I was 16 when I first realised that my hormones had more control over my mental state than I’d ever been prepared for.
I’d been on the contraceptive pill for almost a year and was weepy, low, erratic, moody and seriously unpredictable.
You can imagine I was quite the hoot to be around. Lol.
It’s only now, a decade on, when I can look back at that poor little lost mite and recognise that it wasn’t me. I wasn’t broken beyond repair, I wasn’t suffering from hideous personality traits attached to my soul, I was just off-balance. My hormones were just off doing their own thang, having a party and going wild in my blood stream, and leaving me weeping in the corner with my depressing MSN screen names and Heinz tinned sponge puddings (was anyone else obsessed with these? Nope? Just me?).
I wish somebody could have sat me down and assured me that it does get better. That hormones do settle down. You learn to live in harmony with them and HEY LOOK YOU CAN FEEL AS HAPPY AS A DISNEY PRINCESS. You just got to ride out the growing-up hormone shit storm (or y’know, change contraceptive pills).
The problem is that sometimes hormones go rogue. Even when you’re a functioning grown-up. Just out of the blue. For no reason.
They just plot to overthrow you and then hey bang you’re on the sofa and no you don’t want to watch TV and no you don’t want to refresh Instagram or go looking for Pokemon and you don’t want pizza or friends or cider or sunshine. You just want the sofa, indefinitely.
Can you tell I’ve had a really bad period?
I mean, it was an average period. It needed a couple of doses of ibuprofen to settle that heavy, uncomfortable pain in my lower tummy. And it lasted a few days, the way it usually does.
But mentally? Mentally it absolutely scuppered me.
I’d been feeling a bit emotionally delicate and was in my usual pre-period mood where I’m a bit like why I so fat, why I so bad at blogging, why I such a hideous human being. But I feel like I’m usually able to almost detach myself from that person and laugh at her. I’m able to recognise that it’s a hormonal reaction to life, and not my actual feelings. It’s just those pesky little period guys twisting everything in my head to try and convince me that everything’s 485882357 times worse than it actual is.
And then my period came and I ate some pizza and some chocolate in celebration like ok hun now we over the worst of it and let’s party on with life and happy moods.
I feel a bit like Fawkes the phoenix in Harry Potter. Pre-period I am the worst version of myself – all decaying and ugly, and then my period comes and I am reborn all glittering and new from the ashes, y’know?
Is that OK that I just compared my menstrual cycle to a mythical creature from a children’s book?
Anyway, this time there was no bursting into flames and being re-born. I am still sat here, post-period like um, hormones, you wanna just chill now? You wanna let me just continue on with life and be a functioning human being or nah?
And it has left me feeling confused and unsettled and if I’m being totally honest, a little bit scared.
I have cried about 7 times in the past week.
I usually cry about once a month.
I’m talking seven times of Kim K ugly tears. I cried hysterically for 15 minutes after Granger the cat scratched my neck, and then I let a single tear slide down my face when I remembered I was going to be 27 soon, and then I cried because I found a couple of fleas on my foot. And then I cried some other times about some things I don’t even remember.
I feel like that dad who started a blog detailing every reason his toddler cried just to show how ridiculous and lol they are. That is me right now. I am the unreasonable toddler.
I had this hour on Saturday, this hour where I feared the worst for myself. I feared that I would never snap out of this tearful, unmotivated stupor of the past week. I wondered how long it would take me to get a doctor’s appointment, whether I’d go on the same antidepressants as before. I wondered whether I’d still be able to make a living from blogging if I spent the foreseeable future lying on the sofa, unable to string a written sentence together.
Eventually I propelled myself out of my mood enough to put on clothes AND LIPSTICK and head out with friends for burgers and drinks. Yes alright, I had a glass of wine in bed and then I felt me enough to y’know, put on a dress. But whatves, small victories here.
I’ve also had that Pokemon Go list from yesterday (here if you haven’t read it yet) in my drafts since Thursday. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t focus enough to form decent sentences. It’s like there’s some big space war going on in my head with loads of meteors and space rubbish flying into each other and bright lights dancing about and I’m struggling to fly through it without being smashed in the face by a slab of meteor.
But it is getting easier. It is easing off. I mean hey look it’s 10.40am and I have a post almost finished. And the sentences kind of almost make sense, right?
OH and I’ve also had these massive painful spots all over my chin and just above my top lip which makes me feel like I’m not making up this hormone attack y’know? There is a physical sign. Aside from the tears, obvs.
I guess the point of this post is to admit that sometimes you can be just cruising happily in the middle lane of the motorway that is life (I so funny) and then out of nowhere, things can get rocky and feel tough to maneuver, even when nothing is wrong.
Because nothing is wrong, not really. And that’s what made it even harder – not being able to snap out of a mood, even when everything was saying you should be happy and content and smiling.
So, instead of beating yourself up and burrowing yourself even deeper into your cave of misery, just accept that sometimes your head is going to be a bit of a dickhead and it’s OK to just give in to it rather than fight yourself.
It’s OK to cut yourself some slack and cancel everything you’d lined up on your mental to-do list, because maybe, just maybe, you need a bit of time out from being a go-getting babe of an adult. Some time to pull yourself together slowly from the comfort of your bed, rather than forcing yourself to head into town for 534869 errands and social engagements that make anxiety rise in your belly.
Hormones can be hellish, don’t make it worse by punishing yourself for feeling something so unbelievable human. You’re not a failure, you’re not broken, and you CAN do this <3
(But if it does get really bad, there’s ABSOLUTELY no shame in a trip to the docs to get your mood back on track).