This time last year, I questioned if I'd ever have a natural period again. Sometimes I felt like an idiot for thinking I could change more than a decade of hormonal chaos by just making lots of little changes. I believed in the process and I trusted my body's cues, but I just couldn't actually imagine one day getting a period. Maybe I should have just taken the Pill or HRT like my doctors said. It lifted my spirits to think that one day I'd be able to look back and say to another girl in the same sea of confusion, 'You're not the only one, you're doing the right things and it just takes time. Trust your body, it's working for you.' But in my mind, I couldn't help but question if I'd ever reach that day. I did, and it's vindicating. Our stories are all going to be different, but they share one thing in common. Your body is working for you! And it's incredible to see and feel it happen.
Stress, sleep, food, body image and synthetic steroids (the Pill) are all things that affected my hormones. If I just looked at the Pill alone, this helped me to see that I had to be patient. I'd deliberately manipulated my hormones for years. I'd need time to adjust.
As a young girl, I barely had 18 months of natural cycles. Not long enough to develop a proper cycle.
Then I had 12 years on the Pill, shutting off my natural cycle. (Ironically, my doctor put me on the Pill as a shy 15 year old to cure my acne.)
Finally, I stopped the Pill. After 27 months off the Pill, I still hadn't had a period. More than 2 years after stopping the Pill, and nothing. For the first year, I ignored it. For the second year, I made it my number one priority.
And then - a period (!?!)
61 days later, another period.
29 days later, a third period. (This time, the most agonising one of my life.)
24 days later, another.
If this is TMI for you, you're missing the point. It's not about me and my body. It's just one case of the incredible ability of the human body to balance and heal, even after years of disarray. Even if you have to battle to keep the doubt at bay, that's ok. You're another day closer, it's just difficult to see it while you're in the middle. I'm stronger and healthier than I've ever been. Happier, too. I'm excited because I realise that only after I have a proper foundation of hormones in place can I properly conquer my bigger projects for my mind and body. What did I do to prioritise my health and turn this around? There are many factors and tools that I used to rebuild my foundation: sleep, meditating, lab testing, seeking multiple medical opinions, consulting leaders in the field, charting my basal temperature, food choices, eating patterns, supplements, sun and light, altering work habits, switching off, putting on body fat, recalibrating my self image, training, resting, walking, and the big one - tracking and interpreting my body's bio cues. I'll delve into my experiences in detail one by one - I'm just deciphering my copious notes into something clear, practical and useful first!
You have to be the leader of your health. Nobody else is going to wake up each day thinking 'how can I make you better, stronger, healthier, happier ...?' and then make that happen. Not your doctor, not your coach, not even your family and friends. Others can guide you, but only you can lead. Yes, it's far easier to put your head in the sand and ignore the things that you'd rather not see. I tried that, and let me tell you, you can't out-train or 'hack' a state of hormonal dysfunction. It catches up to you, but only if you let it. It's up to you to stand up and face the things that you've ignored for too long. You body is made to thrive, so don't compromise for any less.