Using Therapy to Cope Through My Chronic Illnesses
Last updated: October 2022
Endometriosis certainly plays a role in affecting us physically. But one of the most significant ways endometriosis affects many of us is mental and emotional.
Sometimes, I believe those two bother me more than my pain and symptoms.
I have always been one with some anxiety and depression. Especially growing up. I never fully learned how to cope with bullying, heartbreak, and traumatic events.
Then a few years later, add on endometriosis and all its baggage, and you just have a recipe for disaster.
But like so many of us, I did cope. Or try to, anyways. I pushed through the hard and lived life as best as I could. Smiling and doing things any other 'normal' human would do without showing signs that I was in pain or unhappy.
But within these last few years, that coping has gotten tricky. I'm tired. I don't want just to cope anymore.
Sometimes, I don't even want to exist. The funny thing is, no one would ever know that just by looking at me or my social media.
It's not something I want people to know.
I don't want people to feel bad for me. I don't want people to keep reaching out to see if I'm okay.
Acknowledging that I need help
The fact of the matter is, I'm not okay. No matter how often people ask me, I won't be okay.
The pain has become something I have learned to live with. But I haven't accepted how much this illness has taken from me.
My genuine smile and laughter. My confidence and self-love when I look at myself. I can truly enjoy this beautiful life because my life is truly beautiful.
I hate the angry, sad, weak person I have become. But I know deep down I am still here.
I know deep down I will find her again. I also have come to realize I can't find her on my own.
Chronic illness comes with too much attachment to it. No matter how many amazing support groups or friends I have to talk with and to, it isn't enough.
Maybe that sounds selfish and ungrateful, but it just isn't enough. Then, something clicked last month and made me realize I needed professional help.
What I am feeling and what I have bottled up is just way too heavy for me to keep carrying around. I'm dying a little bit inside every day.
I don't mean literally. I mean, the girl I used to be that I know is in my body somewhere is slowly dying. This new, unhappy version of me is taking her place.
When that realization sunk in, I knew it was time. Time for me to figure out how to keep this unhappy version of me from continuing to grow inside.
While I can only do so much to manage endometriosis itself, I know I can find better ways to cope.
Therapy is where I can talk, learn new ways to cope, make goals and plans, and have professional help on my side. However or whenever I need it.
Most importantly, on those dark days. I know that it won't cure me of my illnesses, but I have so much hope it will help me handle them better than I am.
That it will help me truly enjoy my life and push me out of the depressed, I-hate-myself mood I seem to be in constantly.
I was very hesitant at first. It's scary stepping out of your comfort zone and telling a stranger your problems, especially those personal problems that come with chronic illness.
If I am being honest, it's scary to think about. What if I learn to cope and start loving myself and life more?
I know that sounds crazy, but when you are suffering a chronic illness for so long, you get comfortable with being unhappy, wanting to be left alone, that it becomes scary thinking about what life could look like outside of all of that.
I am ready for the next step
I am proud to take this next step. I don't know what the outcome will be. But I am ready to work hard and fight those negative feelings that endometriosis makes me feel daily.
To learn how to love me, talk kinder to myself and have someone who will fully listen to me.
So why am I sharing this? Because I want you to know, dear warrior, if you are in a dark place like me, you are not alone.
Know that it's okay to reach out for help. What we deal with daily is not easy. Taking care of our mental health is important, and you shouldn't feel embarrassed for wanting to talk to a professional.
Sending you all gentle hugs.
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