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I find it ridiculously amusing that “Hormones” is the topic of this week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt, considering the trouble I’ve had with this particular issue for the past 7-8 years (mental helath and libido).
Hormones, or the possibility of unstable hormones, have pretty much affected everything having to do with my physical, mental, and emotional health. I’ve gained 30 lbs. (okay…some of that is just my laziness and my love of good beer), my energy levels are all over the place…my moods…my libido. And it’s all supposedly (or probably…or possibly) tied to hormones, according to my doctors.
Late last year, I went to a naturopath (because I wanted a “natural” way to deal with my symptoms). I began using natural progesterone cream, to see if that would help. It didn’t, really. So my doctor added bio-identical estrogen cream. Then testosterone cream. I’ve had all my levels checked, and oddly they all show as fine.
So is it all in my head? Maybe I’m not a hormonal wreck, but a mental one instead? That’s a great thought, isn’t it? I’m not hormonal, just crazy.
And you know…I’d take crazy if it came with horny, because that would work out for my marriage. Instead, it comes with depression, which makes me lethargic and lazy and fat…and does nothing for my marriage but cause stress…and I need more of that like I need a hole in the head. Or, it comes with manic episodes which won’t let me sleep and make me irritable, agitated, and forgetful. Good times. Anxiety is the spice of life.
Hormones have ultimately just not been my friend. And hormone-related complications are hard to diagnose. Because perimenopause can cause all of my current symptoms, and because all of my symptoms can be hard to diagnose and attribute to a cause, it’s hard to counteract them all.
Basically, what it comes down to is, if I don’t want to be on a hundred medications, I just need to eat healthy, exercise daily, practice yoga and mindfulness, get acupuncture, drink less, develop a sleep routine, and keep seeing a shrink. Sounds easy, I know. And for some people, it might be. I wish I were one of those people.
I could probably do without all the meds, honestly, but now that I am on them, all my docs are reticent to take me off of them. Western medicine does love its prescriptions. I’ve managed to get the dosages down. As for the hormone supplements, those are complicated. While using them may be beneficial, especially if you really are low in one or more of them, using them also presents a host of fun side effects: weight gain, oily skin/hair, acne, hair growth (in odd places), aggression and irritability (yay…cause I need more of that), fatigue…and on and on. Seriously, it’s a case of the side effects being worse than the disease. (A decent book on hormones and their functions is The Hormone Cure. It was suggested by my naturopath, because he refused to prescribe anything until I was educated on the issues…smart guy.)
I feel sort of like I started getting old at 30…because my body has seriously railed against me from childbirth on. Aren’t we supposed to be friends, or something like that? Isn’t my body supposed to be my temple? Because really, it feels like a war-zone…me against it, and it usually has the upper hand.
What I’ve found over the years, too, is that issues having to do with hormones and mental and emotional health (even physical health, actually), have provided the opportunity for a booming business in books, programs, supplements, and medications. And there are sooooo many “answers,” it’s hard to know which to try, if any. I’ve read my share of books, spent hundreds on supplements and medications, and have found myself choosing the more natural paths, because…hell, they do less damage even if they help less…and mostly I see them helping more.
My biggest issue for the natural methods of mental, emotional, and physical healing is the time it takes. And actually…the money, as well. Yoga is expensive because it’s trendy now…and because those little yoga studios have to make a living, right? The time, though is trying to fit in yoga, along with regular work outs. If I were doing what I am supposed to do, I’d be working out/doing yoga 1-2 hours per day…add showering and such to that…twice…and now I’m at 2-3 hours. But, I work full time. So now I’ve used around 11 hours working and working out. And I have a child and family. And…well…I HATE working out!
As far as I can tell, however, exercise and diet are the keys. The two things many of us really don’t want to accept. Why can’t there be a magic pill? Instead of all that hard work and time? It’d be one thing if I liked exercise…and believe me, I’ve tried all kinds – I’m just not a “physical” person. I’d rather sit on a couch and read a book.
Speaking of that…I’m off to run from zombies (see, they were sneaky and sucked me in with STORY). One of the ONLY…besides yoga…physical exercises I like to do. And later…I’m off to see my shrink to discuss my “thought distortions.”
You know, I’m starting to come to the realization that the Western World wants us all to be mental, emotional, and physical wrecks so it can capitalize on our suffering and keep us feeling “broken” so we’ll keep seeking ways to fix ourselves by adding to the gross national product. And blaming hormones is perfect…because it’s so hard to pinpoint the cause…and so easy to spend time and money on a “treatment.”
Here’s a complimentary set of blog posts of you’re interested: an on-going review of Sex Again: Recharging Your Libido (covers issues regarding hormones but really pushes to counteract them with natural methods).