At First, It Pains You. Then It Changes You

It’s funny, but not in a comical way. It’s funny in a I-never-knew-this-was-a-serious-thing kinda way. It’s true—we only really take care of ourselves when we get really sick.

I am Megan Chan, a 24-year-old product manager. My story started after I graduated from college. I had just recently become part of the workforce after graduating. Around this time, my mood swings had gotten extremely bad. I easily snapped at people and I often preferred to be alone. The worst part was nothing motivated me. Even the things that used to bring me joy no longer made me happy. I simply did not want to do anything.

After a few weeks of experiencing this, I knew something was wrong so I asked my mom to take me to a psychiatrist. It was a long and arduous journey. I went through four psychiatrists until I found someone I was comfortable with. The diagnosis? I had clinical depression.

To make things worse, it was also in the same year that I found out that I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome—I had 26 cysts in my ovaries. This explained why I had been experiencing irregular periods (I only got my period thrice in the span of two years), bloating, and mood swings, among other things. I worked with my psychiatrist to help me with my depression and an OB-GYN prescribed birth control pills for my PCOS.

However, things did not get better. The following year, it got even worse. In February 2017, I became suicidal. I was 22 years old, unsure of what was happening but one thing I knew for sure — I didn’t want to die. I called my mom. She cried and begged me to take anti-depressants. It was also then that my mom decided to take action by bringing me to LifeScience.

When I started working with my Care Team, I finally understood the connection between my PCOS and depression. Because my gut was extremely compromised, it was unable to produce neurotransmitters that balance the hormones to prevent chronic inflammation. I had a team of professionals who helped me through my sickness and what I needed to get back to my old self. I went through a comprehensive Functional Medicine consult where my whole health history was mapped out. I also had an in-depth testing to find out what food I was intolerant to. I got a personalized program that looked at my physical activities and nutritional deficiencies to address my hormonal issues. I was instructed to eat more since I was apparently not eating enough (i.e. I was used to eating only 1 meal a day) — and to exercise less (i.e. I was exercising everyday and sometimes thrice in a day) in order to help my body recover.

I’m Stronger Now Because I’ve Gone Through This

After five months of doing treatment at the center, I got my first regular menstrual period in five years. I am still regular up until today. Currently, I am no longer suffering from PCOS and depression. And while I wouldn’t say that I would want to go through it again, I’m still grateful I did. Through this experience, I have learned a couple of things:

  1. Balance is an essential part of life. In a world that constantly tells us to push ourselves beyond our limits, I have learned that there is more value in keeping oneself healthy and happy. If there’s anything I learned from being sick, it’s that once you start listening to your body and taking good care of it, your body will take good care of you.
  2. We all need to be more aware and listen more. If I didn’t listen to my body, I would already be dead. Literally!!! (I was already suicidal, remember). I would not have gotten the help, the support, and the treatments I needed. Don’t wait until it’s too late to seek help.
  3. We need to learn to be responsible and accountable for our health. Doctors are not responsible for our bodies; we are. Our doctors can help us, but if we do not put in the effort to take care of ourselves, then there is only so much our doctors can do for a physical body that isn’t even theirs. Are you willing to give up the (rather comfortable and familiar) things that are making you sick?

I read this quote recently that said, “Trauma creates change you don’t choose. Healing is about creating change you do choose.” I didn’t choose to get sick, but I chose what to do or where to go from there. I chose not to play victim to my sickness. I chose to take charge of our health — to want to get better, and to always be more than the conditions I am diagnosed with.

“Ultimately, when we find life difficult, the most important thing to do to change it is to change how we are living it.”


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