PCOS Mindset: From Struggle to Hope [Podcast with Ann Papayoti] - PCOS Diva
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PCOS Mindset: From Struggle to Hope [Podcast with Ann Papayoti]

Shifting from hopelessness to hope is a choice. And like all choices which change our lives, it happens in a moment of decisiveness when we are ready to feel differently – Ann Papayoti

One of the main pillars of being a PCOS Diva is learning how to think like a Diva which means changing your mindset around the way that you view your PCOS diagnosis.

On today’s podcast, I talk with Ann Papayoti, author and mindset coach. She is dedicated to helping people rise above life’s painful and challenging moments so that they can live their best lives.

She shows us how easy change can be once we embrace the gift within the challenge and set our course for a lighter heart, an alternative emotion, and surrender within the moment.

Listen in (or read the transcript) as we discuss:

  • How self-healing begins with self-compassion
  • What are your sticky notes or self-limiting beliefs?
  • How to know if you are stuck in unconscious avoidance
  • The energy of emotions & the most powerful emotions for healing
  • How to “float” in your pain, not push it away

All PCOS Diva podcasts are available on:itunes-buttonitunes-button

To learn more about Ann’s approach to healing, check out her article on the PCOS Diva blog here: Drive like a Diva.

Resources mentioned:

Sky View Coaching
The Gift of Shift

Ann is an international life, leadership, and relationship coach. She is an International Coach Federation Accredited Professional Certified Coach, and a member of the Association of Integrative Psychology. Dedicated to waking people up to living their best life by helping them untangle from their past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete Transcript:

Amy:

My mission with PCOS Diva is really to help women with PCOS move beyond the pain and struggle of PCOS so they can live the life they were meant to live without PCOS holding them back. And in order to do that, you really have to change your mindset around the way that you view your PCOS diagnosis. I’ve written about it in my book, Healing PCOS and How to Think Like a Diva, and I’m always trying to find new resources to bring to PCOS divas to help you do that.

Amy:

And I’m really excited to have on Ann Papayoti. She’s the author of The Gift of Shift. And The Gift of Shift is a book for those who are struggling with life’s unforeseen consequences and fear of what is ahead. And through her Gift of Shift shows easy change can be once you embrace the gift within the challenge and set your course for a lighter heart, an alternative emotion, and of surrender within the moment. Ann is a life coach, leadership and relationship coach, and she is dedicated to waking people up to living their best life by helping them entangle from their past. So I think Ann is just the perfect guest to have on the PCOS Diva Podcast. I’m so glad that she said yes. So welcome Ann. So glad that you’re here.

Ann Papayoti:

Thank you, Amy. I’m delighted to be here. It’s a privilege.

Amy:

So I’ve really enjoyed reading your book and you share your own personal stories of struggle and redemption, and I would love for you to give us some perspective on how to deal with a PCOS diagnosis. So women with PCOS often feel that PCOS has stripped away our femininity. We have often struggle with acne and hair loss where we don’t want it and hair growth and having extra pounds. And then it also can be a real struggle with fertility, and many of us feel like it kind of has stripped away our health and happiness. And I know in my personal struggle, making some mindset shifts has really helped me, but I would love to get your perspective on how we can start that process.

Ann Papayoti:

Absolutely. Well, first of all, Amy, I love your mission in helping women reclaim really who they are before and without and in spite of their diagnosis. And the first thing I would say is that healing begins with kindness, all healing, and self-healing begins with self-compassion. And so that’s the place where you have to start. And I think women are great at being kind to others, but when it comes to being kind to ourselves, that’s something that we’re not always as comfortable with, but it starts there. And I think this is all about change, but it’s uninvited change. It’s unexpected change. And it’s creating this turmoil, this tumultuous circumstance in our lives. And while I do not have PCOS, I’ve had my own health struggles, and then I had a child with a serious diagnosis that I had to watch helplessly from the outside looking in and go through that. So I can understand the mindset that comes along with a diagnosis.

