Friendship and Endometriosis: How My Relationship with My Best Friend Strengthened with Endometriosis
If you wanted to track how endometriosis had effected my life, before I even knew I had it, hearing my friend and former business partner speak about our journey together, would probably give you a good idea.
When I was about 20, my best friend Becky and I started a magazine. A magazine that she would eventually take to stores across the world - and it's still going to this day. Starting a magazine together was an incredible adventure and probably the most fun I've ever had, but for me, there was also a very dark side to it all. I couldn't keep up with the parties, the endless schedule of weeks and weeks without a day off, of all nighters trying to make deadlines. I was constantly burnt out, in a state of anxiety and depression, and unable to keep up with everyone else. I didn't know why I couldn't keep up with Becky or my team, all I knew is that I was lagging behind and it didn't look good. I had no real explanation for what was wrong. At the time, anxiety wasn't a talked about thing and I didn't even recognise it as a real condition. Burn out wasn't a thing to me either, I was just weak, or lazy, or not good enough.
Eventually the self-loathing and the inability to keep up led to me being unable to continue with the magazine, and my career in fashion. I wasn't sure why, but I knew it wasn't good for me, as much as some parts of it I loved, and it broke my heart to end this type of relationship I had developed with Becky. My partner in crime, the co-founder of our business, my best friend and soul mate. I knew this would change the type of relationship we had.
And it did.. We'd spend every waking hour either talking or together. We'd gone though some of the highest highs we'd ever experienced, and some of the lowest lows too. Even though we were still best friends, there was now a distance that we had never had before.
As years went on, I slowly began to unpick at my health. First, came the acknowledgment of an 11 year eating disorder, that had eaten away at my esteem whilst working at the magazine.
And finally, came the endometriosis diagnosis. It was another few years before I really read up on endo and realised I wasn't weak - I had fatigue, depression, anxiety, hormonal imbalances, etc. All 'side effects' of endometriosis.
Throughout this time, Becky had been on this journey with me. We'd been growing and changing and evolving. As we both began to understand what I was dealing with emotionally, Becky was able to see that my decision to leave the magazine wasn't personal or about the magazine, and I was able to forgive myself.
Becky has been, alongside my partner, my rock through this all. Whenever I'm depressed, she knows exactly what to say. She treats me with more compassion and empathy than I do myself. And she's my cheerleader, always in my corner, believing in the work I'm doing through This EndoLife. She is completely accepting of who I am, non-judgemental and caring. She has adapted to the ways I have changed, and has gone along with my changes.
I can honestly say I'm not sure where I'd be without her guidance, support and inspiration.
And so I wanted to talk to her about what it was like and is like to have a friend in her life with endometriosis. This is a specific example of what it is to have a good friend stand by you with endometriosis, and I appreciate it's not always like this with some friends. Hopefully this will be an interesting insight into how your friends might see you, or perhaps it'll help a friend understand endometriosis better.
Read Becky's piece here...