One of the most significant ways that endometriosis can affect our lives is through our relationships and how we spend time with others.
Recently, I’ve been writing about endometriosis and friendships and how my social life has adapted over the years to accommodate endometriosis.
While this isn’t always easy, and sometimes can be painful, it is possible to still see friends and enjoy social activities. Admittedly, what you do now may be different from the things you’re used to doing, and you may not always be able to follow through with your commitments. But I’ve listed some things you can do to make your friendships stronger despite endometriosis, and things you can do together while listening to the needs of your body.
Over at my website This EndoLife, I work with women who need some support when it comes to living with endometriosis via one-on-one coaching sessions. One of the biggest things that comes up is their relationships. I always ask them whether they’ve spoken to the people in their lives about endometriosis and how it’s affecting them. Quite often the answer is “not really.”
This is for a number of reasons. Many can feel uncomfortable talking about endometriosis, others may be thinking about it so much that they don’t want to talk about it, and still others may have assumed that because their friends or family know they have endometriosis, they understand what it means for them.
Endometriosis is a complicated disease surrounded by myths, sexism, and a lack of research. Your friends or family might have taken the time to look into it, but that’s not to say they understand it or have looked at the right sources. They also may have seen limited information and do not yet understand all of the complex symptoms that sometimes accompany it, and with which you may be suffering.
Take some time to talk to your friends. Let them know what life is like for you at the moment, what can be hard for you, what’s still enjoyable and the same, and what they can do to help.
In situations like these, people are often grateful for the guidance.
In London, a huge drinking culture exists. When you’re not a part of that, it can be very isolating, and people can make you feel that you live a boring lifestyle.
But the digital age has brought amazing new social opportunities for those whose idea of fun isn’t just about drinking every weekend. I love keeping an eye on my favorite companies to see what they’re up to event-wise. Instagram often advertises themed supper clubs, yoga brunches, and unusual workshops.
Additionally, there are now more websites and digital media platforms dedicated to reviewing events, new shops, and restaurants, and the latest pop-ups. In London, we have TwentySomething, TimeOut, Eventbrite, and Great Little Place.
I haven’t used these nearly enough. There was a time when I’d check these every weekend, and my friends and I would go to terrarium-making workshops and foraging walks, and they were always so much fun and filled me with energy rather than taking it from me.
They also were a great way of spending time with my friends without having to talk constantly. Sometimes one of the most tiring and nerve-wracking parts of socializing would be the chatting because I felt so negative. When you’re focused on picking berries, planting ivy or painting, you have something to draw your attention and focus, and your lives and what’s happening in them no longer take center stage.
Become a social homebody
If your endometriosis, anxiety, or depression is in a really bad place, or being out and about isn’t too much of an option because you’re bedbound or in a wheelchair, this doesn’t mean you have to be alone.
Have a think about all the things you could do from your sofa with your friends. Maybe you could host a regular movie night or even a book club. Get creative. I have a friend who does “Crafty Friday,” where she invites friends to join her in painting, pottery, or embroidery. You could have foodie occasions, from pizza nights or Sunday brunch to afternoon tea, and you can ask your friends to bring bits that are endometriosis-friendly (if you’re doing the endometriosis diet). It’ll be a challenge, but you can make it fun; there are tons of recipes online, and I reference some of my favorite food bloggers in my post on the endometriosis diet.
If you’re struggling for ideas, open it up to your friends and check Pinterest, which is great for DIY activities and crafty hobbies.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.