I had a rough last week. I could give various reasons: the kids went crazy, Ben is busy with medical school, I’ve woken up with debilitating migraines every morning; but the truth is, the wiring in my brain is screwed up and I am terribly sensitive to hormonal changes.
To have two mental health issues that are comorbid with each other–like my anxiety and depression–means they are interconnected yet independent: you cannot address one without addressing the other; and, as the patient, it is almost impossible to pinpoint which one is the source of mental anguish. For example, if I miss a dose of my anxiety medication, I feel tense, my thoughts begin to race, and I have trouble sleeping–and, subsequently, my depression begins to come out (even when taking medication) and my whole life goes to hell. That’s the truth.
The tricky part comes when hormonal fluctuations interact with my mental health issues. As a woman, I am more prone to hormonal imbalances and, as myself, am especially sensitive to the regular changes (i.e. ovulation and monthly cycles).
So last week’s mess could have been calmly handled if I hadn’t been battling my hormones that also sent my mental health issues into a downward spiral.
There is nothing like a wake-up call to how crazy you truly are. To make it through these hormonal swings, I must increase my medications a few times throughout the month. The problem is recognizing when these times are and taking action immediately. The lines become blurred when dealing with mental illness, so I will tell myself that things will get better if I clean the house, read the kids stories, stop bickering at Ben, and numerous other things that sum up to being strong and dealing with my shit like an adult.
But I know these are not solutions. Taking control of my mental illness through medication, exercise, and healthy eating will help more than mentally belittling myself. It’s just recognizing when I need to take these actions that’s hard.
Here’s to hoping that next week I will not sequester myself inside the house and that my body’s hormone levels will finally reach homeostasis.