They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and sometimes I live by that statement. But they also say ‘never open a piece of writing with a cliché’, so I’ll let you decide what to do with this article once you’ve read it. AJ’s Advice is going to be about sharing experiences, giving advice and the opportunity to chat to someone completely impartial. Fresh ears can be the best thing in the world once in a while. I’m literally inviting you to ask me anything, and I’ll try to answer fairly and give sound advice. If you want to post anonymously, that’s fine. I’ll also be giving occasional hints and tips; things that I’ve learnt on the journey through life and towards university.

To start this off, I’d like to share an experience that was very personal to me. I’ve adapted this from my blog, but hopefully it’ll be an introduction to me that’s more in-depth than the teeny ‘About Me’ section on my TSR author page. So, here we go.

Okay. Blogging. Sharing your experiences with, well, the world can be a hard thing to do. First of all, you never quite know what’s sharing-worthy. It’s interesting to see what people are willing to share with you and what they want to hide. The other thing with blogs is that you can put on a persona, you can lie, and who’s ever going to know? But we’re at an advantage here, because it seems that close friends of mine are following my writings, so they’ll know I’m not lying. (Unless, of course, I’ve created their accounts, but someone would catch me out. The truth always tells in the end.)

So, I’ve chosen to write today because I got some good news this morning and I wanted to share the story with you all. Last week I had a blood test, because I’ve been showing many of the main symptoms of a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome. I read and read and read about it; information about the condition isn’t exactly hard to find. It’s one of the leading causes of infertility in women, so naturally I was worried. I’ve never been one to want children, or even like them sometimes, but for the last couple of years I’ve felt like that option could be taken away from me, so my opinion radically changed. I want a family when I’m ready – I think, in a way, everyone does at some point in their lives. But I’m in the clear. As far as I know, I don’t have PCOS, so a family is still an option. It took hours for the news to sink in, but I’m so happy about it.

You see, my GP was reluctant to test me for the condition, but I pushed for it so I could rule it out, which much to my relief I now have. I wanted to write this to share the moral of the story with you: if you want them to tell you something, or test you for something, or you want to get something checked out, you only have to ask. Don’t be shy of doing it. This has given me a lot of stress over the last few years until I plucked up the courage to ask, so grin, bare your teeth and speak up. If you’re in this situation, it’s usually something big and it means you need to deal with it. If you have a problem, you have to push to get it sorted, because nobody else can do it for you.

If nothing else, that’s hopefully told you something about me. But I want this to be about you. Your problems don’t have to be health related; they can be anything. What made the whole process above easier was that I was surrounded by friends and I had people to talk to. Part of the reason I’ve told you that is so you don’t feel like you’re talking to a total stranger, but I do want to hear from you too. Leave any comments, suggestions and questions below this post, and I’ll try and get back to you next week – hopefully this will be a weekly column on a Saturday. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for reading!