Monday, September 23, 2013

Speaking Up About Health Problems

Courtesy: NY Times
Over the course of this year, I've tried to be completely honest about my health issues.  Whether it's my dealings with depression and therapy, my weight loss, my struggle with insulin resistance, or even my personal discoveries about PCOS-- I've tried to be as open as possible about what I'm dealing with.

During that same period of time, some of you may have been thinking, "TMI, Kerstin."  or "Why does she keep talking about this private stuff."  I assure you, it's not because I like to air my dirty laundry for the world to see.  Nor is it because I want attention.  In fact, it's not even for most of you, who probably think I'm over sharing.  It's for the select few who have written me personal e-mails saying, "Thank You."

Since I started writing about my health, I've had some amazing conversations with several women about different struggles.  From depression to PCOS, I've heard a lot of positive feed back and gained a lot of support.  It's incredible how many people have opened up to me, since I started opening up about myself.

A big discovery I've made, Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome isn't as rare as I once thought.  When my doctor first diagnosed me, I thought I was alone.  But in the past year, I've discovered it's more prevalent, and affects everyone differently.  I've gained some amazing information about having children that will come in handy if Jason and I choose to go the "kids route."  And more than that, I don't feel so alone.

Not long after people started coming to me to commiserate about their health issues, and praise me for speaking out-- I saw a CNN Special on celebrities who talk about their diseases.  I couldn't find the actual news clip, but the gist of the segment was this:

When celebrities speak out about their health issues; be it cancer, depression, heart disorders, etc.-- the general public is more likely to get tested, and talk to their doctor when they find a weird growth, or aren't feeling up to par.  And because of that, doctors are catching more symptoms in people who might not otherwise have gone in for a check up....

Now, I don't consider myself a celebrity by any means!  But I think it's important to note that starting these conversations through my blog has been helpful for some people.  And I want today's post to encourage you to speak up about your issues.  Walk for organizations that support medical research, talk about your family history with Cancer or Diabetes... you never know when putting yourself out there will cause someone to realize they may need to get checked out.  Health shouldn't be a dirty secret we hide away because we're embarrassed.

Do you speak up about your health afflictions?  Has anyone else helped you realize you need to get checked out?  What do you think about talking about health and wellness?  Please leave your feedback below in the comments section, I'd love to hear from you!

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