We’ve all done it: we’ve slammed the doors, screamed ourselves into a sweat-induced mess, name-called, thrown things – you name it. For the most part, we feel pretty crap (weak, even) afterwards; where our outbursts almost seem like a victory to the person on the receiving end of it because they know they’ve done enough to get us riled up (which in itself is enough to get us going…again).
Mood swing, outbreaks, fatigue, anxiety, reduced brain power, pains, depression, and cramps are all part and parcel of being members of the womb club. For the most part, we can’t control these anomalies, and it’s sometimes taken for granted how much crap we have to deal with. We raise our voices once only to be told to quite down, that it’s “that time of the month”. Our diets and body temperature fluctuate no-end. It’s a psychological battleground to find the balance between the war zone with our bodies and the peace we crave for our minds.
The love/hate relationship I have with my hormones peaked late 2015 when I was placed on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after having my thyroid removed (thyroids produce hormones that regulate the metabolism, heart function, digestive function, muscle control, brain development and bone maintenance). That, in combination with the contraceptive pill, sent my body into hormonal overdrive.
There was one particular outburst where I thought; “this is it. I’ve hit the deep end”. I was so enraged that I could almost feel the molten rock beneath the earth come out through my ears and I thought I’d lost the plot.
Once calmed down I hit an incredible low. I didn’t want to be bursting out at other people – which is something that’s not naturally in my character. I was low, I was high and it felt like my mental health was walking down a never-ending jagged path lined with deep potholes and sharp sudden bends. Science has shown us that when our bodies are getting ready to menstruate (i.e. when we’re hitting peak hormonal-revenge), the chemistry in our brains actually change during this time.
Speaking to Vice, Nick Panay, the Chairman of the National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome describes this as “a condition which manifests with distressing physical, behavioural and psychological symptoms that are not due to organic or underlying psychiatric disease”; so no; you’re not going crazy.
It’s In Your Control
What I have learned about artificially induced hormone rages is that we have the power to control the outbursts…even if it doesn’t seem that way at the time. I’ve discovered that the simple method of counting backwards from 10 gives me enough time to evaluate the situation and ask myself “is this REALLY worth blowing a fuse over?” Normally, it isn’t. Helpguide.org is a useful website to learn different breathing methods for when you really just can’t cope. Don’t forget to get some ‘me’ time too. Personal headspace is as important as spending time with friends. This clever app will help you stay on top of your mindfulness during stressful episodes.
When it becomes hard to find your way out of the downward spiral caused by an overwhelming buildup of hormones, stress and anxiety, try turning to music. Sound healing is the use of certain frequencies and waves to help facilitate shifts in our brainwaves and promote relaxation. It doesn’t work for everyone, but I find it incredibly useful and will often take 10 minutes out of the day to sit, be still, and listen to relaxing music (what’s more, it can be done at your desk) This is my personal favourite.
Exercise (interval training)
Exercise is the last thing on your mind when you’ve hit an earth-shattering rage, but the release of endorphins will flood your mind and body with happy feelings. Exercise, in general, is great for balancing hormones because it reduces inflammation, can help you maintain a healthy weight, lowers stress, helps regulate your appetite, and aids in getting better sleep. So, next time you tell someone to run for the hills because they’ve said something they shouldn’t have; join them.
And remember: your body and your mind are wonderful things. Even if they act like spoilt brats sometimes.