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Young, Sick and Invisible

My illness has shaped me,
But it does not define me.

Guest Post: 'Bethany's Story.'


My name is Bethany. I’m 24 year old from London who is newly engaged. I’m a student with the Open University and also a keen blogger (

I suffer from PCOS which is a common condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work, the cause is unknown but it is related to abnormal hormone levels in the body. I also suffer from Fibromyalgia which is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body; however it is not just limited to pain and has many different debilitating symptoms. It is not known why people develop this condition however there are many guesses such as infection. I also suffer with anxiety and depression which are mental illnesses that affect a very large number of the population. Anxiety is feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe and Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life which can also be mild or severe.

Before I was diagnosed I loved being active when I wanted to be. Having control over my life. Feeling like a normal 20 something year old. 4. Are you still able to work..? No. Unfortunately I had to leave my job because I could not keep up with my health. I miss working.

I first started experiencing mental health issues at 12 years old. I was asked to talk in front of the class one day and I just broke down. The PCOS was around 13 when I realised I had irregular painful periods (plus most women on my dads side have it) and Fibromyalgia was around 2016 a month after a huge back infection and surgery.

The PCOS diagnosis was very easy; I had all the classic symptoms plus the vast family history of it too. The mental health was harder; at 12 I was considered shy or badly behaved (this was more than 10 years ago when the importance of child mental health wasn’t as well researched) It took till I was 21 to actually get diagnosed with either mental illness. Fibromyalgia was hard at first; I was given the wrong information about my test results etc and also had issue with my gp surgery with doctors not believing my pain. After I moved doctors and taken seriously it was fairly easy and quick.

I did search the internet for my Fibromyalgia; mainly to research symptoms I had and if they correlated with fibromyalgia symptoms. PCOS was mainly for diet information.

My entire body is affected; because of my multiple conditions. If one goes they all go. Walking will seem impossible yet my legs will cramp often which requires me to move. My skin will become unbearably itchy but it will also be too sensitive to touch. Every part of my body goes into over drive and thats when my mental health plummets.

As Fibromyalgia can change every day its diffcult to explain. Some days its dull enough that it occasionally feels like I’ve got needles piercing my body. In flare ups I cannot explain it. Its achey pain, its stabbing pains, its burning pain. Almost like being hit by lighting constantly.

My flares last from between 3 days to 10 days on average. I don’t really cope with flares. Without the help of my fiancé some days would be a complete disaster. I taken painkillers but I’m not on any regular prescription pain killers as I’m trying to cope without them as I want to have healthy low medication pregnancies. My main triggers are stress, Heat, Exhaustion and Illness (stomach bugs and flu mainly)


I tried the pill for my PCOS but it made my mental health completely overbearing and I put on lots of weight, I lasted about 7 months. Im on metformin, citalopram, folic acid and I take a large dose of Vitamin D a day.

My biggest tip would be to plan for the bad days. I always have some medication and snacks in my bedside table, I have everything I could need next to me including things like books and magazines so i don’t get bored. That way I don’t need to move around too much on bad days.

My illness has impacted my life as tt has made me think more about how different peoples lives can be and the struggles disabled people have. Before I feel like my eyes were closed to it all but now that it actively affects me I am hugely invested in helping everyone. It has made me more compassionate and determined. I wouldn’t have started my blog without the introduction of a new fibromyalgia diagnosis. However, it has also ruined my old self. I have grieved for the old me; I miss earning money and while Im sure discrimination isn’t supposed to happen; I don’t feel I get less opportunities now.

It has stopped me from working, making friends, driving, living a normal life and being confident. I have lost contact and then lost friends because of all my conditions. Sometimes I cannot leave the flat for whatever reason and having to cancel on people never goes down well (especially if they don’t quite understand your illnesses anyway) It also means I haven’t made any new friends, that haven’t been online. I feel while it has financially put pressure on my relationship, as he lives with a physical condition too the understanding and also compassion was already there.

I stay positive by actively advocating for other people. I want to use my time on this earth and my experiences to help others and build other people up to fight for what they believe is right. My chronic illnesses lead me to blogging and social media and while I cant always be active all the time I try my best to use my platform for good. My compassion is now higher than ever but with the time spent in bed on my laptop/reading/my phone I have found passion and interest in a lot.

My hopes for the future are to have children and that is my biggest number 1 goal (4 if he would let me but I imagine it’ll be 3) I have wanted to be a mum since I can remember and seeing as one of the biggest PCOS issues is infertility it would be a hugely rewarding and massive miracle to achieve even 1 baby, I want to conquer my anxiety and learn to drive and get a car, I also want to get a job within mental health, advocacy, social media or writing. I want to lose weight and become happy in myself and I'd love the set up a charity (I have a lot of ideas) I would also love to own a home; currently we rent but this is unlikely because my fiancé cannot get life insurance.

- Medicines described in this blog are prescribed to this individual by their Doctor. Always consult your Doctor about what is best for your needs before taking any medication -

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