Depression, Hormonal Hell and Other Fun Topics
A few months after launching a new business, I decided to begin sensorimotor (aka ‘traumarelease’) psychotherapy. I often over-deliberate when making decisions, but occasionally jump in headfirst unaware of all implications. This was such a time. In fact, my therapist said had she known what we would uncover, she would’ve recommended we wait until Essentiel was on more stable ground. But by then we had already opened the ol’ can-of-wounds, just in time to contribute even more chaos to the tornado that belies any new business.
The last thing I wanted to do as I approached middle age, was to travel back to childhood and uproot pain from the past. Yet, I felt deeply called to clean up some messy personal matters that were causing crippling insecurities and anxieties. My hope was to finally liberate myself from whatever remaining shackles of shame and suffering that were standing in the way of living my best life and being my best self. And ya know, get more.…happy!
Well…little did I know embarking on this inner adventure would require much more of me than initially anticipated. During the first session, I told my therapist I could only give our work 3 months max as I had important things to attend to and was presently struggling to get through all the new never-ending to-do’s – much less make time for rehashing disturbing memories and allot time for crying.
Cut to two years later – I’m relieved to report that the heavy-lifting has substantially been lifted. Yet I’m still dealing with the aftermath of a very potent process that’s taken a lot longer than 3 months (or even a lifetime) could accomplish.
During this time of delving into the depths of my despair, I was also subjected to hormonal hurricanes that often occur with perimenopause – that period of 1-10 years before the end of your period. No one warned me! Not even my hippie feminist mother who shared and bared EVERYTHING.
I wish I’d known more about this phase of life when I was much younger. But sadly, the topic is often kept quiet in the mainstream. It’s not trendy to talk about what every woman will experience sooner or later. I live in LA and have friends whose publicists discourage them from discussing with the public their experiences during this stage of transition. Perhaps if more strong celebrity women spoke openly about this potent portal, we’d feel more community when our time comes.
Not every woman experiences difficulty mentally, emotionally and physically during this change of life, but many do. The good news is there are WONDERFUL empowering gifts that also arrive unexpectedly – once you get through the depression, insomnia, weepiness and weight gain.
Years ago, when reading a bit about what to expect during The Change, I remember many women claiming to cry far more frequently. Surely, I thought, that won’t be me – my Italian mafia-genes make me more angry than weepy. I also could not imagine experiencing sleep issues since I’ve been known to fall asleep in a loud bar even before having a drink. Mafia genes aside, I can now report that in the past 2 years, I’ve cried more and slept less than I have in the previous two decades.
Granted, the doozy of recent decades known as Covid 2020 exacerbated my perpetual PMS. Pandemic paranoia, social isolation, injustice, pathetic partisan politics…and losing unexpectedly both of our fur babies within six months, made matters feel far more intense.
Even though I still get my period, a naturopath suggested I try supplementing with bio-identical hormones. She thought more progesterone and testosterone would smooth symptoms from stress caused by the crap-combo of 2020. Well, unfortunately adding these to the mix made matters much worse. I became bloated, grew an ovarian cyst and fibroid tumor…and felt even crappier.
Though expectations are to feel depressed initially while undergoing trauma therapy, feelings should shift as trauma releases. The goal of the work is to get to an end-point, so therapy doesn’t last years/decades. Yet as time passed, I continued to be caught in a miserable malaise of toxic thinking, obsessive worry, self-criticism…and the hormones only aggravated the energy. So I stayed busy, but lost touch with what motivated me. There were even a few days I had trouble getting out of bed. What was the point of it all…where was the meaning?
All I wanted to do was retreat from the world. Everything on Instagram seemed so silly. How can I talk about moisturizer when my mental health is suffering? I didn’t care what someone’s butt looked like…or what they’re having for brunch.
Soon my mind began fixating on what might be wrong with my life. Was it my marriage? The business? Would I be better off in the Bahamas by myself growing gardens and raising animals…? Sometimes our overpowering emotions are indicators to mobilize more meaningfulness into our lives. But for me, this bad trip I was having was an inner experience generated by my mind, not the outer circumstances of my life.