Ann Papayoti:

It starts with what’s the story you’re telling yourself about it? How are you labeling yourself? And those labels stick, don’t they? I’m not good enough. I’m not woman enough. I’m not motherly enough. My potential is now limited. All of these labels that we apply to ourselves are judgments. And one of the greatest fears that we have as humans, the fear of judgment, but we are the ones doing it to ourselves. So going back to that self-compassion and really spending some time there and applying to ourselves that which we give to others is the first place to start.

Amy:

And a chapter of your book, you talk about sticky notes. And I think you can really kind of look at all those labels as just little sticky notes that you stick on yourself, right? That you’re not good enough, that you’re ugly, that you’re fat, I don’t know, that you’re not healthy. How do you go about rewriting those sticky notes or those labels?

Ann Papayoti:

Yeah. Well, first off, look at it as a sticky note. I love post-it notes because you can put them on and take them off. So recognize that they are not glued on, cemented on. Its choice. And that’s the whole premise of this book is that the gift is the power. Your personal power is choice. So you may not have a choice in the label of PCOS or the diagnosis of PCOS, but you do have a choice in what you allow to stick. So yes, these labels, I can understand they come on, it’s natural. It’s human to go down into that black hole I call it of negative thinking, right? That’s a stress response. We go down and we start either fighting what’s happening to us or being victimized by it.

Ann Papayoti:

So we’re helpless, hopeless, defeated, or we’re in complete conflict with it. This can’t be happening. It’s not going to happen. We’re confused, we’re afraid, we’re angry, or maybe at some point we become indifferent and almost numb to what’s happening and just accepting not in a peaceful way, but in just that indifferent way that I was saying, but none of this is solution-oriented or solution-focused, or self-compassionate, as we were saying is the first step of healing. Therefore, we’re not healing. We’re harming. We’re enabling PCOS to be destructive to us or whatever the diagnosis may be in our lives, whatever the trauma, whatever the experience.

Ann Papayoti:

So it starts with awareness that that’s where we’re at in our mindset. And it’s not about not going there because that’s the human default. It’s about not staying there. So it’s about having that conscious awareness and then using the power of choice to take what is the first step out of the black hole is responsibility. It’s not our fault that this is what’s happening, but I am responsible now for how I experience it. So what will I do with it?

Amy:

And for women listening, there are so many choices that you can make every day, from what to you eat, to how you move your body, the different supplements that you might take. There’s so many things within your control and positive choices that you can make. So you’re right. I think that that awareness piece is really the first step, that you do have a choice.

Ann Papayoti:

Yes, absolutely. And I’m sure you’ve heard it said, Amy, that pain is inevitable in life. That’s part of the human condition, but suffering is optional. And when we put those labels on and we glue them on with super glue and we’re not going to let them be that removable post-it note, then we’re now creating the suffering from PCOS rather than experiencing the pain, going through the grief. And that’s something I think people miss. They miss the importance of grieving the loss associated with whatever.

Amy:

Oh, I agree with that. Absolutely. Yeah, that’s something that I’ve had to learn too. I think I’ve learned it through letting my children go. I have one that’s in college and one that’s about to go off to college and gosh, that was a grieving process that was really unexpected, but you have to go through it in order to make that shift I think to-

Ann Papayoti:

Absolutely. Yeah. So grieve it. And some people, one thing that I find is that they just keep going. And this is what’s called unconscious avoidance. And many people believe they have to, okay, this is it. So some people cowboy up. Let’s go. All right, I’m going to just go. All right, I’m mad about it, or I’m upset about it, but this is what I was taught to do or told to do. Put my lipstick on and go. I’m just going to keep going. And that also is not going to heal because in the long term, there’s overwhelm and burnout. And ultimately it’s proven to decrease, decrease the immune system. So what may look like, look how well they’re dealing with this, ultimately, no, they’re not.

Ann Papayoti:

And so again, stopping, finding some stillness. And in the chapter, The Gift of Buoyancy, I write about my father teaching me how to swim, but he first insisted I learn how to float and I was so disappointed because I was so ready to learn how to swim because that meant I could go to the deep area and go off the diving platforms. And he said, “No, you have to learn how to float first.” Because if you just keep swimming, you’ll do exactly what I was just describing. You’re going to wear out and possibly drown in this lake. You have to learn how to float first.

