The Cysterhood Support Group will launch a monthly ‘safe space’ where women living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can meet and support each other in their struggles relating to the condition.
September is recognised as PCOS awareness month. PCOS is a health condition affecting how a woman’s ovaries function and can result in a wide range of symptoms, including irregular periods, high levels of androgen (“male” hormones), enlarged ovaries, and fertility issues.
MTV News Update spoke with women living with PCOS who highlighted their mental health struggles owing to the condition.
Avonel Williams said, “My biggest challenges were not being able to do as much as I want to because of the symptoms I have. Everybody’s symptoms are different.”
As for how this impacted her mental health, she says, “That was a real challenge as well. Anxiety, depression, sometimes being in a room with your family, and then, all of a sudden, you get this anger. You don’t know where it’s coming from. Or sometimes somebody might just say something, and it just trigger you just like that. Sometimes you can’t sleep or going to bed and then waking up tired in the morning like you didn’t have any night’s rest at all.”
Fareesa Mohamed said, “Being a young professional, battling two jobs, maintaining leadership roles in different fields – it can get very overwhelming. I feel tired easily on some days that I don’t even feel like getting out of bed and getting things done. Having a hormonal disorder, it affects someone mentally, emotionally, physically. And when it takes a toll on somebody, it really brings them down to an extent that it can reach to running on E.”
Abike Barker said, “I have only learned to manage PCOS earlier this year, and it’s been about five months. And I’ve had PCOS from my very first period. It has been rough, but I wouldn’t say I would blame my bad mood or anxiety on PCOS. It’s just something that is a part of me, and I manage it.”
Founder of Cysterhood Support Kimberly Manbodh is aware of the impact of PCOS on someone’s mental health, especially in areas of anxiety, depression, body image issues, and general stress in managing the disorder.
She notes that, besides having psychologists on board, a support group will be launched this month.
“We do have a plan within this month to launch our safe space. We will allocate at least two days per month where we’ll have persons who are interested, it’s totally voluntary, to come and meet. We’re gonna have conversations; we’re gonna talk a little bit more on PCOS, we’re gonna have a little fellowship activity, persons will get to meet other persons to know that they are not alone and they’re not living with this disorder alone and can be able to relate to other persons who are living with PCOS.”
Cysterhood Support is composed of volunteers who work to raise awareness of this disorder within Guyana, providing educational and support services to help people understand what the disorder is and how they can live with it.
The group also provides a platform for people diagnosed with PCOS to help them overcome the syndrome and decrease the impact of its associated health problems.