The trauma of PCOS and what I can offer to help

Healing from the trauma of having PCOS requires time and extended process of readjustment but how we are going about putting our lives back together makes a huge difference in how fully we recover.

Let me help you understand the psychological wounds trauma and loss inflict on women with PCOS concerning the severe impact this condition has on fertility.

There are essentially three wounds:

1. trauma and loss threaten our very sense of identity

2. they also challenge our beliefs about the world and our place in it: ‘I always wanted to be a mother but now, look at me?’

3. they evoke a visceral reaction to withdraw from people and activities

The shellshock caused by receiving the diagnosis is utterly paralyzing. You might feel that you cannot think about anything else but the condition and its effects on you; about how it is going to be now, what will happen to you. You question your

self-worth, you feel your self-esteem plummet, and you feel ashamed too.

This searing emotional pain subsides with time and when the emotions settle somewhat, we can start our healing journey.

Emotions make us human, and we need them. If we can learn to let go of how they should be and just experience them and observe them as they are, they lose their immense power. Emotions are information, and we get to decide how to use this information. They are a vital part of our life, but they do not rule it.

The trauma of the diagnosis, no doubt, forces a new reality on our lives, our sense of self and the way we see the world. If you always described yourself as a 'mother hen' or someone who always wanted to be a mother and now your fertility is being threatened by PCOS, I encourage you to take your time to re-define and re-discover yourself in a new and meaningful way to show your beautiful self under the trauma and sorrow. It is natural to ask ‘why’ or ‘why me’ and to try to make sense of your situation but to ruminate and dwell on these questions for too long will delay your psychological adjustment.

It is a visceral reaction to withdraw from your family and social circle as you might not want to discuss your diagnosis or want to hear pregnancy announcements and go to baby showers or simply face the question of ‘when are you planning to have a baby?’ Certainly not when the diagnosis is still fresh. Withdrawing can help in the beginning but the longer we hide, the later our adjustment begins.

So here is what I, as an acupuncturist and psychologist can offer to you to soothe the trauma and sense of loss.

First and foremost, take your time to digest the diagnosis and only talk about your feelings if you feel like. If you are ready to talk, find someone who understands the condition itself and understands grief, trauma and emotions and can offer constructive help.

Acupuncture can offer a gentle help to soothe the trauma and the good news is that you do not have to talk if you are not ready to do so. I use a specific trauma protocol which focuses on grounding you first, and then on calming and strengthening your mind, soul, and your broken heart. In my clinic, you find a safe and non-judgemental place to express your emotions freely if you feel ready to do so. We start the healing process by placing some needles in the carefully chosen points, and if you are ready to talk, we can talk about your qualities and abilities you value in yourself; then you can think about which of those you feel the most disconnected from and why and how you can re-connect to them. Which ones feel doable and emotionally manageable? Can we set a small goal together that you feel ready to work towards with my support?

The message here is to be gentle and compassionate with yourself and to be courageous. The emotions you are feeling are difficult. Acceptance, however difficult it may be, is key. Without acceptance, there is no moving forward. But remember, accepting is not surrendering! I am not suggesting you put on a facade of 'all is going great', there is no use in denying what you are experiencing. What I am suggesting though, is to accept where you are. Empower yourself with knowledge about PCOS, be compassionate with yourself and broaden your perspective. Take ownership of yourself and show the world that beautiful, worthy, and strong woman you are.

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