“It just helps us connect in a different way.”
Living with a chronic illness is inherently stressful. Many people with a chronic condition quickly find that their condition may impact them throughout their daily lives in ways they may not have anticipated. Not surprisingly, people with chronic illnesses have a 15 to 20 percent higher risk of having depression than the average person, according to the American College of Gynecology.
April Christina, an endometriosis advocate and blogger, quickly realized the stress that came with living with endometriosis. This condition causes tissue similar to the uterine lining to appear outside of the uterus, causing severe abdominal pain, heavy and frequent bleeding, and a heightened risk of infertility. After experiencing depression following her diagnosis, April decided to prioritize her mental health and accept her condition with optimism.
“Self-care has helped me manage endometriosis better,” she says. “I am able to express my emotions in a better and more positive way.”
Practicing Self-Care as a Couple
In August 2018, April’s husband Greg penned a guest post on April’s blog. Now one of the most visited posts on the blog, Greg’s post discussed what he learned from watching his wife attend therapy—and how it motivated him to do the same.
“It was really good to see the difference in her,” says Greg. “Things that would drain her and take her energy no longer had the same effect on her.”
Together, April and Greg practice self-care as a couple, believing it helps them each individually and together as a family. “A chronic condition such as endometriosis [can] put a strain on your relationship if you don’t know how to properly handle it,” says April.
April and Greg have found a good routine for nurturing their mental health together: It’s a no-phone zone, and they try to just focus on each other. “We plan a date night at least every month,” Greg says.
They’re fond of exercising together, which is not only fun and challenging but also a mood boost (hello, endorphins!). “We’re very competitive people,” says April. “Outdoor activities have been our new thing. Greg is about to teach me how to play soccer.”
Another important piece of their mental health is their spirituality. “We go to church together every Sunday. We both serve in our church,” says Greg. “It’s one of the things that helps alleviate stress and keep us grounded and focused.”
These self-care habits don’t just improve their own individual mental health—they help them bond as a couple. “It has changed for the better because we’re learning other things about each other,” says April. “It just helps us connect in a different way.”
Photo by Jaenique Hurlock
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A chronic condition such as endometriosis,
it can put a strain on your
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relationship if you don't know
how to properly handle it.
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00:00:17,230 --> 00:00:20,529
Self care has helped me
handle endometriosis better.
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I am able to express my emotions
in a better and more positive way.
00:00:27,418 --> 00:00:29,910
I prioritize mental health
because black men have,
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specifically black men have
faced a lot of trauma.
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There's so many things that we face in
environments, the external anxieties,
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the on top of that having a chronic
illness and on top of that being a black
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woman, once again, a space where we
can adequately verbalize those things.
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It's okay to go to a therapist.
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It's okay to receive counseling.
00:00:50,988 --> 00:00:53,871
It was really good to see
the difference in her.
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Things that would drain her and take her
energy no longer had the same effect on
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her, as a couple for
self care and stress relief.
00:01:00,600 --> 00:01:03,890
We clear out everything,
put the phones aside and
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just kind of focus on each other.
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Everyone else has their
time then we have ours,
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we plan a date night at least every month.
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We can find different restaurants or
hands on activities that will challenge
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us to challenge each other cause
we're very competitive people.
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Sometimes we go to the gym together,
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which helps because when we go to gym
together, it's like very motivated.
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have been our new thing.
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Greg is about to teach
me how to play soccer.
00:01:33,378 --> 00:01:35,170
We go to church together every Sunday.
00:01:35,170 --> 00:01:37,280
We both serve in our church.
00:01:37,280 --> 00:01:41,030
It's one of the things that
help alleviate stress and
00:01:41,030 --> 00:01:42,890
kinda keep us grounded and focused.
00:01:42,890 --> 00:01:43,690
It has changed for
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the better because we're learning
other things about each other.
00:01:47,580 --> 00:01:49,453
It just helps us connect
in a different way.
00:01:49,453 --> 00:01:54,920
Endometriosis. Washington, DC: Office on Women’s Health. (Accessed on September 23, 2019 at https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/endometriosis.)
Endometriosis fact sheet. American College of Gynecology. (Accessed on September 23, 2019 at https://www.acog.org/about_acog/news_room/~/media/newsroom/millionwomanmarchendometriosisfactsheet.pdf.)