How music helps me cope with the physical and emotion pain from endometriosis.

It’s now been nine months since I had my laparoscopy and was diagnosed with endometriosis. It’s been one crazy roller-coaster ride. Upon reflection, I think there are some positives to my chronic illness story so far; endometriosis has forced me to dig deeper than I ever thought possibler, has taught me the true value of health and happiness, and has shown me who my real friends and family are as well as how to value them.  What I hate though is how, in your darkest times, endometriosis makes you feel so lost and alone with a massive burden to carry. No matter how openly or sincerely people are ”there for you”, it can be very difficult to open up about how you are really feeling. After all, I’ve found that my thoughts and outlook often changes from day to day depending on how I am physically and/or mentally. And besides, I’m still just trying to come to terms with all this stuff for myself, so I don’t need to share all the gory inner-workings of my mind with the whole world just yet.

One thing that I have found that really helps me to process difficult emotions is to listen to songs that has lyrics or a melody that encapsulates an aspect of how I am feeling. I’ve always been into music and appreciate listening to loads of different genres, from classical and jazz, to rock and rap. I was also a dancer growing up, so escaping reality in this way is not a new strategy for me. When things get too much and I just don’t know what to do with myself, I put on my noise cancelling headphones, load up my Spotify, and block out the world with the songs that I know will say the things that I don’t want to. It’s super cathartic and helpful.

I thought it might be fun (or at least interesting) to share some of the songs that have helped me with you all. Think of it as ‘my endometriosis playlist- the edited version’ (my full endo playlist has around 150 tracks on it!):

1. Crystal ball (Keane).

”Who is the man I see
Where I’m supposed to be?
I lost my heart, I buried it too deep
Under the iron sea.”

I’m a big fan of the band Keane, which I’m aware isn’t a hugely fashionable thing to admit. Their lyrics are so good at articulating the deepest and darkest insecurities that we all have, and I find that they often help me to make sense of my feeling about my endometriosis even though they were written about other topics, usually love or friendship.

This song is about feeling emotionally disconnected from your life and discontented with how it’s working out, but feeling powerless to put things right. There are times in the past year where I have felt so low it was unbearable, but listening to all of the lyrics of this song reminds me both that I am not the only person to have felt this way and that I don’t want to always feel like this.

2. Big girls cry (Sia).

”I may cry, ruining my makeup
Wash away all the things you’ve taken
I don’t care if I don’t look pretty
Big girls cry when their hearts are breaking.”

I find Sia’s voice amazing and I could listen to her all day. This song regularly makes me cry because I totally understand the ‘tough girl’ who is inconsolable and brokenhearted. I am that girl- I’ve done A LOT of crying this year. Some of her videos are also really cool actually, and represent a child and a warrior doing battle. I find that I relate to these two battling states of self in relation to my own endometriosis journey, being simultaneously the girl who would stop at nothing to get answers and the girl who just wants to be looked after and told everything will be OK.

3. Bumpy Ride (The Hoosiers).

”It’s gonna be a bumpy ride
But it sure beats standing still.
I know we can work it out,
And I’ve no doubt that we will.
When it hurts more than it shows,
It’s not the easiest of roads.
No it’s never black and white,
And you can keep your happy life.”

This song is totally daft, but it always cheers me up as it reminds me that even though this isn’t the journey or life I would have chosen for myself, that it can be (and is) a good one. I won’t be beaten by endometriosis, but right now I am still finding my feet and traveling this rocky road. But do you know what? That’s OK, I know I will reach steadier climbs eventually.

4. A bad dream (Keane).

”I wake up, it’s a bad dream
No one on my side
I was fighting
But I just feel too tired
To be fighting
Guess I’m not the fighting kind.”

This is another Keane song for my gloomier moods. It is actually a beautiful song about the ironies of war. I think I relate to it about war too, but the one that’s going on inside my body. As I have outlined in this post as well as some others, having endometriosis can feel really isolating and like you constantly have to fight to get the treatment that you need. Sometimes, I find emotions around this extremely difficult, and these lyrics along with the sombre melody articulate these feelings better than I ever could.

5. Superheroes (The Script).

”When you’ve been fighting for it all your life
You’ve been struggling to make things right
That’s how a superhero learns to fly
(Every day, every hour
Turn the pain into power).”

This choice is pretty straightforward. I’ve been battling endometriosis since I was 12 years old. It has certainly made me stronger, and I am proud of some of the things I have done since gaining my diagnosis to raise awareness, such as attending the EndoMarch and blogging on this site. On some days, just for a minute, I sit and reflect on what I’ve been through and think ”Damn, I’m a bit of a badass superhero.” I bet you do too! 🙂

In the past few weeks I have started to freak out about my future again, and I have noticed that my music consumption has shot up. I just don’t know how to tell people that I’m not OK, and it’s driving me crazy. I just turn to songs as a best friend when I need them. They almost always give me the advice I need and I always feel better for spending time with them.

I am sooooo interested to hear about the music that has helped you through your endometriosis and/or chronic illness journey. Is there a particular song or lyric that perfectly depicts an experience or emotion you’ve had? Perhaps you could tell me what your endometriosis sound track would be. Or (even more excitingly) have you written your own music on this topic? Please do get in touch and share your thoughts.