Living with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can mean having limited energy, time, and bandwidth. You may find yourself needing to say "no" more often than you did before you had to deal with PCOS. Do you have a tough time being direct with others about how you feel? It's not unusual to feel awkward or self-centered when turning down a request or an invitation. You may feel at the mercy of the other person's need.
Using "I" statements can help put you back in the driver's seat of the situation. An "I" statement directly communicates your feelings and sets a clear boundary, allowing you to focus on treating your PCOS and managing PCOS-related symptoms like depression or weight gain.
I don't feel like going.
I'd rather do something else instead.
I can't do it this week.
Whenever I attend that event, it takes me days to recover.
At first, you may feel vulnerable about using direct "I" statements when saying no. Your true feelings are exposed, and you may be judged for using PCOS as an excuse. "I" statements can also be freeing! You don't need to pretend or tell a white lie. It's ok to communicate directly about what you need.
Using an "I" statement is a way of taking responsibility for your feelings. You are not blaming or accusing the other person. You are being honest about your needs and making sure they are recognized.
Members of myPCOSteam shared some of their experiences with communicating directly:
"I got invited to a friend's daughter's second birthday in a few weeks and replied with a no. When I go to those parties it's always the same questions: "Do you have children? Why don't you have children?" I can't just say no because then another wave of questions come - that's none of their business!"
"The hardest part of struggling with PCOS is having to fake being ok when you're in pain, when you're struggling with weight loss, not to mention the hormonal chaos and mood swings."
"Even though I ended up fighting with my boyfriend last night, I feel good today. I said what I needed to say to him to get my anxiety to go away. Even though it upset him, I did get some things off my chest that I had been holding back for a long time. "
Have you used "I" statements to set boundaries? How did it feel?
Share your stories about direct communication in the comments below or on myPCOSteam.