What To Do When Your Friend Has Endometriosis: A Letter From My Best Friend
"When I first discovered that my best friend had endometriosis I had no idea how serious it was. I’d never heard of the disease and initially my understanding was simply that it caused extra painful period cramps and an irregular cycle. At first I I didn’t link the condition to any of the other symptoms she often showed signs of, like severe fatigue and depression. We’ve both always been quite emotional creatures, tearing up at the slightest upsetting or joyous of moments, but Jess always seemed to be exceptionally fragile.
It was only through learning about her condition that I realised how much the physical pain she suffers from so frequently had taken its toll on her mental health. I think it was a relief to know that there was an explanation for what she was experiencing. It’s really difficult knowing that someone you care about is in pain, both mentally and physically, but not knowing why, or how to help.
I believe that understanding and educating myself about Endo has really strengthened my friendship with Jess. Although she may not be the person I can party with, or call on for more strenuous activities, we are able to spend time quality together doing things we both enjoy and benefit from. Although it's really difficult to see Jess struggle with her symptoms, it has been really inspiring to witness the positive effect being diagnosed has had on her. Rather than being completely consumed by the negative impact of the disease, Jess dedicates much of her time in finding creative ways to cope with her symptoms and helping other women to cope with theirs.
If anyone reading this has a friend who is living with endo, my advice is to be there for them in anyway you can. Although sometimes you may feel unhelpful, kind words always help in some way. Even just being there to listen is super important. Understand when they may not be able to make it to events or occasions that mean a lot to you - it's never personal! Give them permission to cancel on you last minute if they need to. Find out as much about the condition as you can. Let them know how much you understand and are there to help. Be an advocate for endometriosis! It’s an intimate condition and unfortunately a lot of women suffer from it in silence so talk about it openly. Lastly, be inspired by the strength of your friend because living with endometriosis isn’t easy! I feel very fortunate to have Jess in my life. She is a true definition of a superwomen and I’m extremely proud of her."