by Angi Ingalls
PCOS in ConnecTion
“There is an upside to hurt and pain. When you make it to the other side you will be a stronger person with new growth.”
I can’t tell you how often I have heard from women who are intimidated by dating, being seen in public (especially in a bathing suit), or even dressing in fashionable clothing. How is it that a comment, a glare or fear of what others might think, discourages us from doing things we want to do? Why do we let other people direct our lives?
One of the common symptoms – and I feel the deepest impact on our health, among pre-diabetics/diabetics – is depression. Depression is caused by several factors; societal influences, low self esteem, environment, and our health. It’s no wonder many women who suffer from PCOS have the depression symptom.
So let’s break it down. How can we take control of some of these factors to help our health and enhance our lifestyles?
This is not controllable but what you can do is change how it affects you. Yes, I definitely realize this is not an easy task. But it can be done. All you need is the mind-set to do it.
Not only do we have to deal with other people’s reactions to our image, but we are also pushed into thinking that ‘thin’ is the only way to be. From commercials to sensationalized diet plans to super-thin-supermodels and celebrities, we are bombarded on a daily basis with images of what many think is ideal. While I agree it is important to try to get all humans healthy, I feel our society is continuing to push “thin.” Why is it more important to be thin rather than healthy? Healthy does not always mean “thin” but then we come back to “what does ‘thin’ really mean?”
The ‘thin’ view impacts our desires. We are constantly worried what others may think of us, how the sales lady will react when we go shopping for clothes, or if a cute guy will approach us. It took me about three months of working hard to overcome venturing out alone. Once I did, I loved it! I went clubbing every Friday and Saturday by myself. Yup, I even danced alone – although I will admit, that didn’t last too long – someone would sneak up and start dancing with me.
What did I do to be able to do this? I started doing things my way and stopped caring about what others thought – I put my needs and desires first. Even then, you sometimes still have to deal with someone’s negative comments. For me, I’d shrug it off and simply say “Your opinion doesn’t affect me” (sometimes aloud, sometimes to myself). After awhile, it became instilled in me. Now, I really don’t give a rat’s arse what any one thinks of me. I choose to love me the way I am, I am a beautiful person with a lovely soul – that is what matters. Tip: Picture grabbing the negative thought, comment or glare and throw it in the trash. That is where it belongs, after all.
I suggest picking up a mirror and complimenting yourself over and over again. It will feel silly at first, but eventually, it will help you change the way you think of yourself…in a positive way.
Aside from the previous discussion which directly correlates with self esteem, there are other factors that you can take control over.
Is there someone around you that you have put on a pedestal? Do you perceive someone in your circle of friends and family as “better” in some way?
Often when we idolize someone, we tend to make them appear superior thus making ourselves feel less. We then start to pick ourselves apart. Some thoughts like “why aren’t we like them?” or “what makes us different?” surface. Unfortunately, these usually come along with negative replies from ourselves. What we must do as a society is realize that we are all people with both positive attributes and some that we can work on. No one person is better than another. Once we de-idolize that someone in our lives and re-humanize them, we can start to see our own special qualities.
Has someone hurt you or violated your trust?
Unfortunately, we must deal with hurt and pain – it is inevitable. There is an upside. When you make it to the other side you will be a stronger individual with new growth. It is important to try not to internalize the pain as this will not only affect your mental health but also your physical health. Take on the problem as best you can and ask for help and support when you feel you need it. Once you have come through that obstacle you can begin to work on other areas of your life in a healthier way.
Has someone who used to be a positive influence changed or is no longer around?
We have to look out for our best interests and sometimes that does mean leaving some people behind. It’s not healthy to be in a relationship with someone who is negative. It’s okay to mourn the loss, in fact, it’s encouraged. We tend to worry about the other person who can’t or won’t be helped, we stress or internalize their issues, we even go as far as trying to correct their problems rather than our own. Once you have mourned and moved on, you can then concentrate on your own life and not spend time worrying about the negative person in your life.
I am a true believer that our world is what we make of it and right now, it is sick. Our planet is not well, in turn, we are not well.
Looking around your world, there are so many chemicals these days that directly influence our health and mental well being. We absorb these poisons into our blood stream, we inhale pollutants and we consume chemicals that have made it to our food sources. Not only are our bodies not created for these man-made elements but they have had to adapt over the years to accommodate environmental changes.
Some medications have also had a direct link to mental stability. For some, birth control hormones and infertility medications have had an impact – even some antidepressant medications have made matters worse. As a result, some of those people have had nervous breakdowns, become paranoid, slipped into severe depression with suicidal thoughts or even attempts. I myself have had some of these experiences during my four months on Clomid treatments. I was an absolute basket case who experienced severe insomnia and depression. My depression headed towards suicide in my last cycle and thankfully, I was sane enough to say “no more” and recovered.
The best way to deal with our environment is to try to revert back. For instance, try eating less canned, boxed, and frozen foods and aim at fresh grown foods; cook from scratch as often as possible; know where your foods come from.
Other ideas to help cleanse your environment of chemicals…
o Instead of buying aerosol air fresheners, try using natural oil candles or using a small glass spray bottle try a couple drops of your favorite essential oil in a few ounces of distilled water to spray around the room
o Get rid of all your cleaning supplies (especially sprays) and buy environmentally-friendly soaps to use with rags
o Use only damp soapless rags when possible such as when dusting to help prevent or lessen allergic reactions
o Use less makeup and perfume
o Avoid paper towels, toilet paper and soaps that have color or fragrances
o Skip the dryer sheets
o Aim for more pH balanced shampoo and conditioners
o Do not use vaginal-aimed products [Contrary to what advertising implies, these products are not appropriate for a woman’s natural process or pH levels. Using such products can increase the risk for yeast infections or urinary tract infections as well as alter health levels. ]
Females dealing with PCOS are automatically at greater risk for depression due to hormonal imbalances, and, in turn, low self esteem from dealing with the symptoms. There are other risk factors for depression which include a predisposition to inherited mental disorders, allergic reactions, improper diet for the individual, food or chemical sensitivity, insufficient nutrient levels, fatigue, illness, lack of oxygen or even too much brain activity. Any of these factors can alter someone’s mental state.
I suggest getting a medical history on your family to know what might be an influence in your life. Take that history to your doctor to help gain perspective and know what paths should be taken. Create a diary of your daily dietary intake to help understand what may be causing some road blocks to health and to define problem areas to work on.
The best thing you can do for yourself is try to eliminate or reduce consumption of foods that may cause you to feel worse. Look for new foods to try and eat more fruits and vegetables – not only will fruits and veggies fill you but they will give you natural vitamins and nourishment and improve your entire well being.
Encourage a healthier environment by eliminating as many chemicals as you can. Try to find environmentally-friendly products and look for those that encourage a good pH balance. Revert to the “od ways” such as using vinegar on glass and mirrors, lemons and salt to clean “caked-on” areas, etc. Do research on what your grandmother did to clean. Think about the air you breathe and how you can make it healthier.
Communicate with a mental health professional once-a-month to help gain useful tools to deal with stressful situations, personal issues, and handling the public. Think about the path you want to take and don’t let anything get in your way to achieve your goals.
Angi Ingalls; PCOS in ConnecTion
Guest PCOS writer
Educator for over 18 years
Diagnosed in 1985 at 12, living with PCOS since 1981
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article and the Insulite Labs website is for the sole purpose of being informative. Information obtained is not and should not be used or relied upon as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician, nurse or other qualified health care provider before you undergo any treatment, take any medication, supplements or other nutritional support, or for answers to any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.