What Life Is Like For Women Living With A Hormonal Imbalance

Living With Unpredictable Hormones Is A Balancing Act

Struggling with your hormones can make you feel like you're at war with yourself.

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There are a lot of ways that being a woman is a lot more difficult than being a man (and vice versa), but when I'm asked to say which part of being a woman is the absolute most difficult, I would personally have to say dealing with the erratic hormones that come along with being female.

Although every human has hormones and every human can suffer due to those hormones (hellooo, pubescent acne!), woman go through a lot more hormonal changes a lot more often than men. And although this is just a normal part of life that women have to learn to handle, it doesn't make the hormones any less frustrating or upsetting.

Some women don't have any issues with their hormones. They menstruate normally, their metabolism works fine and they rarely feel moody or unable to control their emotions. Some women, like me, aren't so lucky and they feel the burden of their unpredictable hormones quite often.

I have struggled with my hormones since I hit puberty.

My mom found me curled up in the corner of my room sobbing one time just because I was PMSing. I actually cry uncontrollably quite often due to my hormones. I've cried because I accidentally put tomatoes in the fridge, I've cried because I didn't have enough time to bake a cake and just last month I was getting a cup of water in my kitchen and all of a sudden became so uncontrollably sad that I couldn't stop crying.

That's just a few of the many issues I've had to deal with due to my erratic hormones.

I've had weight gain and difficulty losing said weight. Once my hormones become more balanced, I lose weight easily and effortlessly and don't gain it back easily. I need to be on a very specific birth control, or else my hormones will go insane, and I need to be on birth control, or else my hormones will go insane. I get migraines during certain times in my cycle and I will feel inexplicably tense just because my hormones have me on edge. I developed early onset adult acne when I was 19 because my body produces too many androgens to handle. I had cystic, painful acne all of my face and back that took months to finally fix.

This past winter was the most troublesome time for my hormones.

I was tired every day, but I was unable to fall asleep at night. I had heartburn every day for three months straight and it would be triggered by anything. If I ate the wrong thing, drank the wrong thing, even if I exercised, I instantly got heartburn.

My acne started acting up again as well, to the point that I had my dermatologist increase my medicine dosage to try and balance it out. I gained a ton of weight, more than I ever had, even though I was walking 5 or more miles a day, only drank water and ate exactly the same as I did months previously. And the worst of all was how moody I'd became.

I lost interest in everything. Nothing excited me anymore, and nothing felt enjoyable anymore. I cried in my closet a lot (I don't know why I picked the closet; I honestly think I just liked how dark it was in there). I was also angry all the time. I felt angry at the entire world and I really didn't like myself. I felt unable to do anything, completely useless, while other's around me seemed to have their lives together and on track.

My hormones have improved a lot since, mostly because I've gone to doctors and because I've started taking one million vitamins and supplements a day. When I can't sleep, I watch ASMR videos to relax me (I know it sounds weird but it works, OK?), and when I'm super tired I ingest a lot of B vitamins to get me through the day.

My weight has improved a lot, but it's still a work in progress. My moods are still pretty erratic, but I've gotten better at taking a deep breath and reminding myself that it's not how I actually feel. My methods aren't always what a "perfect" lifestyle blogger would recommend, but I'm living a real life on a real-life schedule, and sometimes it's necessary to do what I can to feel better.

Being a girl is hard for many reasons, but the constant battle with our erratic hormone's is one of the hardest.

Pill, medicines, supplements, diet, exercise and more are necessary when finding a balance in our bodies and our minds. It also takes months of experimenting with different methods to finally feel like we're in control.

I remember going to yoga one night last March after I went to the doctor and changed my medicine to try and fix my hormones. Since I was feeling better, I finally motivated myself to leave my apartment without even being obligated to do so, and it felt so good to have my body and mind so in sync. I remember thinking, "This is the first time I've felt like I'm actually in control of myself in months."

Struggling with your hormones can make you feel like you're at war with yourself. Gaining control of unpredictable hormones is hard, but not at all impossible.

