When Having Endometriosis Causes Waves of Guilt
One of the hardest parts of living with endometriosis is the feeling of guilt that presents itself almost every day. Having an illness that is beyond my control should not make me feel this way. However, each morning I wake up, a sense of shame washes over me. As I lay there, I try to remind myself that what is going on inside of my body is not my fault. For a minute, I believe it. Before I know it, guilt begins running through my veins again.
I received my endometriosis diagnosis in March 2017, but had symptoms for years. For a while, most symptoms were tolerable and just became a part of my everyday life. To be honest, a majority of the time I hid how I was feeling, due to doctors countless phone calls saying I was completely healthy. If I was healthy, there was no need to complain about bleeding for a few weeks or having a sharp stabbing pain in my stomach.
Those few years of quiet suffering, I never once felt guilty. I did things. I made plans. I was able to be romantic with my fiancé. I had confidence in myself that I was going to land a job and do big things with my life. I did not live in fear that my symptoms would ruin a vacation or outing. I was alive.
I do not remember exactly when my life took a huge turn. However, when it did, it happened fast. As my symptoms became present, life became more complicated. It seemed everything I had worked for or dreamed of was out of reach. This is when guilt started to make an appearance in my life.
1. Love Life
The feeling of guilt always hits me when it comes time to my husband. Anyone in a romantic relationship knows how hard it can be sometimes to balance endometriosis and romance. I constantly feel guilty that I am not good enough. I know I can be a better wife. My husband has never intentionally made me feel this way. He has been supportive and patient with me through it all. However, deep down I know how hard it must be for him. Guilt swarms all around me when I lash out at him on days my hormones are out of control and guilt fills my head on days when I do not feel like being intimate. The constant feeling of letting him down or making him miss out on certain things he wants to do breaks my heart.
2. Work Life
I have always been a hard worker. I have been working ever since I was old enough to start. Somewhere within these last few years, I lost that drive. I lost sense of whom I was and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My main concern became my health and myself. Constantly not feeling well began to take its toll. It became frustrating for me to get others to understand how pain, fatigue, stress and depression ruled my life. I became angry and lost focus of what I wanted. I began to feel guilty because physically on the outside, I am very capable of working. However, mentally I am a disaster. I feel guilty that my husband works full-time, and is whom we lean on for all finances. I feel guilty my employer wants more from me, and I just cannot give it. I feel guilty that I am not the successful person I had always thought I would be.
3. Comparing Yourself to Others
On days I am not feeling well I always look at others who are struggling. Some may be in the hospital because their endometriosis flare-ups are so bad. Some may be struggling with a completely different illness that has left them bedridden for the day and some may have only a few months to live. I begin to feel guilty that my illness is not sufficient as others may be, for me to be complaining of a bad day. Because of the lack of awareness and many people down playing endometriosis and my struggling, I begin to feel guilty of even having a chronic illness at all.
4. Other Ways Endometriosis Causes Guilt
So many of us who are struggling, with any sort of illness, find ourselves feeling guilty with our lives. It is hard when you feel like you continuously are letting people down and feel others just do not understand and are constantly judging you. It is even hard when you know you are very capable of doing things but the toll your illness has taken on your life, makes it hard. Guilt can start to fill your mind when you begin to feel like you are neglecting your family and friends or feeling that you’re lazy. On days you are in pain, you may feel guilty because no one can actually see your pain, leaving you to look like you are making it up. Not only do people think you are making your pain up, they begin to ask you why you are not better yet. For me, I start to feel guilty that I am not better yet and begin to think it is my fault I am sick.
However, those living with endometriosis should not feel guilty. Remember it is not your fault you have a disease that is long term and not curable. It is not your fault that endometriosis affects your life every day, and that you cannot do as much as you are used to or would like to. Always remember you are not neglectful, lazy, or a bad person; you are ill.
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