Hormones and depression

“You think that the only truth that matters is that truth can be measured. Good intentions don’t count. What’s in your heart doesn’t count. Caring doesn’t count. But a man’s life can be measured by how many tears are shed when he dies. Just because you can’t measure them, just because you don’t wanna measure them, doesn’t mean it’s not real. And even if I’m wrong, you’re still miserable. Did you really think that your life’s purpose was to sacrifice yourself and get nothing in return? No…you believe that there is no purpose, to anything, even the lives you save you dismiss. You turn the one decent thing in your life and you taint it, strip it of all meaning. You’re miserable for nothing…I don’t know why you’d wanna live.”

- House, M.D

Sometimes, life throws me a curveball. A ball which curves so much that I miss it entirely and let it sail past my head without realising how much I really need to grab onto it, for my own sanity.

Today’s curveball was as simple as getting my period. Something I can’t control other than the usual pack of pills to stop me getting pregnant and give me a false bleed once a month.

I temporarily sunk. Only for a short time, but a short time feels like a lifetime when you’re feeling despair for no good reason. All because of some hormones flinging themselves around my body, just like they do for every other woman.

It’s frustrating to know that even if I kick depression’s arse, hormones will take control once a month. I’ve spent the day alternating between screaming at my mother over nothing and wanting to drink myself into oblivion, is that normal? I spent time staring at my walking stick, wondering if I’ll ever be brave enough to use it, and if I’ll ever need to use it every day. It was difficult getting out of bed today, it was even more difficult to reply to comments and I really, really don’t want to be writing this. I want to sleep and forget. However, I promised myself that I would write my moods down.

I should be happy, and that’s why I’m angry enough to punch a small kitten. Before depression comes anger, and I don’t want to slip into that darkness again. S stayed over at my house at the weekend. My mother was visiting my sister in Yorkshire, and her paranoia about having the house broken in to means I had to look after the place while she was away. From Friday to Sunday night, S and I spent our time wrapped up in each other – physically and emotionally – and it was amazing. We squeezed into my little single bed and slept with our legs and arms tangled together, occasionally waking and smiling at each other.

I should be happy. Instead, I want to hide away.

Stupid hormones. It’s not fair.

 

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33 Comments

  1. It’s always not fair when the hormones kick in and emphasise all the other feelings that we would usually ignore. It’s also not fair that it makes everything feel ten times more worse – But you know what the positive thing is? You’re not alone. Plenty of people relate to what you’re going through and you was brave enough to come in here and write it down. So ride out the storm and stay as strong as you can Hugs and a smile from me.

  2. I had such a terrible time with hormones that I talked my gynecologist into giving me a hysterectomy. I still have my ovaries, so the hormones are still present for health reasons, but the mood swings that always came with the hormones have subsided dramatically. Not saying this is the right choice for everyone, but it’s really made a wonderful difference for me.

  3. Be careful punching little kittens, you might run into a master ninja kitten or a yoda kitten! Seems safe enough, but little kitten kicks butt after you try and punch little kitten :P

    On a more serious note.

    Depression isn’t fair.
    Mental illness isn’t fair.

    We shouldn’t require happiness of ourselves. Depression is not about emotions, not at its core anyway. Depression is an illness, depression screws with brain chemistry.

    It’s like if you had a glass of wine, and suddenly someone replaced it with a glass of cod liver oil. No matter how much we “should be happy” about getting wine, we’re not getting wine. We’re getting cod liver oil, and there’s no real way to choke down the stuff and think it’s wine (at least, I don’t think so, I’ve never had cod liver oil ><).

    I see this in myself and in some of my compatriots at times, we're mad at ourselves for not being happy in a good situation.

    But

    no matter how good the wine is

    you have cod liver oil, and it simply isn't wine.

    –unconstructed

  4. I understand exactly what you’re talking about. I’ve been PMSing the past 2 days (I’m in day 22 of my cycle) and it’s killing my moods and making me nuts. I get really sad, angry, and obsessive over the littlest things for no reason. I’m not on the pill or any hormonal birth control anymore, but I was on it for 3 years and I only developed pms while I was on the pill and I’ve had it now for the almost year that I’ve been off, although it’s gotten a lot better. Be well!

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002474/

  5. It’s not fair, but because you have identified the cause, at least that mystery of why it’s happening is not hanging over your head. Have you considered more long-acting birth control? I think there’s a shot that lasts three of four months. That might be worth thinking about. 8-)

  6. I do sympathise – as I am sure every woman does. You can try natural supplements like evening primrose to help you in this stage. My daughter (13) and I both find that recognising why our moods have changed is the first step in coping with the cycle. We let each other know so we can give a bit of extra compassion to each other. Then we give ourselves the right to be moody – whether angry, touchy, snappish, depressed, whatever we are feeling. In other words we don’t fight against it. We accept that for a short few days things will be wonky. This does seem to help each of us through our monthly journey. Pains and moods are signals to be listened to. It is our body saying we need to slow things down a bit and pay attention. I often use the time for reflection and thinking.

