Hi again welcome back 🙂
I have touched upon the environmental factors that have influenced my mental health so I thought I would share about the medical factors that influence it. I am going to share my journey with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
For those of you who don’t know what that is, I will explain. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which a woman’s levels of the “sex hormones” Oestrogen and Progesterone are out of balance. This leads to the growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries).
PCOS can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function, and appearance. Some of the symptom’s of PCOS is irregular periods, weight gain, cysts of the ovaries, difficulty getting pregnant (because of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate), excessive hair growth usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks, thinning hair and hair loss from the head and oily skin or acne. So there is some of the medical jargon out the way.
Without giving you the gruesome unnecessary details, like most girls I started my journey into the valley of the mood swings and hot water bottles at 13. Oh, I remember the tears from my mom, the little goody bag of treats and pads, even my sister was nice to me.
It seemed like smooth sailing once a month, for a few days mild cramps, chocolate craving, I can deal with that. How wrong I was! I think it was normal for about a year and then hell broke lose. I started passing out on periods and the pain was immense.
I don’t blame my mom for thinking I was just being dramatic as I was still new to all this. It wasn’t until the weight started to creep on and my monthlies were getting so bad I got sent home from school. My mom took some advice from a nurse friend to get me to the doctors.
So how does this affect my mental health I hear you ask. Well, when you start putting on weight and being bullied at school it’s not the best combination. When you start passing out in public, I just started to avoid going out.
So this added to the stress. My confidence was just getting lower and lower, made me think why me! They do say there is a link between PCOS and depression as it’s a hormone imbalance. I already felt so different to other girls my age and this just added to it.
Anyway, I got took to the doctors and all my doctor did be give me stronger painkillers, wouldn’t investigate further. Sadly I think this condition helped drive a wedge between me and my Mom, she was already strict on my eating habits as I was bigger than my siblings. It felt like I had a bully at school and a bully at home. I won’t go into too many details as I think I want to write a separate blog about my Mom and me. So I just learned to live with it, dreading when they came around each month. So it wasn’t until I was 17 nearly 18 that all changed. At 17 I had my first boyfriend, things weren’t all bad for a change and then unexpectedly I got pregnant which wasn’t straightforward. I had a burst ectopic pregnancy!
Again I want to save that story for another time.
Sadly the repercussions of this event also affected my mental health, I had never felt so lonely and isolated from everyone and it’s something I never opened up about for 10 years. It was after this my Dad got private health care for his family and I went straight to the doctors and got referred to see if I had PCOS. Finally, I had my answers! I was diagnosed with PCOS. That was it I was put on the pill and left to it. It was up to me to do the research to learn about the other symptoms.
So fast forward a few years, other symptoms have started to show and sometimes I can get control of it, sometimes I can’t. So why I think this has affected my mental health is because not only does this affect the outside of my body, but also the inside. I have zero confidence sometimes because I hate how big I can get; I only have to smell a McDonalds and boom! 2 stone put on.
I fear going out in public and doing normal things like going to the hairdressers to even eat out. I am scared people are going to judge me by my outside appearance. My anxiety can go through the roof as I spent years of people not believing me and judging me; when I know now it’s not my fault.
I fear the future more and more as people my age are having kids but what if I can’t? That clock seems to tick louder and louder. Like anxiety and depression, I shouldn’t let this condition control me but I just can’t help it sometimes. I have the reminders when I work so hard on a diet but the weight is still there. When a friend announces the pregnancy, the sadness kicks in. When the pain is so immense that I miss days from work it makes me feel like a failure. It’s a vicious cycle of PCOS, depression, and anxiety. Sometimes I feel there is no break from it but I still remain hopeful.
I believe this condition is part of the black clouds above my head and I fight to see the sun shine through.