the plan was just dinner and drinks, it’s easy to reschedule. It might be a bit annoying to begin with, but good friends will make allowances.
Don’t schedule too much
One of the symptoms of endometriosis is fatigue. And when you’re tired, you are more likely to experience a flare up. So make sure you don’t fill up your social calendar too much. Schedule in some time for self-care and rest, so that on the days you do have social appointments, you are well-rested and less likely to be in pain. It may take some scheduling and some communication, but having a social life when you are suffering from endometriosis is not impossible. And it doesn’t have to be painful either.
Have you taken our In America survey yet?