So I’ve been doing a fair bit of thinking about my PCOS over the last few days. This sends me into a pretty emotional head-spin and really drains me. I have always struggled to be completely honest with anyone about how the PCOS affects me. I suppose the only way I can really sum it up is that I feel like a failure. If you’ve read any of my earlier posts you’ll know I have a huge issue with failure, but had started to learn there are different types of failure. For instance, failure at the gym is a good thing as it means I can keep trying until I get whatever it is I am struggling with right. However, when it comes to the PCOS I am completely blinkered. All I see is a never-ending set of problems that I don’t know how to deal with. The weight is obviously a big (excuse the pun!) issue, followed very closely by my ugly skin flare ups. But the main problem for me is the horrendous mood swings and feelings of complete depression. When these ‘episodes’ happen I feel as though I have been physically gripped by a black cloud and am weighed down by every negative thought I have ever had. It feels almost impossible to escape it.
I suppose that tied up with this negativity is the constant worry that I will never be able to have children. To me, and this is a very personal thought, not being able to have children would be the biggest failure of my life. I often laugh it off and say ‘oh I’m not ready for that’, or ‘oh god who wants to go through all that?!’, but really it’s something that I want more than anything. The thought of not being able to do what I suppose is one of the most natural things in the world makes me so sad. It scares me more than I would ever properly admit. I already feel judged for having PCOS, but I feel that this would be another thing for people to hold against me. If you are reading this and don’t have PCOS then I don’t really think you will understand what I am saying. I don’t mean that to sound exclusive, but no one can properly know what it feels like unless they are going through it. It’s not a ‘glamorous’ condition, therefore not much is known about it. Unfortunately it is stereotyped as the ‘fat/hairy’ condition where women end up looking like men. (I can imagine to some that this sounds quite funny. Well it really isn’t. Some of the stories I have read where women’s symptoms have been severe are truly heartbreaking. Please never judge) That couldn’t be further from the truth, but no one has been prepared to fight to help women who are suffering. Until now.
I want to help as many women as possible who have PCOS or think they might, so here are my very simple suggestions of where to start:
- Don’t be afraid to go to your doctor and ask for help.
- Don’t let them send you away without at least agreeing to a blood test, and if possible an ultrasound scan.*
- Look for support groups online like Verity
- Look for support on social media, like me!
- Talk to family and friends about your symptoms and how it makes you feel
- Don’t keep your worries to yourself. There are lots of people out there to help.
*I have to say being sent to an ante-natal department full of pregnant women when you have PCOS is one of the cruelest things to experience. You are sat there knowing you are probably going to be told the chance of getting pregnant is fairly low, while being surrounded by lots of big tummies. Talk about sick irony!
For now I am still very much stuck in the ‘PCOS = FAILURE’ mindset, and I know it’s going to take a long, long time to even try and change that. But I’m a fighter, in more ways than one! So I’m prepared to go all the way with this.