Three years ago, just climbing out of bed every morning was a monumental effort. I never knew when my period would strike, never knew when the maelstrom of hormones would appear as bursting ovarian cysts (hello, internal bleeding) or a stunning migraine. I was living with anxiety, depression, and a hormonal disorder called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 15 years old. I was a late bloomer—my first period hit when I was six weeks shy of my sweet 16—and my lack of menstruation was the first symptom that tipped off my mother to take me to the doctor. I was also experiencing uncontrollable weight gain even though I ate clean and had hormonal imbalances that led to depression and social anxiety. To put it simply, I felt "weird," like I wasn’t like other girls. This makes sense since PCOS causes unusually high levels of testosterone in women. I was having some of the hormonal experiences of a 16-year-old boy (with the upper-lip hairs to match).
At the time, I was being held hostage by my body. Until my capsule wardrobe empowered me.