Learning How To Love My Body With Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Learning How To Love My Body With Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

The mental trauma of having an incurable disorder

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I had been at the gynecologist for about two hours that day going through ultrasounds and just waiting to see my doctor. My body had changed in the last few months, going from a weight I had been for a good part of the last few years to a heaviest I had ever weighed in my life. My mom and I cycled through several reasons why I may have gained so much weight in a short span of time before she suggested it might have been polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

When I heard it for the first time, I doubted it immediately. It sounded too weird for me to have, but I still spent the better half of a day looking up symptoms, causes, and treatments for PCOS.

The bottom line of the disorder is I have a hormonal disorder caused by cysts around my ovaries. This order causes an imbalance in my hormones and common symptoms of it are excessive hair growth, acne, weight gain, menstrual imbalances and possibly infertility. This disorder is incurable but treatable and the cause is linked to genetics overall.

I mentioned to my gynecologist that I wanted to check if I had PCOS and she agreed to run through some tests since I was describing symptoms that aligned with PCOS. A month later, I was in the waiting room for my doctor to confirm or deny my worries.

The words I was expecting that day were, "You're perfectly normal, you just need to lose some weight with more exercise." Instead, the words that echoed through my mind for the rest of the day was, "your ultrasound show PCOS symptoms." She proceeded to show me the ultrasound, pointing to all the cysts around my ovaries. To give you an idea, imagine an oval lined with various size circles around it.

I had never felt so disgusted with an image. My first thought was, this is a cool prank, but I'm ready to see my ultrasound. There was no way I had those inside of me, yet here they were being shown to me. I thanked my doctor for helping me, packed up my stuff and got in my car.

I cried for about 10 minutes before I started driving again. There was this inescapable feeling of frustration and disgust growing in my chest because of what I saw. The worst part was knowing that it wasn't my fault, but the fault of genetics. I was just dealt a bad hand.

What scared me the most was the possibility of not being able to have kids. Being someone who acts as a mother to a lot of my friends and has always been fond of children my whole life, the idea of not being able to have ones of my own terrified me. It made me feel less of a woman, but I know that I am not only defined by my capability of making a new life.

I'm learning to love my body one step at a time. PCOS occurs in about 5-10% of women in the United States alone. This means about 5 million women are suffering the same disorder I am, so I'm not alone in this. They may share the same feelings that I initially did, but I'm learning to be ok with it.

My body is my normal, and I will learn to love it even with my issues.

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I Ghosted My Old Self For 5 Months In An Effort To Reevaluate My Life

My life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

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BREAKING (not fake) NEWS: It's true, you have to hit your lowest before hitting your highest.

I want to share my lowest with you, and I'm almost ashamed to say it had nothing to do with the loss of both of my parents. I like to think I handled that like a warrior.

Turns out I didn't, and the hurt I've been burying from that hit me all at once, the same moment my life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

My life flipped upside down overnight back in August. I had my heart broken shattered, lost two very important friendships that I thought were with me until the end, lost my 9-5 job, my health took a hit stronger than a boulder, and I was absolutely lost. For the first time, ever, I let go of the reigns on my own life. I had no idea how to handle myself, how to make anyone around me happy, how to get out of bed or how to even begin the process of trying to process what the f*ck just happened. I was terrified.

Coming from the girl who never encountered a dilemma she couldn't fix instantaneously, on her own, with no emotional burden. I was checked out from making my life better. So I didn't try. I didn't even think about thinking about trying.

The only relatively understandable way I could think to deal with anything was to not deal with anything. And that's exactly what I did. And it was f*cking amazing.

I went into hiding for a week, then went on a week getaway with my family, regained that feeling of being loved unconditionally, and realized that's all I need. They are all I need. Friends? Nah. Family. Only. Always.

On that vacation, I got a call from the school district that they wanted me in for an interview the day I come home. It was for a position that entailed every single class, combined, that I took in my college career. It was a career that I had just gotten my degree for three months before.

I came home and saw my doctor and got a health plan in order. I was immediately thrown into the month-long hiring process for work. I made it a point to make sunset every single night, alone, to make sure I was mentally caught up and in-check at the same exact speed that my life was turning. I was not about to lose my control again. Not ever.

Since August, I have spent more time with family than ever. I've read over 10 new books, I've discovered so much new music, I went on some of my best, the worst and funniest first dates, I made true, loyal friends that cause me zero stress while completely drowning me in overwhelming amounts of love and support, I got back into yoga, and I started that job and damn near fell more in love with it than I ever was for the guy I lost over the summer.

But most importantly, I changed my mindset. I promised myself to not say a single sentence that has a negative tone to it. I promised myself to think three times before engaging in any type of personal conversation. I promised myself to wake up in a good mood every damn day because I'm alive and that is the only factor I should need to be happy.

Take it from a girl who knew her words were weapons and used them frequently before deciding to turn every aspect of her life into positivity — even in the midst of losing one of my closest family members. I have been told multiple times, by people so dear to me that I'm "glowing." You know what I said back? F*ck yes I am, and I deserve to.

I am so happy with myself and it has nothing to do with the things around me. It's so much deeper than that, and I'm beaming with pride. Of myself. For myself.

I want to leave you with these thoughts that those people who have hurt me, left me, and loved me through these last couple of months have taught me

Growth is sometimes a lonely process.
Some things go too deep to ever be forgotten.
You need to give yourself the permission to be happy right now.
You outgrow people you thought you couldn't live without, and you're not the one to blame for that. You're growing.
Sometimes it takes your break down to reach your breakthrough.

