I thought it was about time for a new post, and since my main focus has been around mental health – in particular anxiety – over the past few years, I have decided to start writing about a common disorder many of us women live with, known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) to try and spread awareness about a condition that so little is known about.
I was diagnosed with PCOS back in 2017/18, the fact that I can’t remember the exact time I was diagnosed says a lot about the extent those who have this condition (including me) disregard its importance.
My diagnosis was a result of me attending the doctor after not having a period for nearly a year. This prompted me to need some blood tests, which resulted in finding excess levels of testosterone. I was told not to worry about it, but that I may notice (if I hadn’t already) that I produce excess hair, continue having irregular periods, struggle to lose weight, and struggle with moods – but to only come back if and when I am ready to have children if the PCOS is affecting my fertility.
After this, I barely thought about it. If a doctor wasn’t concerned by the diagnosis, why should I be? I have always struggled with my hormones since being a teenager, and excess hair, and since the age of 17/18 I have struggled with my weight, no matter what diet I’ve followed the weight sticks, and I experience terrible bloating and discomfort after eating certain foods. Over the past year or so I have noticed an increase in my mood swings, discomfort, headaches, fatigue and sometimes periods of complete emotional instability that I cannot explain. I also have little interest or pleasure in doing anything anymore (the pandemic doesn’t help, I know) because I feel so often this inability to cope socially, when I never know what mood I’ll be in, so I constantly cancel plans or rearrange. I take regular sick days off of I work because some days I just feel so exhausted I can’t face it. Me with my anxiety head on, I thought I had a serious underlying illness – or I was just going mad.
What’s interesting to me is if you look up the symptoms of PCOS on NHS it mentions the weight gain, excess hair, irregular periods, acne and fertility problems – but mentions NOTHING about the impact this can have on your hormones and overall emotional and mental well-being. I mean, think about it – it’s a condition that is directly related TO hormones!?
I was sitting at home one evening, and flicked on a programme where a girl was talking about her struggles with PCOS – the fatigue, mood swings, social issues, bloating, discomfort and it suddenly hit me that a diagnosis I’d had for the past 2-3 years I hadn’t even considered had ANY relevance because I was told ‘not to worry about it’. Since watching this programme, I have found many PCOS support and awareness pages, and even joined the PCOS society and have been amazed by the similarities in my experiences and theirs!!
I wanted to share this story, as I know so many people suffer with PCOS and many do not see the relevance. The relevance to my blog is that PCOS is directly linked with depression and anxiety. It is not something to disregard, it is something to take incredibly seriously, and seek support for if you need it – as I have started to now.
Thank you for reading x