Ann Papayoti:

And I had no idea how important that would be in my life in so many areas that I had to learn how to be still, to float, to have some intentional movement, just the slightest movement, but intentional where I could then reconnect to my breath and literally hear my heartbeat as you hear it in your ears when your ears are underwater, and acknowledge myself and get a new perspective because you can see the whole sky and in your peripheral vision, everything around you when you’re floating on your back and then I could regroup and have clear decision making on where and what direction and how far to swim next. And I use that now so much. I say, I need to float a moment here. There’s power in pausing. There’s rejuvenation and reflection. And I think that that is key to also taking the time to grieve.

Amy:

Yeah, I wanted to bring something else up in that chapter about the gift of buoyancy. You talk a lot about hope and you actually mentioned the hope floats from Birdee, who was played by Sandra Bullock in the movie Hope Floats. And it really is a great parallel to the story about your dad teaching you to float. But I’m going to just read a quote from that chapter. You say, “Shifting from hopelessness to hope is a choice. And like all choices which change our lives, it happens in a moment of decisiveness when we are ready to feel differently.” And I think that this goes back to your idea of making a choice that you have to choose hope.

Ann Papayoti:

Yes, you do have to choose hope. And what a great thing. And what I’m referencing in hope floats is that we can rest in hope when there’s nothing else. And I know that feeling. And in this chapter, I’m speaking about my son being diagnosed with epilepsy and the potential of facing brain surgery. And if he did, that he may lose more than he gained. He could lose some different functions in his body to be able to gain the diminishment of seizures and all the things that we were facing. And he had social struggles and learning struggles at the time. And I’m knocking on wood right now because he’s now 19 and he hasn’t had a seizure in nine years since he was 10 years old. So I’m very blessed, but we had seven years of just swimming to exhaustion and I had to learn to rest on the buoy of hope in between the different struggles that we went through in his young life.

Ann Papayoti:

And what a gift it was to know that when I felt that we were going to drown in the weightiness of what was happening in his life and in the struggles with his diagnoses that we could rest in hope. So sometimes ladies who are listening with PCOS and when you feel like there is no hope, rest in hope. There’s always hope. There’s research being done. There’s something new coming out. Keep reading. Keep studying. Be your own advocate. Choose hope. And the more you choose positivity, it gives you that next you’ve recovered your breath, right? You’ve recovered your breath. You’ve rejuvenated something and you can keep swimming then to the next thing and stay motivated to choose your best life because it’s yours and take that responsibility to keep going.

Amy:

I loved that chapter and that message. And it’s funny because when I first started PCOS Diva, my first kind of resource that I created was called the… Or it’s still available. It’s called the PCOS 101: Your Guide to Health and Hope. And it actually lives at URL pcosdiva.com/hope. And that was a really powerful shift in my journey of PCOS is realizing despite what doctors told me, and I know other women listening have probably heard the same thing. You have PCOS. You’re never going to have children, or it’s going to be very difficult for you to have children. Well, it’s easy to take that as your… Kind of assimilate that into your conscious and take that on. And honestly, if I had, I don’t know if I would’ve ended up having my three wonderful children. I always had some level of hope. I moved from that hopelessness to hope, and that was so key in my healing journey.

Ann Papayoti:

There you go. What you believe is so empowering or disempowering to your outcomes in life. And so just that ladies, having a community like what Amy here has created is huge to stay connected and to hear… And when you know someone else has accomplished something, that’s when you can believe it’s possible for yourself. It took someone to dream something to achieve something. So if no one believed we could travel to the moon, we still wouldn’t be there. But somebody had to believe that was possible one day for us to actually have achieved that. So pay attention to your thoughts. This goes back to this whole mindset piece for being able to think like a PCOS Diva is what you believe has a lot to do with what you’re going to be able to achieve. So pay attention to those thoughts because they create how you feel and how you feel just really determines… It becomes the driver in your life. So pay attention to who’s behind wheel. And it’s going to be your thoughts.