Although it takes time, effort (a LOT of effort) and many trips to various doctors, finally striking the right balance in your body feels like one of the greatest victories of all.

Cover Image Credit:

Jolie Delia

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The Things Nobody Told Me About Depression, But I Really Wish Somebody Would Have

I was diagnosed with depression six months ago. These are some of the things that I wish I had known sooner.

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There are a ton of things about having depression that no one will tell you. For example, something that no one ever told me about depression is that I have it.

I was diagnosed with depression in December of 2018 - just six months ago. But my therapist tells me that, based on what I've said about my mental state, I've likely had depression since elementary school, if not earlier.

The fact that I've had depression for so long and not know about it only goes to show how easy it is for one to live with mental health issues and never know it.

The fact that I apparently developed depression at such an early age only goes to show that mental health issues do not exclusively affect people only after they have lived and experienced all that life can throw at them.

The fact that I have had a pretty good life - a loving family, success in academics, never experiencing severe poverty - only goes to show that mental health issues are not always caused by shitty life experiences and traumas.

These are all things that no one ever told me about depression, and things that I never knew until I got to college and took a psychology class focused on mental health issues.

I did not know that depression can hide for years without you ever knowing about it.

I did not know that depression can manifest even in young children.

I did not know that depression can affect even those living happy lives.

These are things no one tells you about depression.

These are things that I had to learn by myself, and things that I am still learning how to compromise with the reality of my own life experience.

It's no one person's fault that I didn't know these things, it was the fault of a societal system that didn't know it needed to be concerned with such things. The early 2000s, when my young brain was developing and learning how to cope with the world, were not exactly focused on mental health in children. By the time people realized that children were suffering from depression and anxiety at earlier and earlier ages, I had already been living with my own issues for years, and I thought that my experiences and interpretations of the world around me was normal - that this was how everybody felt, that this was all normal. I didn't think that the symptoms that our counselors and teachers warned about at the beginning of each school year applied to me.

Nobody told me that depression isn't always sadness and crying.

Nobody told me that sometimes depression is a creeping grey numbness that clouds your brain. That sometimes it is a blurring and a muting of your emotions until you feel nothing at all. That such nothingness is worse than any level of sadness you would ever feel.

Nobody told me that depression isn't constant.

Nobody told me that I would have good days amid the bad ones. That every now and then, a day in a week or a day in a month or a day in a blue moon, I would have all of my emotions sharp and bright and my smiles would be as soft as they were genuine and I would relish the taste of the air around me. That these good days don't invalidate the bad days and mean that I don't have depression after all.

Nobody told me that once I was diagnosed with depression it would simultaneously feel like a weight had been lifted and like a punch to the gut all at once.

Nobody told me the relief that I would feel at the explanation and the knowledge that I might not always have to live like this. That I would also feel my understanding of my life flipped upside down, because if the way I have been experiencing the world is because of a disease, then what does that mean for the validity of my life and who I am?

Nobody told me that there would be a part of me that feared to get better, because who would I be without depression? Without this parasite that has somehow been such a constant throughout my life?

Nobody told me that I would begin to question which parts of my personality are "real" and which parts of me are the depression?

And if those two things can even be separate? And if so, will I ever be able to say I am better, if these parts of me developed through depression are still a part of me once I am "recovered"?

Nobody told me how scary that thought would be.

But what people have told me is that recovery is possible. They have told me that life gets better. That those good days that I used to find - unexpected yet welcome - could become my normal day. That I can be my own person, separate from my depression, and I can grow stronger, and happier, and more vibrant and more driven and MORE.

These are the things that people have told me, and these are the things that I remind myself of.

Nobody told me how lonely depression can be, but I hope that this article might make you feel a little less alone, and a little more prepared, and a little more understood.

I am not an expert. I still do not know everything, and my experience is my own, and in no way represents a majority or speaks on behalf of everyone out there suffering from depression. But I know now that I am not alone in my own experiences, and I hope that whoever is reading this, if you need it, maybe now you can know that you are not alone in yours.

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