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

My god, it's so f*cking good.

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6 Years Ago I Would've Laughed If Someone Told Me I'd Get Up On A Stage, And 13 Other Things I Never Thought I'd Do

It's amazing how much has changed in just a few years.

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1. Be in a relationship

I spent many years thinking I wasn't the kind of girl guys want to date. Typical, I know, but it was a very strong feeling that took a lot of time and growing self-confidence to overcome. I also could never envision a future for myself; all I would ever see when I tried is a black hole.

Now, I've been dating an amazing guy for nearly three and a half years. Being with him makes me very happy and has helped my self-confidence grow.

2. Dye my hair

I recently partially dyed my hair purple, which was something I had wanted to do for years. It's been an amazing confidence booster and tenth grade me NEVER would have imagined I'd do something like this. Then again, there's probably people now who never thought I'd do something like dye my hair.

3. Go to a legitimate college

I attended a very religious, all-girls private day school for most of my life. The school's focus was more on religious topics than secular ones, so I honestly didn't know if I'd go to a secular, "real" college. Most girls attended Jewish colleges or the local Jewish girls' college over secular colleges. The school also focused more on prepping their senior students to attend seminary in Israel than going to college right from high school. But I knew I wanted to attend a secular college, despite having no ideas for a major.

That was six years ago, sophomore year of high school. I switched high schools the following year, started taking more intense classes, and got on a better path. I also now had access to a college adviser and educational staff that could help me truly learn what I excelled at, what I could go on to major in. I'm currently in my senior year of college, and there are still days where I sit back and think, "I can't believe I'm here."

4. Find something to major in...

I had no real idea what I wanted to do when I began college. Unlike my classmates, who had had the opportunities and much more time than me to decide what they (at least initially) wanted to major in, I had zero ideas. I spent freshman year undecided, and decided about halfway through second semester on a major: Electronic Media and Film, audio focus. I had a strong relationship with music and decided I wanted to learn how to make something so important to me.

5. ...and switch majors.

This can be the hardest thing to do. You spend so much time thinking you know exactly what you want to do. You get so set on this one plan, this one major, only for it to be turned upside down when reality hits--you just can't do it. Switching majors was hard for me, but I don't regret my decision. My new major is a much better fit for my existing skills, and I am thankful now for the learning experience switching majors gave me.

6. Find things I love to do

For many years, all I did was read or draw. But over the last few years, I've learned there's so much more I enjoy doing. I learned that I absolutely love being onstage. I discovered I have a knack for marketing, and that I'm a damn good writer.

7. Become a crazy dog person

My family adopted our fur baby, Delilah, in April 2015 and I've been a crazy dog person ever since. I'd hazard about 90% of the pics on my phone are of her because she's so freaking adorable.

8. Write publicly about my struggles and life experiences

I've typically been a very private person. So to look back at my year plus some's worth of articles for Odyssey and see just how open, honest and emotional I've been on a public platform is crazy. But it also creates a sense of pride, like look how far you've come, how far you've grown. I am proud of every word I wrote, and I'm not ashamed or regretful of a single word. It also helps that writing those articles was insanely therapeutic and helpful for my mental health.

9. Do theater

The first time I saw a high school theater show, I immediately knew I wanted to be on that stage. Say what you want about high school theater, and maybe the show wasn't as great as I remember. But I didn't know any better since this was the first time I'd ever seen a theater show. I was hooked instantly.

But we're talking about a girl who used to have massive stage fright. Who hated singing or performing in front of others out of fear of being judged. And yet, so ironically, dreamed of doing theater and being onstage. The former isn't true anymore, and each production I've done has helped so much.

10. Have real friends

I've had more than my fair share of bad friends who have come and gone through my life. It's so easy to be negative about those experiences, but I will say that at the end of the day, I learned what I need in a real friend--and what are red flags for a bad friend.

I met my current friends through either theater or my boyfriend, and they are amazing. They make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts, and every time together is a good time. The best part is even though we don't see each other too often or keep up constant discussion in our group chat, we all still know that we're a solid friend group. We don't need to be in contact almost all the time just to prove we're friends. (We're also really bad at taking pics together, so this shot isn't even everyone *facepalm.*)

11. Work an internship...or three.

I've had two internships to date, and I've just begun my third (and PAID) internship. It's been so enlightening to work in environments related to my major and actually see what I could do after college.

12. Live in my own apartment

I had an off-campus apartment with a former friend in my sophomore year of college. It was a major learning experience, and one I never would have dreamed of having just a few years prior.

13. Discover my sexuality

I grew up with no knowledge of or ever hearing the term LGBTQ or any sub-strain of that until around eleventh grade. (Like I said, all-girls religious school. We didn't even have a sex ed class.) Once I learned about it, particularly bisexuality, I spent quite a few years pondering the term. It wasn't until last year that I realized and began acknowledging that I'm bisexual. (And yes, I'm a bi girl dating a guy. No, it's not me "picking a side" or "technically a straight relationship." Move on.)

14. See a show on Broadway

I got to see my first Broadway show in February 2018. It was Wicked, and it was one of the most magical and captivating experiences of my life. I'll be seeing Kinky Boots next month, and I just know it will be just as amazing.

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