One day my life was completely normal and the next, it was a terrible nightmare.
I was hospitalized briefly in 2015 due to a sharp pain in the lower right side of my abdomen. This pain was off and on for about a week and initially, I thought I had alcohol poisoning after a night out. It wasn't until a year later when my menstrual cycle lasted for two weeks that I realized something must be wrong so I decided to visit the gynaecologist.
After answering a ton of questions and two visits, I was given the news. I was diagnosed with PCOS. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition that affects a woman's hormone levels, ovulation and periods. The doctor informed me that there was no cure, I may never be able to conceive and other additional information.
Upon being given the news, I was pretty calm as I didn't take life too serious and I wasn't concerned about not having children because at that point, I wasn't ready and the guy I was dating at the time was far from being the man I wanted to be the father of my child.
Fast forward a year and the reality of PCOS was very real. I was losing friends, stressed out from work, depressed and worst of all, I was not in the mental state to give my boyfriend the love and respect that he deserved.
The person that I once knew was constantly changing and there was nothing I could do about it. I gained alot of weight and literally had to starve myself and survive on water in order to fit into certain clothing, my hair was falling out, the facial hair started to appear and I had to wear tons of makeup to conceal dark spots from shaving, waxing and plucking. I was disgusted with my appeareance and this led to many insecurities within my relationship.
I would get upset at the slightest things which led to incessant arguing and I just started to drift away from him. I was self destructing and no one could help me, I couldn't even help myself. I would cry almost every day and night. This condition was just too much for me to bare and it came to the point where I wanted to die because the symptoms were very overwhelming.
I planned to take a drug overdose and just end it all, I had nothing to live for but clearly God had a different plan. My mind would not shut off and I just couldn't do it. It was then that I decided I had to conquer defeat and not accept it. I came to the realization that it was up to me to get better and I had to stop relying on people for validation and happiness. Mental illness is no joke and I had to choose to be better, I had to choose to live.
I visited a therapist and I finally confided in my boyfriend about my condition, he researched it and was very supportive. The fact that I may never be able to conceive was not a turn off for him, he told me that there are still other options and adoption would be a last resort. I felt a bit relieved but at the same time, knowing and completely understanding what I experience are two different things. You can empathize all you want but you will never fully understand until you are living my life.
PCOS hugely affects your mental health, I can't always control how I react and the things I say. Unintentionally, I end up hurting the ones I love the most. This condition has caused people to leave my life due to my attitude and it has also caused me to distance myself from others as well.
This condition has many cons but it has shown me who will stick around through the bad times and it has made me more appreciative of life and the people in my life. It is a continuous work in progress but I'm working on having a positive attitude and opening up to others about my struggles.
My advice to anyone with PCOS or battling any form of anxiety is to open up as much as possible. Life is so much easier when you are surrounded by genuine people and bottling up your thoughts and feelings serves no one. You will be very overwhelmed fighting those battles alone.
You can visit a therapist or even write down your feelings, it all counts. On some days, opening up and writing may not aid your situation but they can be very beneficial. You have to constantly remind yourself that you're not alone and this too shall pass.
Shanika W is a creative who has a passion for the arts. When she is not consumed by her condition, she is always looking for new ways to be artistic.