“I am just hormonal.” I have said this more times in my life than I can remember. At least once a month since age thirteen and about 30 times a day during my pregnancies, breastfeeding, Tuesdays, etc. Per Merriam Webster
A hormone is a natural substance that is produced in the body and that influences the way the body grows or develop.
Let the weight of that sink in for a second. Hormones control everything from hunger to physical attraction. They are medically for lack of a better word, legit. So why do we (especially as women) use the term to explain away true feelings, both physical and emotional? Its as if the feeling is less reasonable if there is a potential hormonal component, when in fact the opposite may be true. Being pregnant my emotions are running higher than usual. Not to say I am the most even keeled person the rest of the time, but currently my toddler and I are vying for most emotionally stable. Spoiler alert, he’s winning.
In my experience the hardest part of this is the anxiety/snap/guilt cycle as I like to call it. I am worried about _______ which could be anything from “I wonder if my son does have an ear infection?” to “In the event of zombie apocalypse, what could I do to help with survival?” Next something somewhat irritating happens: an entire meal thrown on the floor by my toddler or an empty gas tank when I am running late (I hate being late!) The inevitable annoying parts of life that just sort of happen. And I snap with a wayyyy bigger reaction that probably is appropriate. Then the guilt sinks in. Guilt is actually the worst. Anxiety feeds off of guilt. “I am such a terrible mother. Why don’t I have more patience?” “If I were more organized, I would never run out of gas.” To make myself feel better, I will make an excuse like “Ugh, I am just so hormonal.” Why yes I am. I am growing a human. Is that an excuse to lose my cool constantly? Of course not, but it does not mean my feelings silly or unfounded.
I fully believe that feeling like hormonal complaints are invalid is a core reason anxiety, depression, post-partum anxiety/depression, breastfeeding related hormonal disorders, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, thyroid conditions, the list goes on are under diagnosed/treated in women. We, especially mothers, think we should just handle it. I am in full support of pharmacological treatment for true disorders, especially in combination with therapy. I do believe however, that we could do a lot of good simply by admitting that our physical feelings of yuck and our emotions that we often blow off are valid. That its ok to have a hard time. Its ok to need help. Take Type One Diabetes for example. No one would say “I’m sorry your pancreas doesn’t produce insulin (a hormone), but you really should suck it up and stop being so hormonal.”
Step one is admitting, right?
Now this whole concept is a work in progress. Just ask my husband (Sorry, honey) But I think that if I can legitimize the reason behind my anxiety and guilt, I may actually gain more control and become a little more rational. I mean not completely rational. I am not expecting a personality transplant or anything. Would I ever tell someone else that their feelings were invalid even if I didn’t understand them? Of course not. We do it to ourselves constantly. My challenge to myself and to you is to give credence to how you are feeling. I am more than just hormonal.
How do hormones impact you? What can you do to legitimize your feelings?