You know what stinks about PCOS? The weird hormonal things.

Hair on my chinny chin chin

Exhibit A: Hair on my chin. I refuse to shave it because the optics of that isn’t pleasant to me. Instead, when I have a moment after a shower, I go to town on my chin and that neck area just below the chin with a pair of tweezers.

I’m lucky, I guess. While the hairs are really thick, they are (for the most part) blonde so they don’t make a big statement.

It is almost like my eye brows decided they wanted a change of scenery. I look back at photos of when I had these nice, full eye brows and wonder why I ever decided to pluck them into these dainty little shapes back in my early 20s. Now my eyebrows are so thin I have to use eyebrow powder to be sure people can see them.

Exhibit B: Moods. Because PCOS affects basically all hormones in the body, there are a lot of behavioral issues — particularly depression and anxiety. (Can I get an amen?) It is hard to ask those around you to separate the mood swings from you as a person. And if there is one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, depression and anxiety aren’t things you can just get over. You can’t will yourself out of it. You can’t think happy thoughts and right the ship.

Because PCOS affects basically all hormones in the body, there are a lot of behavioral issues – particularly depression and anxiety.

I haven’t seen a doctor about the depression or anxiety, but I know it’s there. I don’t think mine is unmanageable or severe enough to need medical intervention, and I honestly just don’t want to be on medications of any kind. I do know that working from home and being a full-time mother exacerbate the problem. When you’re in mom mode literally all the time, there is tremendous loneliness and feelings of guilt.  I’ve mentioned before that PCOS weighs on you because of the feelings of hopelessness. The loneliness and hopelessness lead to feelings of being trapped in your situation, like you’re treading water but there’s no way out of the water so if you stop trying to keep your head above water you’ll just sink.

When you’re in mom mode literally all the time, there is tremendous loneliness and feelings of guilt.

I think I lean more toward the anxiety side of things. Anxiety can look a lot like depression. The irritability is definitely a red flag for me. I feel like the anxiety is something I can actively manage. I’ve identified my coping mechanisms and am actively working on making healthier choices for how I cope with stress. In the recent past, eating and buying stuff were my coping mechanisms. I don’t think coping mechanisms necessarily have to be healthy, I just don’t want them to sabotage my efforts.

I’ve started cleaning to release the anxiety within me. It helps put that nervous energy into physical activity, and in the end it helps prevent some future anxiety because visual chaos (read: clutter and mess) add to my daily anxiety.

One other coping mechanism I’ve found is friendship. I am actively reaching out to folks in my life for a sense of community and support. There are a handful of people I can sit and talk with on the phone for hours at a time. For an introvert like me, that is a big deal. One of the best ways to battle the feelings of loneliness and feelings of guilt is to find a tribe of people who have similar daily experiences and lean in to them for guidance and support.

One other coping mechanism I’ve found is friendship.

People don’t talk about these issues. They are things you’re supposed to handle privately. Put on your smile and walk out into the world, right? If I’m truly going to beat PCOS, I need to attack it on multiple fronts. The diet and exercise fronts may be easy compared to this front.