Grief and heartbreak are life-altering processes. They can change us in ways we never anticipated, altering our moods, sometimes long-term. They may modify the way we stand, or how we relate to others. Ultimately, they linger, which means they require management over time.
Talking through grief can provide some comfort, especially when we’re allowed to express ourselves freely, open up, and share our emotions. But it can also become a tiresome and painful exercise. Sometimes going over what we’ve lost feels akin to reliving the trauma. Other times, it can seem like there is no closure, as if we will always be stuck in a loop of pain and distress. The same happens with any chronic illness.
A chronic illness like endometriosis sticks to us, permeating through every aspect of our lives. After diagnosis, endometriosis soon becomes an uninvited presence. On some days, this illness will feel light on our shoulders. On other days, not so much. While talking about it can help, it also can become a tiresome exercise in the same way as heartbreak and grief.
As an endometriosis patient, sometimes I want to shut my mouth.
Part of my job requires that I speak on podcasts and sit through interviews, ready to answer any questions about endometriosis. As a columnist, I write about it regularly. The subject of endometriosis is on my lips in and out of work.
If I haven’t seen someone for a while and they know I have endometriosis, they will ask about my health. If I am assigned a new doctor, I will spend a good amount of time explaining my diagnosis, going over every symptom, listing every treatment I’ve had, and noting the medication I’m currently on.
It should come as no surprise that sometimes I don’t want to speak another word on the matter. Any conversation involving my malfunctioning ovaries, or my overdramatic uterus, seems like an uphill climb. This disease started off as a nuisance, but it has become a burden. Some days finding the words to express the pain I’m in, or the fatigue I suffer, adds to my exhaustion.
This emotional exhaustion does not deny how beneficial talking can be. In fact, part of my self-care involves discussing my physical health with my therapist.
It’s all down to how it feels after we talk.
For me, the key lies in choosing the right people and, especially, the right moment. I need to be in a mindset in which, shortly after venting, I won’t have any negative thoughts lodged and circling around my brain ad infinitum. If I feel additional pain or anxiety, then talking was not the right choice.
How do I manage endometriosis talk exhaustion?
When others ask about things we don’t have the energy to discuss, Dr. Nicole LePera suggests providing an answer that is courteous but very powerful: “I really appreciate you asking. I’m just not comfortable sharing right now.” LePera is a psychologist and expert in healthy boundary setting.
There are things that happen to us that don’t just pass us by. A chronic illness can become a heavy presence, almost changing the texture and feel of our surroundings. Knowing how to manage the most painful emotions that are generated is the key to an easier existence.
Aside from endometriosis, I’m currently grieving a sizable amount of loss. It doesn’t feel good to talk about it anymore. I need a breather and to sit with these emotions to see where they take me. Any healing will come from inside me, and not from others. I am learning to listen to my own wants and needs, and I choose a nourishing form of silence.
It won’t cure endometriosis, but it will ease everything else.
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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.
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