Well can you not just shave?

Nichola is one of our well loved Aerial students at the Washington studio; this is her story.

I am Nichola. I am not normal. But what is normal? I live with PCOS. I have mental health problems. Bullied for my body’s hormone imbalance and there’s nothing anyone can do.

I have polycystic ovary syndrome and hirsutism. This affects 1 in every 10 women around the world. It causes infertility, obesity, excessive facial hair, mental health problems. At this moment in time there is no official medical help that works for me. I have a life of shaving every single day; chronic pain and those horrible little voices in my head every time I look in the mirror.

Being bullied throughout school for the way I looked and at that time we didn’t really know why I was different. I didn’t understand why I could grow more hair on my face than the boys in my year. Imagine how that felt. I finally saw a doctor after my family noticed the effects it was having on my mental health. 

After lots of tests and retests my diagnosis was polycystic ovaries and hirsutism. Over many years, I have tried lots of different medication, lots of different creams and followed guidance on what to do. I have had counselling, but even after seeing a specialists, no one can really help me. I have even tried lots of diets to lose weight which is recommended to help the condition but this didn’t help either. Most things have failed which made the original bullying even more embedded into my brain. I still struggle to look in mirrors, go shopping or even go out with friends because of the little voices in my head from my school days.

My daily routine is to shave every day, but then my face gets really sore. When I do decide to go out, I get dressed up, put my make up on and I start to feel good. But as soon as I pass a mirror, I notice the dark hairs on my face, chest, or the hormonal belly and instantly start crying. I still have good days and bad days.  

I am extremely lucky to have support from my boyfriend, family, friends and work colleagues who are very understanding. They have been my biggest help and support with my mental health. I have spent long periods of time talking, listening and researching my condition to try to obtain a better understanding.  Even though my circle of family, friends and work colleagues can’t take away my body’s flaws or the memories of the years of bulling that are stuck in my head, they continue to help and support me the best they can, especially when my mood is low.

I am Nichola. I live with PCOS. I have mental health problems. But that won’t stop me being who I want to be!

This is ME!!!

Written by Tempest Aerial student Nichola Hunter-Handysides and shared with permission. Originally posted by unison northern women’s network – a self organised group within Unison that gives women a voice on all topics. https://join.unison.org.uk/ https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week