Though I’m not normally a personal kind of person, today that’s going to be different.
While I think it’s good to talk about what’s important, sometimes people think it’s too intimate, and following big stars such as Tara (@Catstello) bring things like period, smear test and sexual health issues to the fore. And for me, that’s new – me a 30 yo woman.
See for me, my period didn’t come naturally. It never arrived by itself. I remember being 13 and a couple of school friends discussing passing that milestone. And clinging desperately to my mum’s statement of “maybe you’re just a late bloomer”. And yet nothing.
Around 2003 my parents, my brother and some other family members went on holiday to Lanzarote. When I went shopping for holiday clothes I remember going to a Racing Green outlet and finding some linen, calf length, black cut offs in a size 10. Most of the rest of my holiday clothes I stole from my mum (she was a 10-12) as she hoards things (still does) from her days as a slinky minx in the late 70s/early 80s. There were loads of clothes for me to choose from. And choose I did.
After this epic summer holiday, where I swam more or less every day (I loved swimming) I came back and in a few weeks I would be getting ready to go back to school for my last year before college. Still, there was no sign of a period.
About a week before I went back to school I went to my local shopping centre where there was a small chain store (Select) and searched for black trousers. I came out an hour later distraught. Nothing fit me. Nothing. In that summer, six weeks – I had gone from a size 10-12 to an 18. And no shop I knew of went to my size.
I went to my GP to discuss this weight gain along with my absent periods and acne. There was no luck. With potential weight loss, my sking would return to ‘normal’ and my periods would appear. I tried everything. And still no period months later.
I tried to go to college. I made it through 3 years of college. But my anxieties and depression about my appearances were only heightened. When you’re 17 you want to feel the world is yours for the taking, that you can do anything. But strangely my absent periods were robbing me of my ability to feel like other people, I thought.
Around the age of 19 I was gaining weight rapidly, despite nigh on starving myself with no help from medical professionals. One day, after having had too much of it all – I made an appointment to see someone. Anyone. When I walked into that room to see Dr Wild I didn’t realise how she would just listen. To it all. From the skin, to my weight gain, my absent periods, dieting to no avail, hirtuism, pain and depression. She asked if I’d ever heard of PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome). I had read about it in Victoria Beckham’s autobiography (I know, but Posh was my fav Spice Girl) – but I couldn’t have it. I was fat. She… wasn’t? Dr Wild insisted taking bloods and sending me for an ultra sound, if I was okay with that. And I was. Even if it meant no, nothing. I’d know, something.
Fast forward 3-4 months later and I’d had my scan and my bloods done and I had an appointment to go back and see my new best friend, Dr Wild. It turned out I did have PCOS and all my symptoms were part of this condition. Even… my no-show periods. I was diagnosed Dianette – with a keen note of “it can cause deep vein thrombosis in those of you that are… bigger” from the pharmacist. But, I didn’t care. For the first time in my adult life I was excited to see my period. For me it meant I was functioning properly. I was working properly.
However. It wasn’t the miracle i thought it would be. I didn’t become slimmer with each visit. And my skin didn’t clear and sparkle overnight. It was a lifestyle change I had to make. I had to try and move more, both because I was desperate to lose weight and become thin and popular, and because more of my symptoms would ease. Again. None of this worked. I tried metformin for the diabetes I was told I would get, I tried prescribed exercise classes and I even tried a pill which coated your stomach so you didn’t ingest the oil in your choices (the worse choices you made, the oilier the outcome – kind of a shame diet pill). And none of it worked. In the end. I gave up on the pills and positions and diet plans. None of it worked. None. Nothing. Less red meat meant I was hungry. Goats milk or lactose free instead of generic cows milk because it’s too expensive (and cows milk is in EVERYTHING). It all became too much.
You see reader. If you’ve made it this far (and well done you! Take a kit kat on your way out) you’ll know I’m fat. F. A. T. And right now? I don’t care if you care. I certainly don’t. My PCOS means not only is it easy for me to gain weight? It’s harder to lose. And me trying to fit into a society where you only give a toss if I’m thin? Do me a favour. I much prefer the society I have now found as a 30yo. There are so many big, beautiful women/men/people around of all colours, creeds and abilities I’d rather spend my time with/on someone who values me for me. Than wait to be accepted by a society who even for an instance might’ve thought I was less than them.