To be able to cope with physical pain, confusion, and emotional strain, we need a good social support network around us. Studies have shown people with healthy friendships and relationships that provide emotional support have greater emotional well-being, live healthier lives, and even have a longer life expectancy.
Nevertheless, finding the right support can be hard. Sometimes it can feel very uncomfortable asking for or receiving support when you have pelvic pain or endometriosis. We have to be able to open ourselves up, which can be strange, scary, or embarrassing and leave us feeling vulnerable. On the flip side, not receiving the support we need might lead to lonely, hurt, and isolated feelings. It is important to know we are not a burden!
Social and emotional support can be obtained from a wide variety of sources around us. You may not have someone you can confide in about everything, and that’s OK, but remember to look to people you can trust and count on.
Here are some suggestions for finding social support:
Family & Friends: People near us are often the first go-to-people for support, as they’re easy to access and closest to us. You may think people won’t understand your emotions, but often they may surprise you. They may have experienced difficult times and are now able to offer advice and support in some shape or form. It is important to remember for most people, friends and family care about us and want what’s best for us so they will want to help in any way possible.
Professional Support: Sometimes speaking to someone outside the normal circle of family and friends assists in being completely honest without worrying about upsetting someone close. Make sure the counselor/professional you seek help from is a member of local professional bodies and has appropriate skills and experience to be able to help you.
Sister Support: Since our endo-sisters are generally seen as members of our own community with real-life experience in the condition, this kind of support is an important and flexible addition to the support from other sources. Connecting with our peers lets us share stories and experiences while providing empathetic, emotional, and practical support in the times we need it the most. Look for a local support group if you prefer to meet your peers face-to-face.
Although it’s nice to sit down with fellow sufferers, this isn’t always possible. Luckily, technology makes it easier than ever before to stay connected. There are a lot of public and private support groups and networks online where women with endometriosis and pelvic pain can connect and give each other advice and support without prejudice.