    I hope this helps someone :)

  7. Oh, my dear, I hear you! In December, I didn’t manage my cycle properly prescription-wise, and all hell broke loose. I won’t go into detail, but it wasn’t pretty.

    Have you spoken with a doc about using medication the week prior to the anticipated start of your period? I finally did with my psychD, even though I thought nothing could be done.

    Fortunately, I was wrong. I now up the dosage on an SSRI by 20mg for the week preceding my period, and WOW! HUGE HELP.

  8. Omg!!!! It’s like my mind was one with this post…. Last year I wrote a post called, PMS meets depression. As I read your words now,I its like I connected with another who I can relate with… My heart feels for you… I have no words to make an impact that would come close to making it feel better… But perhaps knowing I do care will give you a few moments of purpose…

    Keep writting… PMS and all! :)
    http://untitledmoments.com/2011/02/08/pms-meets-depression-oh-boy/

  9. Ugh, I know the feeling! One minute you’re doing and feeling good, the next, life just sucks. Everything just sucks. At least you know what is causing it and it usually passes so you can explain to yourself why you did or what you said. I blame everything on hormones. Everything else I blame on my husband. :-D

  10. I hear you!!! I came off my contraceptive pill two months again. It blocked my periods and I didn’t have PMS for years. That lulled me into an incredibly false sense of security i.e., I forgot I have PMS for half of every 28 day cycle (yes, I have full-blown PMS for 14 days).

    Now I am depressed because of all these freakin hormonal changes, and I have put on weight to boot.

    First day of my period, I’m taking that little pill again and I’m never coming off it.

    Stupid hormones is right!!

    • Yes, it’s SO easy to forget about PMS/PMT! My antidepressants have been helping it a lot, but for some reason this month it all went a bit wobbly. Perhaps it’s the other medication I’m on; I should ask my GP if there could be a chemical reason for it. If it means coming off something to stop the moods, I’ll probably do it because I’d forgotten just how awful I used to feel once a month.

      What pill are you on? *nosy* I’m on Dianette, which helps enormously with polycystic ovaries but does nothing for mood swings. I’m yet to find another pill which agrees with me though. I think I’ve tried them all over the years, and everything but Dianette turns me into an axe-murderer *sigh*

  11. *hugs* I can relate. My therapist sat down and looked at my emergency short admissions and they happened once a month, in line with my cycle. My male therapist (I have two) refuses to treat me if I am not on the Pill (or equivalent) because we don’t get any therapeutic work done for half the month (I get PMS for 14 days).

    Now that I am not menstruating (hello morning sickness) the progesterone still has fun with my mood. My poor fiance doesn’t know what to do when I’m curled up on the bed sobbing for no real reason… damn hormones

    • There is a real reason. A very real reason. I hope that by “real” you mean “explained by external events”. I just say that because sometimes I run into thinking “why am I this sad? there’s no good/real reason…” or “why am I so tired, why can’t I concentrate… I must just be lazy”, ya know? or “why can’t I get out of bed? everyone else does every day…”.

      But we’re not lazy. In fact to keep up a facade of normal is the antithesis of lazy.

      I hope you’re holding up against the waves of hormones running your way. Good luck and best wishes,

      unconstructed

  12. Hormones are at least partially responsible for mood in women. There’s this long tangle of hormones that go into it too. I read an article one day that talked about sex and seratonin how we all feel good until oxytocin comes in and beats it down. Oxytocin? Responsible for bad feelings? I thought oxytocin was the bonding chemical?

    So I looked into it. There is a balance between oxytocin, progesterone, estrogen, seratonin, and melatonin. Too much of oxytoncin and not enough progesterone can cause depression, because oxytocin overload can block seratonin production.

  13. Admittedly I’m in this situation at this moment. I’ve only stopped crying for no apparent reason. I have so much hormones it rubs off on my partner.
    Its like once a month you go crazy =] (and im a bit that way most of the time)
    I have emotional troubles at the best of times, ie lovely mood swings, but the few days before during and after the period It escalates tenfold! drives everyone nuts.
    (though i have the added problem of leg troubles with no cause during the period, means i cant leave the house for days.)
    I’m so glad I don’t live with my mum any more. Because my dad used to hide for the week, because all we ever did was shout and scream at one another, over something as simple as the volume of the tv (and i mean like a difference of 2db) =]

    I did try the pill. It sort of worked. But i forgot too often not to take them, so it ended up worse and it’d just happen.
    Too nervous for the implant. and i’ve been told not to bother with the coil (my friend actually ripped hers out because it was so painful)
    And hysterectomy well i’m only 20, so that’s out the question also.

    Hope something comes of it =]

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