Amy:

And I want you to kind of lead us through a little exercise about that, but I just wanted to touch on something that you had just said that reminded… You were talking about kind of like what you have gone through and the challenge that you… Well, I guess it reminded me of this quote that one day everything that you’ve gone through may become somebody else’s survival guide for the same thing in essence. That’s what the quote is. I wish I had it in front of me.

Ann Papayoti:

Oh yeah, it’s like tell the story of the mountains you’ve climbed because one day it will become a page in someone else’s survival.

Amy:

Exactly. Exactly.

Ann Papayoti:

Something along that nature. Yeah.

Amy:

Yeah. And in your book here, you say, “What was once a source of your pain becomes a reminder of your strength.” And I think that that’s something like a powerful thought too is… And even looking at your experiences, you would not have been able to write this book if you hadn’t gone through those challenges and struggles and climbed your mountain and come out the other side and now you’re helping others to do the same.

Ann Papayoti:

That’s right. And unlike many who you probably speak to Amy, I actually had a very happy childhood. I was blessed with that and a modest lifestyle back home near Birmingham, Alabama. My father worked at a telephone company. My mom taught piano at home after my brother and I were born, but my mom absolutely revered education, but she had not had the privilege of attending college or university. So she enrolled in junior college while my brother was in kindergarten and she took me as a toddler with her to her classes and bless her professors who allowed that. And I guess it was a good thing. I was a quiet child and a still child. And that’s certainly imprinted on me a love of learning and listening as well as teaching.

Ann Papayoti:

And back in those school year memory books that we keep for our children or our moms kept for us and you document what you want to be when you grow up, I repeatedly had this theme of wanting to be a teacher and then it would rotate with a nurse. And then at one point I put stewardess. I don’t know why because I didn’t know what that was. I’d never flown but I must have seen one on TV. And I wrote lifeguard at some point. And I did become all of those, just not necessarily in the traditional sense when it came to being a nurse because I couldn’t fathom hurting others to help them. But in high school, I was the go-to girl for friends experiencing problems and people would say, “You could start your own dear Amy column.”

Ann Papayoti:

And in one of the yearbooks I was described as being a good listener. And I just had no idea at the time that all that having been still and being quiet and listening combined with empathy and a passion I think to help others without hurting them by poking them with a needle would turn out to be innate skill that would be foundational to my life’s work. I just didn’t know that first I’d have to learn to do it for myself because of all that I started going through in my young adult years. So I realized my calling, I guess, early on was to help others. I just didn’t know that I would go through so much loss and trauma, but then also triumph to be able to actually find my purpose and calling to do so.

Amy:

Well, I’m glad that you found your calling because I know you must be helping many, many people, especially through this book. And I wanted you to just touch on again, like dealing with those negative thoughts and emotions. You say that negative emotions are the thieves of our peace and happiness. And I think we all know that we have those negative thoughts and emotions, but we just don’t know what to do with those and how to shift them to more positive ones.

Ann Papayoti:

Exactly. Well, on the simple side, the academic side, you will just say, it starts with awareness you’re having them, the awareness that they’re underserving you and how you react when you have them. And if you don’t like the outcomes you’re having in life, and sometimes people don’t recognize the emotion at all. They just see how they’re showing up in life. They recognize they’re having relationship conflicts, or they recognize that they’re having an eating disorder or they recognize… So they see the what’s happening in life and they can’t recognize the emotion that’s behind it, but the emotion is coming from the thought. Often the thoughts are subconscious and hidden, especially if there’s been emotional trauma. And as I understand it, many with PCOS have had emotional trauma in their lives.

