I remember when I was first diagnosed with PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I couldn’t believe it. Prior to that, I’d never actually heard of it before.
What had happened was, I kept randomly bleeding (sorry if it’s TMI but that’s life chale) even when I wasn’t on my period. It alarmed me. I thought there was something wrong. But as someone who’s so used to being in her comfort zone and not ever really having any complications, it was so new to me. I decided to pretend it hadn’t happened. But it kept happening.
Fake nonchalance metamorphosed into real fear. I had to tell my mum, and then subsequently started going to see a doctor. That was such a weird, scary, confusing, time in my life. I felt like my body was failing. I three Pap smears in a span of at least four months. In and out of the gynae’s office, being poked and prodded. Did an ultrasound and stuff. Trying to find out what exactly was wrong.
Then I went to a specialist and after some tests, she diagnosed me. Said I needed to get on birth control. I mean huh ??? All of these things are usually so abstract to me. Stuff you hear about. I never for a second thought or imagined that it would ever be my reality.
I guess my mum was in denial. Said it probably wasn’t true, that I shouldn’t get on the pills. But in fact, I think I was in denial too. It started out as shock, then it became me feeling like there was something wrong with my body, being devastated by the possibility of maybe not having children, feeling so damaged and let down. Eventually, it became denial. Which is the current state I’m in. I don’t know if I actually have PCOS or was misdiagnosed. I don’t know if my ovaries are actually playing the fool or not. I’m still not entirely sure what the random bleeding was about.
But I digress. This post isn’t about the chronicles of my reproductive system. It’s about awareness. Like I said, the diagnosis opened me up to a world I never even imagined existed. I found out that almost 8/10 women actually HAVE PCOS, and that the symptoms manifest in different ways; weight gain, depression, hirsutism, etc.
It blew my mind. It made me so much more sensitive to what others might be going through or have to deal with through no fault of theirs. I’d been myopically judgmental till the ball was thrown into my court. Ever since then, I try to enlighten myself about the different possibilities of why something is the way it is or someone is the way they are. I try to be more open-minded, more accommodating, less judgmental.
It’s sad that it took my diagnosis for me to be more compassionate about others in that regard, but at least I know better now. I can’t know everything at once, but I’m willing to learn.
If you read this, it is my hope that you adopt the same stance and avert your mind to the million and one possibilities why people may look the way they look, act the way they act, etc. Be more kind. Extend grace. You truly never know what’s going on with someone. Don’t comment insensitively on someone’s weight or appearance. Consider that they might actually have a legitimate health concern, and that it might already be scary enough as it is without you judging.
Let’s all be kind, enlighten ourselves about health complications, and love on others whether or not they fit the conventional standards society has imposed. It could very well be you, but why wait till then to empathise?