Having an illness that is beyond my control should not make me feel this way. Each morning, I wake up and a sense of shame washes over me. I try to remind myself that what is going on 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.
I do not remember exactly when my life took a huge turn. As my symptoms became present, life became more complicated. This is when guilt started to make an appearance in my life.
The feeling of guilt always hits me when it comes to my husband. Anyone in a romantic relationship knows how hard it can be 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.
I always have been a hard worker. I have been working since I was old enough to start. Sometime in the past 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 always had thought I would be.
Comparing yourself to others
On days I am not feeling well, I always look at others who are suffering. Some may be in the hospital because their endometriosis flare-ups are so bad. Some may be suffering 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 about a bad day. Because of the lack of awareness and many people downplaying endometriosis, and my suffering, I begin to feel guilty of having a chronic illness at all.
Other ways endometriosis causes guilt
So many of us suffering any sort of illness find ourselves feeling guilty. 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 as if you are neglecting your family and friends or that you are 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 up your pain, but they also begin to ask 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 suffering 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.
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.