How to Overcome the Depression & Anxiety Associated with PCOS
I found out I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) in my early 20s, after years of insomnia, anxiety, erratic mood swings, and depression. As a result of imbalanced hormones and insulin spikes, I suffered from fatigue, acne, and unbearable bouts of sadness.
PCOS affects a woman's mind, body, and spirit - truly. There is a connection between our hormones and our digestive system, and even further, a connection between our stomach and our brain/mood.
There are times when I feel so off-center (right before the start of my menstrual cycle), that it makes me feel as though I'm insane; my hormones get wacky, and it feels like a weight descends on me. It's difficult to explain to someone who has never experienced it, but trust me, it's not pleasant.
So how do I cope?
Besides the lifestyle changes I've made (I'm currently following the autoimmune protocol diet about 75% of the time), there are a few tips I have:
1.Remember that the melancholy will pass. When depression hits, it's easy to feel like you will never get out of it. I've been feeling extra anxious and sad the past two days; normally, I'm not anxious or sad. Feelings come and feelings go; they are transient. Let them pass through you, and know that they are just visiting.
2.Ask yourself if you can learn anything from what's coming up. What thoughts come to you in your depressed state? That you don't really like your job? That you could visit your mom more? That your relationship could become a bigger priority in your life? Issues we repress or don't want to look at tend to come to the surface right around the time our menstrual cycle begins.
3.Give yourself permission to be sad. It doesn't help to try to resist negative emotions. What we resist persists. Let yourself feel sad. Let yourself cry. Treat yourself as you would a small child; if a little girl was upset and crying, would you berate her, or would you hug her and tell her it was okay, just let it out? Treat yourself with a deep sense of love and care. Be your own parent.
We can go through periods of deep sadness or erratic mood swings and still be conscious, loving people. We can feel deeply as women and not beat ourselves up for not being picture perfect visions of sunshine every minute of every day. Oftentimes, life can be a great big jumble of beautiful, romantic, buzzing joy and dark, heavy drudge. All of it is good; we can welcome it all.