“What if there is a proven link between endometriosis and anxiety even when you don’t know you have the condition?” is a common question for any endometriosis patient.
The answer to that question is YES! There is a psychological link that can produce certain anxieties in any disease and unfortunately endometriosis is no exception.
Why do I say that? First of all, even if we don’t know that we have endometriosis yet, it produces certain hormonal changes in the body that are perceived as “I feel strange, like nothing suits me, I feel anxious for no particular reason, like nothing suits me and I feel a dull ache all over my body and I can’t figure out what it could be”. Do you recognize yourself?
Yes, this is where the first endometriosis anxiety starts. We simply become moody, as I like to call it, and we are tense for no reason.
Secondly comes the anxiety related to the approaching menstruation, which is very painful, no one understands us and tells us it’s normal, but we are literally perplexed by the pain and we STILL don’t know why…
Thirdly, there is the anxiety accompanied by its sister frustration that nobody understands us, not even some doctors, and we leave the doctor without a diagnosis and without a solution, and we feel that something is wrong with us and we struggle to be well and we read, we inform ourselves and yet we lack the diagnosis to know what we are really struggling with. It’s like an invisible enemy that causes us thousands of states and we don’t know how to deal with it because we don’t know who it is.
What else do we, endometriosis patients, face? Well, as I said, we have different anxieties and that’s before we know we have endometriosis. But what happens when we find out we have endometriosis? What does the diagnosis of endometriosis come with from a psychological point of view?
There is the anxiety of going to the doctor because we are afraid that we will get bad news again, that’s where the hiding from reality comes from and we lie to ourselves that it will go away by itself and with this thought comes the flight from reality and the worsening of the disease.
Then comes the anxiety of pain, as soon as we wake up and just before we get out of bed comes the thought that today is going to hurt again, I have to take anti-inflammatories again so I can face the day. Pain anxiety is sometimes false. Why do I say that? Because we end up hurting sometimes just mentally and actually the pain is not so chronic, it’s just that our brain expecting it, when it comes it intensifies it.
Then there’s the anxiety after surgery. There are patients who are so traumatized by the hospital experience and the pain that they end up turning it into trauma and they need a therapist to help them get through it and not store it wrongly.
Not to mention the anxiety of the approaching menstruation, when you know how painful it is, and the worst part is that sometimes you can’t cope with normal days after having your period… Awful! Many of us have to take leave on those days because we are not fit for work, and this is where the fear of not being understood comes in and many of us are not understood and have lost our jobs because of this.
And perhaps the biggest anxiety we struggle with in the diagnosis of endometriosis is that we are afraid we will let our partner down for several reasons.
One reason is the lack of libido due to the pain that occurs and the repeated rejection of the life partner.
Another reason behind the anxiety is that we want a child and unfortunately it is quite difficult to have one naturally and here we are afraid of disappointing, that we cannot be the woman our partner wants.
Unfortunately, we have many anxieties that come with our illness. What is important is to understand what we are dealing with, to be well and correctly informed, to be under the supervision of an endometriosis specialist and, last but not least, to talk about our fears with a therapist or someone we know understands us.
So YES once again, endometriosis even when we don’t know we have it and then we find out about it, causes anxiety and then turns into frustration and – in the end – trauma for us as endometriosis patients.