Endometriosis and Depression: Continuous Pain Can Cause a Dark Spiral
This month marks nine months of continuous pain.
Nine months of eating ibuprofen like tic tacs. Nine months of sleeping with a heating pad wrapped around me despite the sweltering heat. Nine months of seeking any form of relief.
If you have been following along this journey with me over the last few months, you know that I had an excision laparoscopy performed in January (three months into the pain surge). During the surgery, numerous issues were discovered and presumably corrected. Heck, I went through a period of depression because I was afraid I would not know who I was without pain. Nonetheless, fast forward and the pain that radiated in my thighs has been helped but I do not feel anywhere close to pain relief.
Now, the pain is not isolated to my lower abdomen/pelvic region, it is also in my right side, mid-back just below my ribs, and at the top of both thighs.
My one hope currently is pelvic floor therapy. I have now completed about a month of sessions – once a week – and it is meant to loosen the muscles and potentially re-train the nerve-pain receptors. At least, this is my understanding of the process. After only four sessions, I do not want to make any judgments. The sessions are painful because of the pressure applied and manipulation of the muscles in my abdomen and pelvic region. Fortunately, my therapist is a great conversationalist, so there is no awkwardness throughout the session. I almost wish we could go out for a cuppa after since she seems like someone I could actually be friends with, and my husband and I need a good couple friend in the area.
The last few months have been hard. My depression has taken me to a very low place because of the continuous pain; it is hard to see a brighter future, when there is no cure for your disease and the one surgery meant to bring relief did not work. Will I feel this much pain for the rest of my life? Every. single. day?
If not for my loving husband, the support of friends at work and my relationship with God, I do not know if I would be able to get through each day. Being away from my family and feeling so helpless is tough. Sometimes, I just crave home. It may not make the pain go away, but at least I could wrap myself in a bubble and focus on finding relief instead of having to work, pay bills, deal with life.
A few weeks ago, our community was rocked with the loss of yet another Endo warrior. She gave up her fight against the pain. She ran from the endless taunts from nonbelievers who said she was faking or exaggerating the pain. She escaped the doctors and nurses who turned her away labeling her a pill seeker. All she wanted – all she needed – was relief.
There is a dark spiral that continuous pain loves to take you through, and it is not easy to come out the other end every time. Some days it is impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel, to see hope for a better day, to find comfort in our healing Father. I’ve been where she was, I’ve considered the same out to stop the suffering. No one truly understands this illness. I am told that I am lying about what I go through each day. I am pushed aside as “not that bad” because it is not fatal (trust me, I am super thrilled that endometriosis does not kill you!). Nonetheless, people fail to understand the reality of the mental strain and exhaustion caused by continuous pain day after day. The ever-present fear that your fertility will be affected. The impact on your social and professional lives. It impacts every second, every aspect, every inch of your life. At moments, I feel that I am my disease not that I have it – it has overtaken me.
There are days of hope, though. Moments of relief when I feel like I can conquer the world. It is possible to push through the pain at times. One does not have to always give into the suck. You can choose to be in a positive mood – relax when you need – but remain positive.
I’m trying to look at my life as a whole more and not focusing on the small aspects. Endometriosis feels overwhelming, it is one thing that defines me, I have to live my life in a way to ensure it is not the only thing. I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a lawyer, we are now homeowners (!!!) and I have been blessed beyond words as a child of God.
In these moments when life seems hopeless, my pain seems overwhelming, and I struggle to remember why I continue on with this way of living, I force myself to see that at some point it will end – even if only while I sleep.