This has been a post that I have wanted to make for a couple of months now, I just never really knew what to say at the time. But, I feel like now is probably as good of a time as it will ever be to finally get a big weight off my chest. I hope that someone out there might find this article important or helpful, and as always, I’m always here in you want to chat or ask questions.
First of all, what is PCOS?
PCOS varies from person to person, but in a nutshell, it is a hormonal disorder in females that can cause a variety of symptoms, including cysts on your ovaries, acne, hair loss, infertility, and weight gain. For some women, they will develop painful cysts on their ovaries and will need them surgically removed. For others, like myself, they are insulin-resistant, making it harder for their bodies to break down sugars and cause weight gain and an overproduction in insulin, which causes diabetes.
As you can have many physical symptoms, the mental toll on someone with PCOS is also a huge factor. And that is what I want to talk about today. As common as PCOS is, not many people know about it or even understand what it is. I hope that this post will shed some light on it, and if you know of a woman who is struggling with the disorder, you can help her out a little by being an understanding friend. Just a fair warning though, some of this post might be a little graphic and I will use words like “having a period” and other words. If you don’t want to read on, I will understand!
It has been several months since my diagnosis with PCOS. Thankfully, it made itself known and I was able to put forth the effort in finding a care provider to help me out. From March until May, I went over ninety days without having a period and I knew I wasn’t pregnant. I tried to settle my discomfort and think to myself, “It will sort itself out”, but after the ninety-day mark, I was fed up with it. I found a new doctor and scheduled an appointment with her, and I’m so glad I did! She listened to everything I had to say and took the time to explain her thoughts clearly. She agreed with me that something was definitely up, so we decided to do some blood work and I got the results back later that week.
One thing that I can not stress enough is to find a doctor that treats you well and you really connect with. Whether you have cancer or PCOS or you just want a regular doctor for your annual exams, search for that doctor that really connects with you. It makes a huge difference in your physical and mental health.
After my blood work came back in, she determined that my insulin levels were off, so we started on a pre-diabetic medicine called Metformin to help get it back to the way it should be. For the past three months, I have had to really change my diet, exercise more (which I have been doing more gentle exercises, like casual hikes, bike riding, and slow and easy weight lifting), and taking this medication. And I won’t lie to you, the medicine is hard to get used to. You will quickly find out what foods you can and can’t eat because your body will definitely tell you! Thankfully, I have figured it out pretty quickly and I’ve grown accustomed to it.
Now that I have the basics of the physical aspects of the disorder down, let’s move on to the topic of this post. The mental aspect of it is just as important as the physical. There was something I was not prepared for with this: the overwhelming feeling of loneliness and despair.
Now I really am not trying to sound dramatic with this, but it really was a huge factor that I had to deal with, especially the first month. I won’t lie to you, I spent the next three days laying in bed, crying, and feeling sorry for myself. I thought to myself, “Why does this have to happen to me?” and “What if I can’t have children? It is the one thing I really wanted.” For weeks afterward, I would get so depressed and I couldn’t help but think that life must be punishing me somehow, because why can’t one thing in my life be easy, for once?
And you know, I really needed that time to feel sorry for myself. Until the tears came along, and the long, late nights talking to my husband and finding a support group for myself, I don’t think I would have been able to move on and be stronger. So don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be sad or you can’t cry. I’m looking at you too, men! It’s okay for men to be sad too.
After a couple of weeks, I was able to get more into the rhythm of things. I wasn’t in the best of moods all of the time, but it slowly was getting better. The hardest part of maintaining healthy mental health was my pessimism about the future. Anyone who knows me would know I can be a bit of a negative Nancy sometimes, but a huge part of getting past PCOS is having faith. You don’t have be blind, but your mind will thank you when you don’t have a bunch of swirling negative thoughts in your head all the time.
In the end, it is all about what works best for you! Take some time off if you can. If that isn’t a possibility, make sure you take time for yourself every day. You can do a little self-care, or start up a new hobby or get back into an old one that you have. Talk to your friends and family, because having people support you and understand what you are going through is a lifesaver. Bonus points if you can get them over and they can help you out by having some girls night with take-out and some wine if you choose. And don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor if you ever have questions or concerns. Take it from me, letting a troublesome question swirl around in your mind until it drives you crazy is NOT recommended!
If you or someone you know has this condition, my heart goes out to you. It isn’t easy, but there are many great resources and people out there who are ready to welcome you into the “cyster-hood”. As always, my comments are always open, so please don’t hesitate to ask questions and I’ll be happy to help in any way I can.
Until next time,
The Library Lady ♡