Oh to be normal.

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.



Filed under mental illness

16 responses to “Oh to be normal.

  1. There is no such thing as normal, babe. We all have our own brand of crazy. Some of us just don't have pills invented for us yet.

  2. Hope you find that balance soon. Not always easy, I know. Especially with little ones who need you…

    • Thanks, Wolf. I think I might have gained extra weight from eating my sorrows away. : ) I guess what I really wanted to get at is my kids are wonderful. It only gets out-of-hand when my emotions/hormones/body send me reeling. You know? They read into my impatience and understand that I'm having a hard time, which makes them tense and everything goes down from there. I am just glad they forgive me and allow me to recuperate at night.

  3. I hope next week treats you kindly.

    I had a brief, scary insight into how much hormones matter. My first experience with birth control pills literally sent me to bed crying for three weeks. At which point, I luckily went back to find a better option. My hormones and I work fine. External ones, not so much.
    I don't know if you've heard of it, but a while back I read a fascinating book called the female brain. There are detectable changes in our brains as we go through our monthly cycles. Pretty amazing, huh?

    • I have not heard of the book but am familiar with the changes in our brain during monthly cycles. (Have I mentioned that I am a HUGE science geek?) However, I will be picking that book up rather quickly.

      I can relate to your first bc experience as it mirrors mine. Ironically, I have to take bc now to control my out-of-control monthly cycles–to make my emotions more level (for a while there, I could not reign them in) and help everything become regular. It's funny how things change after having kids, huh?

      Thank you. I really think it will, this is just a rough mid-week cycle.

  4. Aunt Sue

    Oh my sweet niece. You are brave to share your challenges; and do know that you are not alone. That's what I would add to healthy eating, exercise and medication. Other humans for support! I know what the toddler years did to/for me…Getting to the reality of anxiety and depression made a world of difference. And, with your insight and strength will see you through; you have such a promising process.
    Call/text/email me ANYTIME and vent or talk or whatever. I completely understand, and am here for you. It does get better, and I don't need to tell you that. Much love from aunt sue.

  5. aunt sue

    There's always menopause to look forward to. NOT!
    You are admirably breaking new ground as a Turner; and I do relate to those having-a-uterus days. Your self-awareness is your best friend, since you can understand what is going on inside you, and deal with it wisely.
    Hang in there. "No worries" and "it's all good" as you kids say. I have much respect for your understanding and care of yourself and your family, really…

  6. That does not sound fun, girl!! Good luck with all the adjustments, it doesn't sound easy. And yeah, hormonal birth control did NOT work for me, either. I was a angry, emotional mess, and unfortunately it was at the first of my marriage and it lasted for 6 months until I figured out that my marriage was FINE, it was my birth control that had to go. 🙂

  7. Bless your heart. I've a daughter with Tourettes, and as she moves through her pre-teen years and OCD meltdowns from time to time it just melts my heart. Hope your days go better.

    • Thank you, Stephen, for this comment. I have always enjoyed reading your perspective at the many blogs we both follow and comment on. When I think of your daughter, my heart aches. My husband suffered with OCD as a child and teenager, it was very damaging. His ended when he reached adulthood–a very common thing with OCD in children–and has become high anxiety and depression. Like me. Two crazies together, what will our children become? (I am only kidding, here.) Anyway, I would love to hear more about your daughter. I don't think you write about her on your blog, probably to protect her privacy as she gets older, but your and her experience is something I am very interested in.

  8. Ahhh, the dual diagnosis. No bueno. I have anxiety, but no depression. But they are very commonly linked. I hate my anxiety, but from what people tell me about depression, I probably got the good end of the crazy stick.

  9. Welcome to crazy town! I am the mayor.

  10. Here's hoping you find what works to attain your personal balance. I've had anxiety on and off and I know it can be a real struggle some days. Sending hugs.

  11. Elastamom

    I'm so sorry you have had such a rough week. I know what those are like. Here's hoping it gets better.