The last year or so, I wake up in the mornings feeling sad. Not about anything in particular, but I just have a sense of sadness that rushes over me as I force myself out of bed. It’s not every day, and it’s not all the time. It’s just that for a few hours of many mornings, I feel depressed. I have journaled off and on about my experience, trying to pinpoint exactly what it is that causes my swing in mood. I’ve never been able to find a source, though. After a few hours of “life” in the morning, the melancholy lifts and I can continue my day. Thankfully, having 5 young children forces me out of bed in the morning, and keeps me from becoming too wrapped up in my own problems. I honestly don’t “see” anything to be sad about–I have a great marriage, healthy kids (yes, there are a lot of them, and it is a challenge at times), and an overall wonderful life. About 6 months ago, I had a bunch of tests done, including thyroid, just to see if anything showed up as a “red flag,” but everything was normal. I have done Whole30′s to see if it was diet-related, but with no real improvement. I have increased my time with the Lord, getting up early and spending extra time in prayer and reflection. And while that is enjoyable and something that I strongly feel benefits me in many ways, the sadness continued. I have tried “de-stressing” and forcing myself to take breaks during the day and going out with friends to help break the monotony of parenting, homeschooling and being the wife of a Superman with many dietary needs. And those things are all good, but again–not a cure for whatever it is that plagues me. I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that my circumstances in life are just stressful and that I need to figure out a way to get through each morning.
Then, a few months ago, other “symptoms” started to pop up. My menstrual cycles began to fluctuate (after being consistently regular since we changed our diet 2 years ago), I started to have a hard time falling asleep at night and began to wake up at least 5 or 6 times. Headaches plagued me off and on the 2nd half of my cycle, and I felt tired a lot, especially in the afternoons (most likely due to my lack of quality sleep). And finally, about a month ago, any time I was resting I could feel my heart pounding as though it were going to leap out of my chest. Trying to fall asleep at night was a disaster, as all I could focus on was the incredibly loud heartbeat pounding in my throat.
I started to wonder if something was off hormonally. I have a history of low Progesterone, and when trying to get pregnant with our oldest son, ended up on Progesterone suppositories to help me maintain my pregnancy. I have researched bio-identical hormones and found a doctor in our area who specializes in women’s health and hormone issues. So yesterday I had an appointment with her. After hearing all my symptoms, she said she didn’t even feel the need to run a blood test to confirm that I have officially entered Perimenopause (which, of course, can last for 10 years), and have low Progesterone (and suggested I take a low dose of natural topical Progesterone cream). She also recommended that I take a low dose of DHEA to help with mood stabilization, and energy levels. Today I’m going in to my general practitioner to request both progesterone and DHEA blood tests just to verify and to see where I am on the spectrum.
So, we’ll see. I have no idea if these bio-identical hormones will improve the situation, but I’m willing to give it a try. I know there is some controversy that surrounds this type of therapy, and I can understand why. I am always open, however, to alternative therapies, especially when I know that our experience with western medicine has often left us feeling…frustrated. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
My question for you is: Have you had experience with hormone replacement therapy? If so, has it been positive or negative?