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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”