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How Endometriosis Changed My Life for the Better

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Yes, you read that right.

My chronic illness has changed my life for the better — in some ways.

When I was diagnosed with endometriosis, I was so relieved to put a legitimate disease name behind all my health problems after going several months without any answers. It was validating. It wasn’t all in my head; I had a disease that’s hard to find without a laparoscopy surgery.

Since then, I have been trying to accept I have an incurable disease and let me tell you, that is one tough pill to swallow. You feel such a mix of emotions when you find out you have a chronic illness and it will be a part of you for the rest of your life.

However, it is important you find the blessings beneath your curse.

I recently took some time to reflect on my situation and really evaluate everything — from when I first started having chronic pain and symptoms up until now. Here’s what I realized:

1. My mentality has never been stronger.

It wasn’t until I started struggling with anxiety that I searched for an outlet I could practice daily to help settle my body and mind. This led me to discover the Calm app, and I was instantly in love. It is so easy for newbies to learn meditation; it has sleep stories to help keep your mind focused elsewhere before bed (when most of our minds run wild with thoughts) and so much more. Plus, it really helped me realize how much my mentality needed to simply relax by pausing and breathing. It is such an incredible experience and now, I’m to the point where I feel it in my body and mind when I need to meditate to come down.

2. My body is still a badass.

Seriously, even though my body is constantly struggling with my endometriosis, and now pelvic floor dysfunction, my body continues to amaze me. Yes, I have bad days with pain and terrible symptoms, but I’ve also noticed how much my body has dealt with throughout this entire health journey, and guess what? It’s still functioning, it’s still pushing through every day with me and has not failed me yet, even when I was at my worst. It is so easy to become angry with your body when chronic illness gets involved because of the sense of betrayal, so I really try to be grateful toward my body, especially on the good days. Your body is human and is constantly trying to make things better for you. Ours have to work extra hard to try and do that.

3. I’m so much stronger than I realize.

On the bad days, it’s straight up hell and you may be hoping to simply make it through the day or night. I’ve been there, but it often does ease up and pass over time. And when that pain or those symptoms subside, you should really give yourself some love because you were able to endure through it. We truly don’t know what we’re capable of until we’re put to the test. Unfortunately, that happens more than we anticipate with a chronic illness, but when we review our journey, our milestones are incredible and inspiring.

4. My compassion toward others increased greatly.

I always considered myself compassionate to others before this experience, but it has really grown and blossomed into something beautiful, especially toward my fellow chronic illness warriors and endo-sisters. When you go through a journey like this, it really helps you identify with others’ situations on different levels. This has led me to develop my current friendships even further than before because now that I’m openly talking about my health and mental wellness, it’s letting others share theirs with me. It creates a deeper connection for everyone and helps you feel like you’re not alone.

5. My health should be a guilt-free priority.

We all fall into this terrible trap with working. We constantly push our bodies to work so much, to increase our income or provide more for our families, and then we forget to spend time taking care of our body and mind. I was always working, always seeing friends, running around to network, freelancing, taking online classes — and I only gave myself one day a week to reset during a hot bath and glass of wine. Now, with everything that happened, I make time daily to see to my health and well-being, even when I must work that day. And I know now that I shouldn’t feel bad about this; I need to do it or else I pay for it later. Making your health your number one priority and finding a life balance around it is a requirement, so no, you should never feel bad or guilty about doing that. And I’m finally getting to that point where I don’t feel guilty about it.

I feel like I could keep going, but these are the things that really hit home when I think about how endometriosis has affected me in a positive way. I know your situation may be different than mine, but please take some time to reflect on where you were to where you are right now, at this very moment. Tell me how your chronic illness has changed your life for the better?

Follow this journey on the author’s blog, Understanding Endo.

Photo by Cerys Lowe on Unsplash

Originally published: July 9, 2019
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