Ann Papayoti:

So it’s a little deeper than just noticing the negative thought. But if you’ve done the work to clear the emotional trauma, which is very important for all of us is to clear the emotional trauma, but when we recognize we start down a path of self-mastery. It’s really about… As I said earlier, it’s not about not having a negative thought. It’s about intercepting it and saying, okay, I know where this is going and I want to change it because everything’s energy, even our thoughts. And what we learn from quantum physicists like Einstein, and I’m not going to argue with Einstein. So I’m going to say, okay, I get it. It can be changed. It cannot be created or destroyed. So I can’t kill my thought, but I can change it. I can change the form of it. And when I change the form of it, I’m going to get a different result.

Ann Papayoti:

Therefore, I’m going to shift this thought. And I don’t have to go into some other kind of thought here. I can just say shift just a small amount to get a different result. And rather than being victimized by what’s happening to me, I can even get mad because getting mad, which is the next level up on energetic thinking, might fuel me to do something because when I’m victimized, there’s apathy and apathy leads to like nothingness, right? Nothing productive happens here. But if I can get mad about it, I might fuel something. Now it’s short term because you’re going to burn out, but maybe it’s just long enough to get something done. When I’m mad with my husband, Amy, I start doing the dishes and I start doing the laundry and something gets done. It doesn’t last long, but something productive happens. But I’m aware this is what’s happening until I can release that emotion and say, okay, I’m ready to go talk it through whatever it was. Okay? So it’s being aware.

Ann Papayoti:

And then because when I’m ready to go talk about it, now I’m taking responsibility for myself and for my outcome. I would say I need to release this. And I call it the F word because the first level of responsibility requires feeling of forgiveness. And so ladies with these diagnosis, when I say the thought is responsibility, the feeling is forgiveness. And all I mean here is letting go. Letting go of the thought that would drop you down into feeling like a victim or feeling in conflict with your diagnosis and all of these labels that go with it that you’ve stuck on yourself or you’ve allowed others to stick on you. Letting it go so that you can show up in a cooperative manner in your life to work towards healing and becoming that diva that Amy’s talking about.

Ann Papayoti:

That’s it. Now you can go higher energetically. The next level would be love. And that’s compassion and that’s in service. Now you can even start thinking about more than yourself and you can start thinking of others and you can start helping someone else and that’s this whole community of PCOS divas because you cannot help but help yourself when you help someone else. And every one of you who has this diagnosis, you’re going to meet somebody else and they need your wisdom. They need your insight. They need you to share your experience. And when you help them, you’re going to elevate yourself as well. And then it’s what’s going on. Yeah.

Amy:

Yeah, I was just going to say that’s such a beautiful thought. And I think it’s a great exclamation point to wrap up our podcast together. It’s been such a pleasure talking to you and I think we’re kindred spirits. So it’s very easy.

Ann Papayoti:

Thank you. I’ve loved being with you and I’m going to enjoy following you and seeing all the work you do. I really do love your mission.

Amy:

Well, thank you. Well, I would love for you to tell us more of how we can follow you and how can we find out more about your work?

Ann Papayoti:

Thank you. Well, you can get The Gift of Shift. And what I love about this book is for people who struggle to journal and get their thoughts out and connect to their emotions, it’s a collection of short stories. And after each story are five coaching questions so that the reader can reflect on their life. That’s that be still moment. Give yourself a little space and time and answer those questions. And while your story will be different, we’ve all experienced those themes from betrayal to finding courage or from grief to gratitude or finding hope or how to be true to yourself. So all of those common life themes and finding space to acknowledge yourself in your own story in those things.

Ann Papayoti:

So you can find the book on Amazon or any online book seller, or you can ask your local bookstore to order it for you from their IngramSparks catalog. You can connect with me on Facebook as SkyView Coaching or on in Instagram, Twitter, all the social media outlets, Ann, no E, Papayoti. And I’m sure Amy will put it in all her stuff. And I’d look forward to hearing from you and I’d love to help anyone on their journey. If you are stuck in emotional trauma, then let’s release it. The lesson’s always about letting go so you can receive what’s really meant for your life.

Amy:

Well, thank you. And I will put everything in the show notes. And thank you everyone for listening to this episode. I look forward to being with you again very soon. Bye bye.

 

 

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