Endometriosis and Mental Health: Dealing with the Emotional Toll of a Chronic Illness

For women suffering from endometriosis, the physical pain and other symptoms that come with the disease can be challenging enough to deal with on their own. But if you are suffering from endometriosis, you’re not alone in having to deal with the emotional toll of a chronic illness as well. In fact, many people who suffer from this condition report depression and anxiety related to their condition.


Dealing with depression


Women who are suffering from endometriosis tend to be more at risk for depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and substance use disorders (SUDs)1 and the disease has a significant effect on the quality of life- this makes living with a chronic condition even more difficult. Mental health needs to be addressed early and often because women struggle in silence for too long; it's time that we come together with some common-sense solutions. If you believe you are suffering from depression, make sure to tell your doctor immediately so they can assess your situation and get you the necessary treatment. You're not alone! Talking about how we feel- whether it's to our partner or other family members, friends, or healthcare providers- can relieve us of pain. Don't wait until everything gets too heavy before sharing what is going on inside of you; it may end up being just what we need to heal.


Looking after your mental wellbeing


You're not alone. There are millions of people around the world just like you who have been able to find peace from endometriosis and many others who suffer from this condition. You'll never forget what your diagnosis feels like - but with some time, patience, and hard work; it won't feel so bad anymore.


You're going to have an uphill battle ahead of you for sure if you want to stay sane while dealing with endometriosis (especially without treatment). But as long as you know how important self-care is - plus know how to take care of your mental health at the same time - life will start getting easier again eventually.


Surround yourself with people who care


It means taking steps to avoid negativity by keeping away from toxic people who make you feel worse about yourself and surrounding yourself with those who lift you up instead.



Practice mindfulness


Mindfulness is defined as paying attention to what’s happening in your mind, body, emotions, etc.

Positions for Yoga to Manage Endo and Chronic Pelvic Pain

Most importantly, you are aware that you are paying attention. Many people don’t feel they have time for such practices (you may have already seen an increase in mindfulness apps on your smartphone), but experts are touting its benefits; studies show it can lower anxiety levels, help reduce stress and keep us focused on our task at hand.




Practice self-care strategies


It’s hard to prioritize your own mental health when you’re busy tending to your health in other ways. By taking some time for yourself each day, however, you can maintain your endo symptoms—and help prevent depression or anxiety. Consider establishing self-care rituals like yoga, deep breathing exercises, meditation, or journaling; whatever works best for you is what should go into your daily routine.


When it comes to managing chronic illness, it’s important to remember that there are many things you can do on your own. It helps to reach out for support from people who understand what you're going through, including friends, family members, other people living with endometriosis or another chronic illness, health professionals - psychologists and therapists especially - and self-help groups.


There are so many resources available! Mental illnesses brought on by chronic conditions are best dealt with early in order to lessen their severity so please consider getting help right away if you're experiencing emotional distress as a result of your condition. Remember mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of; talking about it is a brave act.


Share with us your own ways of dealing with your emotions and improving your mental health amidst the challenges of endometriosis?


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Reference:

1 Psychiatric comorbidity among women with endometriosis: nationwide cohort study in Sweden [American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology; ORIGINAL RESEARCH GYNECOLOGY| VOLUME 223, ISSUE 3, P415.E1-415.E16, SEPTEMBER 01, 2020]