Eventually I listened to my body, which was by now crying out for attention. I got off the hormones and felt better immediately! Low and behold– the blood test from this past month showed my hormones at optimal levels with no signs of perimenopause. The fibroid tumor had shrunk and my OBGYN said my Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) number looked like someone’s in her 30s. Amazing how the body will often balance itself best without our interference.
I share all this hoping to help whoever may be struggling similarly, and to remind us how unique our bodies are. Many women have wonderful results while taking bioidentical hormones. Similarly, SSRIs (aka antidepressants) have helped save lives, while other people taking the same medications have horrendous side effects, including suicidality. When it comes to balancing biochemistry, there’s no one-size-fits all remedy.
At one point, I was quite ready to take an antidepressant, but since my inclination is to incorporate a natural approach whenever possible, I decided to first try a supplement called SAMe, an essential amino acid compound produced in the body that’s a neuro-transmitter enhancer. It’s prescribed in Europe to treat depression, and is available in the US over the counter. It’s also reported to enhance mental performance, boost liver health and slow the aging process.
For ME (again, everyone is different), SAMe was another game changer. Within a week I felt alive in a way I hadn’t for a long time. I had hope, renewed perspective and more energy. The background music to life was back ON.
But it wasn’t only a matter of balancing body/brain chemistry. All the excruciating work of confronting trauma began to reward me with more inner peace, rather than the rocky road it took to get there. Sure, I still wrangle with worry, perfectionism, paranoia…and a brain that bullies when I could use more compassion, yet seeing clearly where those defenses were born has helped me put them into perspective rather than their running the show.
Therapy not only helped me see that my mind can be quite the misery-making machine, it’s allowed me to reprogram with more positive possibilities. Previously, I believed whatever my mind told me was true, and since I inherited a fear-based bias that generally imagines the worse outcomes, I couldn’t help but feel angry and depressed! I’m the only one in charge of my mind which I now watch 24/7.
ALL feelings are temporary and better left to be felt and released, rather than endlessly analyzed and interpreted – or put on a hierarchy of how evolved (or not) we are for having the feeling in the first place. The kinder I am to myself, the less chance a negative emotion can capture and consume me.
The excavation into the origins of inter-generational trauma has been an essential part of my growth and I’m grateful to have gone down the rabbit hole of healing. From the rubble of a legacy of broken hearts begins rebirth.
Not everyone needs therapy or should embark on such a journey. Again, we all have different backgrounds, needs, and paths to growth.
I no longer see my life as something to fix – but rather a messy mysterious miracle to behold and let unfold. My goal is no longer to simply be ‘happy,’ but rather to participate wholeheartedly in whatever arises in me and around me.
I’m ready to put the past in its place and to rest, recover and discover who I am NOW, in this moment. To forgive. To let go. And to have more f*ckin FUN.
Starting with little Sophie, our 4-month-old puppy lover…
What a difference doggies make! Even in the darkest days, LOVE is always what’s needed most.
As Easter approaches, my hope is for everyone to experience a profound sense of spring renewal and rebirth. Here’s to brighter times ahead for all!
*Please share any insights, war stories from last year, rebirths… I love hearing from you!
Thank you for sharing! I loved reading.
Thank you so much Tory for tuning in and for the kind words ?
Thank you Adele for sharing your experience and reminding us we are not alone. You continue to inspire me and give me hope ♥️ Also! Love your new family picture ☺️ So happy Sophie came to your lives.
Haha glad you like our family portrait 😉 And thank you so much for tuning in and for the kind words ?
