My PCOS Diagnosis and My Mental Health

One of the things I do not talk about much is the year that I had in 2017 in terms of my health. 2017 was the year that I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. However, months before my bipolar diagnosis, I was also diagnosed with PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome.

PCOS was actually a tougher diagnosis for me than bipolar disorder. Why? Because PCOS affects just about every aspect of my life and health, including my moods. One of the toughest discoveries with PCOS was that I was likely infertile.

I already had trouble with fertility before, but this diagnosis was pretty much the nail in the coffin of me becoming a mother. With my medical history and the fact that I would need expensive treatments to give myself a chance at fertility, I pretty much had to resign myself to never being a mom.

What I did not realize was how much this was going to affect my moods. I got deeply depressed with my PCOS diagnosis. While I had always suspected that I might not be able to have children, having that fact confirmed was another story entirely.

Knowing that I won’t be having children (because I cannot afford fertility treatments and am not risking my life savings on a slim chance of success), made me not only sad, but it also made me question what my life means or should be. I began to have suicidal thoughts and to wonder if I should even exist anymore.

Luckily, I was in therapy and was able to deal with my depressive episode. However, what I have found now that I have been also diagnosed with bipolar is just how much these conditions affect one another. Some of the symptoms of PCOS include depression, fatigue and tiredness, anger and agitation, brain fog, anxiety, and mood swings. Basically, PCOS can cause a bunch of issues that I already have with bipolar disorder.

This makes managing my moods especially difficult. It is never certain whether my symptoms come from my bipolar disorder or my PCOS. And, of course, PCOS is only so manageable. The physical symptoms can be partially dealt with through medications, but not completely. And those treatments only do so much for the mood issues that come along with PCOS.

As such, even with bipolar meds, I can feel depressed, foggy, or any number of other symptoms. And I think that these issues from PCOS can trigger my bipolar depressive episodes for sure, maybe even my hypomanic episodes. After all, when my hormones are off-balance, it stands to reason that my brain chemistry could also be affected.

Anyway, I want to explore the relationship between my PCOS and my bipolar disorder further in coming posts, but for now this is a basic explanation of some of what goes on with me and my mental health. Anyone else dealing with these two issues together? Any thoughts? Share your thoughts and comments below. Thanks so much for reading!

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