Join Beth as she talks about her journey with fibromyalgia, PCOS, anxiety and depression. This is her story in her own words, please be respectful of Beth and her journey.
Learn about polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/basics/definition/con-20028841
Explore information about depression and anxiety https://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/depression
I’m Beth, 23 from Surrey UK. I have fibromyalgia, PCOS, anxiety and depression.
I’ve had mental health problems since the age of 12 and found out about my PCOS at 15, but life changed dramatically when I was diagnosed in July 2016 with fibromyalgia. After some return to infections and two operations (that to this day have left me with a small hole in my back) I just never felt ‘myself’ again.
Before my fibromyalgia diagnosis life was good. I still struggled with my other health issues but I lived a relatively ‘normal’ and ‘boring’ life. I worked in retail, looked after my brother (he’s 3 now but I was his full time babysitter for 6 months) did uni work. I saw friends and enjoyed life.
My diagnosis changed a lot of things. I had to leave my job in retail as I couldn’t stand up for hours on end anymore. I had to rely on benefits from the government which for nothing; I fell into debt and hard times. I stop seeing people as much and had to relearn my boyfriend (who has rare chronic diseases/illnesses) to provide enough for him and me.
I’m now full-time working in nursery because I needed the money. I get up at 6:15 if I start at 7:30 AM because it takes about 35 minutes for my legs to feel strong enough to walk. Then I get ready, take all my tablets and go. I struggle through work; taking yet more tablets at lunch and caring on without telling anyone I hurt (people have moaned about me being unsuitable if I have a ‘bad back’). I get home between 5:45 PM and 6:20 PM I get in pyjamas and have a nap until 7:15 PM. I get up at 7:30 PM and make dinner and eat, make lunch for tomorrow, more tablets and then back to bed by 10 PM to restart the day. However due to sleep issues I won’t sleep till 12 AM most nights.
The biggest challenge so far is discrimination, judgement and lack of understanding. Some people don’t mean to be rude but are. Some people are just horrible and sometimes you can’t tell. I think it’s mainly lack of knowledge but If I’m honest, I think it’s also lack of caring.
I cannot keep up anymore; mentally, socially or physically. I’m either into much pain are completely exhausted.
I’d say a few things to people with this diagnosis. Don’t just put every pain down to Fibromyalgia it’s hard to differentiate but some pain if sudden or new can be something else entirely. Also don’t listen to people who judge your discriminate just know you’re strong and brave and they wouldn’t last a day in your shoes let alone their entire life! And lastly…love yourself.
I’ve learned I am stronger and more determined than I ever thought. I realize just how much I loved certain people who stood by me be at my boyfriend, best friend or family. I’m capable of so much more than people expected. I can still be happy.
Something to add. My next steps. I have yet to reach parenthood with chronic illness and not through lack of trying (PCOS can cause infertility) and it is one aspect of chronic life I am both excited and scared for. A whole new adventure. I want to work from home to give my body the much needed physical care and I want to make more friends!
Thank you Beth for sharing your journey with us. I wish you all the best and am I hopeful for you going forward with the next step of your life.