Adele, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I went through much a similar one going through perimenopause. The worst was all the crying jags for no particular reason other than just feeling miserable! You are SO brave and honest to be sharing the shadow of this time of life. I know your many clients will appreciate it. I know I do and thank you for it. You’re a true gem and I’m SO glad you’re back in the game!! Love and light…
Tina, you are the best and I deeply appreciate your support ? I’m glad you too have moved through the shadow side of this time and hopefully have more joy moving forward as well. Love and light to you too! x
Adele, so happy to hear of your freedom from the past and the fun you are allowing into your life now– may that grow and multiply into joy. You are so brave to share your truths as they unfold and you are a such an honest human– i take my hat off to you for your depth. I love you dearly.
Coming from you, that means a lot to me ? Thank you and I love you ?
I agree that often women are told to hide their struggles and give the impression that they are perfect, but I love your phrase “messy mysterious miracle.” Thank you for sharing this and bringing the honesty!
YES, our lives are much more of a messy mysterious miracle than perfectly packaged. Thank you. Let the adventure unfold!
Thank you Merry! Love YOU ?
Just beautiful! Being on this journey as your friend, you are a force to be reckoned with! XOX
Ah I love you Chiper!! ??
Bella!!! Beautiful read my love??
I especially liked the end…Yes, there’s more to life
than ‘happy’ there’s learning to appreciate
the process on the journey ?
If life is but a dream, or “road trip”
then, let’s pack our favorite snacks(& SAMe?),
turn up the good feeling music and adore, laugh and share with our favorite animals & people,
so we can have the ride of our lives!
Let the adventures unfold….anytime, anyhow!
Yaaaas! I love that sweet song road-trip vision. Count me IN. Let the adventure begin! ?
Happy Easter Adele. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you Ellen, Happy Easter! Appreciate the kind words ?
You’re a beautiful writer and an even more beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing so deeply ❤️
Thank you so much Rebecca ??
So well spoken! The roller coaster of emotions and crazy thinking is indescribable to those not at this life point. Thank you for sharing! So happy to se your healing. Love always
I hear you! Many people describe this time in a woman’s life as one where many things come to light and become conscious. Maybe the the ‘crazy thinking’ and emotions were always there, but now they’re coming to the surface to be related to in a different more mature and loving way? Much to think about – When our minds aren’t going crazy haha 😉
Sweet thoughtful Adele…thank you for the time, our most precious asset, you graciously took to share.
The amount of thought and compassion and time you took makes my heart and tummy physically warm.
I have felt and experienced SO MUCH of what you have…it reminds me of why empathy for our fellow man is so important. We are all traveling the same roads, and we can have no idea of what others are thinking, feeling & experiencing within their own minds and souls, and yet, we must KNOW it is torn from the same whole cloth.
I have friends who have completed this same type of therapy with much success, while I myself have been in and out of therapy my entire life, reconnecting when I am struggling with something and I so appreciate the objective, educated view point.
I turned 50 during the pandemic and I too have worried about the oncoming CHANGE ahead, yet I am at this time, in a very normal range, hormonally speaking.
I applaud you and I reach out for your hand across the Covid Chasm, to say I am with my friend…right here:)
Adele, thank you so much for sharing your personal thoughts and experiences! I can completely relate to the menopause stuff, hit me like a ton of bricks out of the blue. (The hot flashes are debilitating!) I agree, it is not spoken of very much but hopefully that will change with brave women such as yourself who are willing to speak up. My relief from terrible hot flashes and terrible sleep came from finally giving up caffeine and most of my alcohol. (I’m willing to suffer an occasional hot flash and poor sleep for a really good glass of red wine, lol!) And I also take a lot of Chinese herbs and do weekly acupuncture. Like you say, we each have to find what works for us. I’m glad to hear you are doing better. Keep up the great work, and thank you again for love lotion and words of love. Monica
So glad you found what works for you Monica! I hear acupuncture and herbs work for a lot of women. Funny, once I started the Sam-e, I could finally have wine again! It also helped me sleep. Maybe something to try? If not, I hear you and agree that a good glass of wine is worth it at times! 😉
Renee this message brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes I feel a little raw after posting something so personal. Thank you so much for being such a beautiful sensitive soul. I’m glad we can take this journey together and look forward to more mutual sharing along the way. Much love ?