The Hemp Connection + women

PCOS and the Grief Process: Bargaining for Better Health

This week we’ll talk about bargaining, from the perspective of how bargaining plays out in relationship to our PCOS, and the sadness and grief that are often parts of PCOS. Bargaining is part of the DABDA (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) model that is typically applied to chronic/terminal illness. In the dying process, bargaining looks quite similar to what it looks like in PCOS, although it tends towards making deals with god, or trying to manipulate doctors. In PCOS, it looks more like this:

• Making a deal with god to be more attentive to him/her, if only the PCOS will go away
• Trying to negotiate with doctors – “Okay, so I’ll take the metformin like you said, but I’m still going to keep eating fast food, and it should all balance out, right?”
• Negotiating with your dietician, personal trainer, etc. – “I’ll do the cardio, but then I don’t have to do weights today.” Or, “I’ll come in three times a week, but only if you cut your fee in half.” Or, “Look, I know that dark green leafy vegetables are really good for me, but they give me gas, so can’t I just have a (pre-sweetened, sugar-laden, actually junk food) yogurt instead?” (HUH?! As you can see, we get very creative with our attempts to avoid what we don’t want, and get what we do want instead.)
• Over-exercising in order to compensate for eating badly – we develop a strange, twisted, internal logic that allows us to, essentially, do whatever we want. We convince ourselves that there are no consequences.
• Eating badly but taking lots of medication or supplements – this is another favorite form of a secret internal balancing plan that absolutely has no scientific or logical merit. It doesn’t just apply to food.
• Figuring, I’m young, I can do what I want until ___ age, then I’ll behave – the damage is occurring now, the bad habits are just getting more cemented as daily behavior, etc.

And here’s the thing about these games that we play with ourselves, our partners, and the professionals who try to help us – who’s it hurting? Really? You know the answer to this one. It’s only hurting you. I know reality is uncomfortable, but you’re spending so much energy on this bogus bargaining practice. What if you applied all of that energy to grounding yourself in reality, and taking small, manageable steps towards getting your self-care practices in line with what you know (or at least believe) to be true?

Gretchen Kubacky, Psy.D. is a Health Psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles, California. She has completed the inCYST training. She specializes in counseling women and couples who are coping with infertility, PCOS, and related endocrine disorders and chronic illnesses.

If you would like to learn more about Dr. HOUSE or her practice, or obtain referrals in the Los Angeles area, please visit her website at, or e-mail her at You can also follow her on Twitter @askdrhousemd.

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PCOS and the Grief Process: Bargaining for Better Health + women