This week’s topic is to share about the effects of endometriosis on our lives beyond the physical – our relationships. So many times people only consider the physical impacts of an illness without considering how illness affects every aspect of our lives.
Dealing with the mental effects of endometriosis has probably been the hardest thing to adjust to after my diagnosis. Don’t get me wrong, the pain can be unbearable at times and difficult to work through but I think pain can be more easily acknowledged by others whereas the mental (along with emotional, spiritual, and social) aspects of chronic illness are not validated and therefore can leave you feeling pretty isolated.
I have mentioned before that I have always been a perfectionist, almost-Type-A personality. I like feeling in control. I like for others to be proud of me (whether it be my parents, professors, or spouse). I have always sought to be the best as possible – highest grades, first chair in orchestra, etc. I like having a list that I can easily check-off. I like saying yes to projects and feeling accomplished when they are complete. So when I was diagnosed and really started being impacted by endo on a daily basis, my ideas about what my life should be like came crashing down. I never thought that I would have six surgeries in nine years. I never thought I would have more diagnoses that I could count on one hand. Fighting for disability at 32 was not a part of my life’s plans. All of these things add up to never feeling like I am enough.
I have shared about my anxiety and the struggle to regain some kind of control of my emotions.I have written about trying to get to a point where I can mentally accept my “new normal” in life and let go of my previous life without chronic illness. Heck, that is even what I based this blog around almost seven years ago. But why can’t I just accept it once and for all? Why do I have to keep fighting?
Sometimes I really wonder if I have gone crazy. Is the pain really real or is it in my head?
Sometimes I really wonder about the fatigue I’m battling. Is it real or am I just lazy?
Sometimes I really wonder about my worth when I look at my family. Am I enough?
Sometimes I wonder about how spiritually empty I feel. Do I just not have enough faith?
I cannot count the nights I have cried myself to sleep asking myself these questions even though I know my pain and my fatigue is real. I know that my lack of healing isn’t the result of having too little faith. I know this in my head and in my heart but being the perfectionist that I am, I think the Enemy has found where I am weak and cause me to question how I view myself as well as how I think others view me.
I want to get past this. I really do. I feel like I have been in the same cycle for the last six months. I was to embrace the incredible support and unconditional love I feel from my family. I want to be able to look ahead without saying “if only..” I feel like I keep saying the same words over and over. The same struggle over and over. I want to do more than put up a front that I’ve got it together. I want completely embody the hope I am so eager to share with others. I want to make the choice to believe that I am enough.