People with endometriosis often need help. We don’t necessarily like it, but it is all too often a fact. Pain leaves us unable to complete basic tasks such as grocery shopping, going to work, driving, or even standing up. If you have a friend or loved one suffering from endo, chances are you want to know how you can help them. So, without wanting to put too much pressure on you, what can you do? Well, here’s a few ideas:-
- If you are doing your groceries, message them and see if they need anything. My bestie does this for me all the time, and while I’ve yet to take her up on it, my heart glows when she asks because it’s really kind of her.
- Consider other errands they may need help with. For example, do they have any parcels at the Post Office waiting for collection? Do they need to return library books or rented movies, or post letters of their own? If you are heading in that direction, check if there is anything you can do.
- When you are at their house, ask if there are any household tasks you can help out with, such as the washing up or stacking the dishwasher. Again, this is something I tend to turn down (except when my mum offers, because she’s my mum and it’s different when it’s your mum) but one day I may be in so much pain that I’ll take someone up on it. You don’t need to offer to chuck their dirty undies on for a wash or anything, but watering the plants, reheating their wheatbag or letting the dog out might be something that could help.
- Keep them company. As I’ve written about before, endo is super isolating because getting out can be really hard. Kicking back at their place and watching a movie or eating yummy food with a pyjama/yoga pant dress code means the world.
- Walk the dog, if they have one. My mum and my sister-in-law have both done this for me on days when my husband can’t, for whatever reason. It takes a massive load off me and frees up my husband in the evening to care for me instead of being out and about. Plus, dogs are great.
- Pick some low-key, cheap activities. I’m not saying you can never go clubbing again for fear of offending your endo-friend, but every now and again a movie night, board games night or relaxing spa day could be the perfect change of pace for you and a great way to include them. It also helps them where activities have minimal cost as endo is incredibly expensive and tends to impact earning ability as well.
- Be spontaneous where you can. One of my biggest problems is I can’t commit to things in advance because I just don’t know that I’ll be well enough. If your endo friend calls you and asks you out and you can do it, do it. They are having a rare good day and taking advantage of it should provide fun for all.
- Offer lifts. Not everyone with endo has trouble with driving, but some us do due to referred pain in our legs or backs. Some days, having someone else available to drive me can make the difference on whether I can leave the house or not. If you’re both going the same way, see if they want to carpool.
- Keep asking them. Your endo friend may be flaky by necessity but it doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate being asked out. There may well be days when they are absolutely capable of coming and are thrilled to have the chance. Just because they’ve flaked 9 times out of 10, please don’t give up on them.
- Support them emotionally. This is such a debilitating disease. I cannot adequately explain how exhausting, depressing and just utterly draining it is, or how painful the rollercoaster between hope and despair can be. Sometimes we really just need a shoulder to cry on or someone to rant at. Hug us. Thrust tissue boxes in our direction. Pat us awkwardly on the shoulder.
And, for bonus points, look after yourself. If you are dealing with way too much of your own stuff, don’t feel like you have to listen to ours. If you can’t be there for us, let us know – trust me, we will get it – and always feel free to ask for support in return. We would love the opportunity to help someone back, and chances are, we owe you! Plus, even if none of that is true, it’s all part and parcel of being friends. 🙂