I get it. A Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) diagnosis can be a hard blow. If you’ve just received a PCOS diagnosis, or have known for some time but are still wrapping your head around it all, then start here.
PCOS: Power Can Overcome Struggle
We have already discussed earlier in this series what PCOS actually is, as well as how you can incorporate natural remedies and lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms. We’ve even gone over how the partner of a PCOS warrior can step up to make things easier both for themselves and their other half. But, let’s not overlook the elephant in the room here. Living with PCOS can be hard on your self-esteem.
Like, really hard.
Let’s be real, despite the great progress when it comes to body positivity, carrying a little extra weight, struggling with acne, and dealing with a little extra body and facial hair while battling hair thinning in the one place where you would welcome some extra growth – can be a constant uphill struggle. And as much as we all remind each other that beauty comes in many forms, and is separate from the unrealistic ideal perpetuated by the media, when your body seems to reject all modern beauty standards in various different ways, it can hurt.
And then there’s the issue of fertility – which may or may not be a concern to you in this moment. But for many women, learning they can’t or have a limited probablility of conceiving naturally can be tough to accept. Sometimes, it’s even hard for those who don’t want kids! Because it has more to do with feeling powerful and “normal” in your body than it does about the anticipated patter of tiny feet.
(I must add though that having PCOS doesn’t necessarily mean you are infertile – just buts you at a higher risk of struggling to conceive naturally.)
Was your PCOS diagnosis a Comfirmation of your fears?
If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS, chances are you’ve already struggling with the symptoms for a while. So it’s not like they pop up out of nowhere as you slump out of the doctor’s office. That being said, due to the fact that the key symtoms of irregular periods, slow metabolism, acne, and unbalanced hair growth are not exactly unique to this condition. But you may well have been pinning them on other sources.
“I’m just stressed. My acne will pass.”
“I just need to work out a little more and eat a little better, then the weight will shift.”
“I’ll get pregnant in my own time.”
“I just need to buy a scalp treatment/ hair removal method/ skin product and all will be well.”
Although these assumptions could may well be true to an extent – even if you do have PCOS – knowing that all these niggling symptoms are all tied to a common cause can still feel rather disheartening.
Maybe even if you work out and eat like a boss, meditate daily, and take all the fertility advice, you may still struggle. It’s not definite, but it’s possible. And this can be hard to deal with. You may be able to manage your symptoms with these dietary and lifestyle changes, but you may always have to try harder than most people to achieve the same results.
Accepting this is the first step.
Negative thoughts and how to overcome them
The second step? Identifying negative, self-esteem-sabotaging thoughts, and stopping them in their tracks. You have this condition through no choice of your own, and now you are grappling with a bunch of symptoms that just so happen to be stigmatised by our current society. These things are not your fault, nor should you let them define you.
You are still you, still your unique and complex mind. You still have a beautiful and functioning body.
Because let’s be real – no body is perfect or without quirks or anomalies – PCOS just so happens to be one of yours. Even those who appear to be “perfect” have their struggles – they are just annoyingly good at hiding them! But it’s not all about hiding “flaws,” of course, it’s about feeling genuinely comfortable and yourself in your own skin, and managing any symptoms that cause you discomfort in healthy and empowering ways.
So no more calling yourself ugly for any skin, hair, or weight issues you may be struggling with. No more calling yourself broken for your menstrual or fertility issues. You are just fine the way you are. In fact, your ability to ride the rollercoaster of PCOS symptoms and still thrive only further demonstrates your strength and beauty.
So let go of that inner-critic once and for all. It only comes from our immersion in a society obsessed with unrealistic and illogical ideas of what femininity and beauty is – and has no place in an enlightened mind like yours!
Accepting a PCOS Diagnosis: Some Final Thoughts
Overall, a long-term diagnosis like PCOS can be hard to accept – made harder still when society wants you to think that your very femininity is challenged. However, the key to not only surviving but thriving with PCOS is to not believe the nonsense going around.
There may be many questions floating around your mind regarding your appearance, your long-term health, and your fertility. That’s okay. Take your sweet time to go over your concerns – preferably with a medical professional who can put your anxieties to rest.
And sure, there’s no shame in doing whatever you need to to feel your best – but make sure that it’s for you, and not in order to fit a mold you feel olbiged to fit into…
The bottom line? Loving your body is a crucial part of caring for it. And caring for it will also help you manage the symptoms. So it’s a win-win! Your body has been dealt a tricky hand – appreciate its ability to fight your corner and serve you anyway!
Have you been diagnosed with PCOS? How has it affected your self-esteem? We would love to hear your experiences – share your thoughts in the comments!