Yours Hormonally, Louisa
The eve before my 13th birthday, my Dad made a big spectacle of tightening the hinges of my door. I have a photo of him, taken on the disposable camera I had got to document my big day, bent down with a thumbs up, marking my coming of age with strengthening my door hinges. He was adamant that the moment I turned 13, like Kevin the Teenager from the Harry Enfield show, my personality would shift dramatically and I’d start slamming doors on an hourly basis.
I let my parents down in this area. My hormones remained neutral throughout my teenage years and I’d only exhibit stereotypical teenage moodiness at times like when my parents wouldn’t let me get my nose pierced. When I was 17, I chose to go on the contraceptive pill. I was once again warned by health professionals and my mother that my body may change, my hormones may go haywire, and I’d need to ensure I monitor all the changes to make sure this pill was right for me. Once again, I let everyone down by remaining exactly the same.
Conversations about contraception were dominated by the ghoulish tales of what it had done to my friends. They would bond over the hellish experiences of the implant, swap stories of feeling like they may strangle their partners, and then look over to me, expecting me to share my own personal horror story. They would smile politely when I told them I’ve been on the same pill for almost ten years, with no tales of woe, no pregnancy scares, and no hormonal flare ups. I disappointed them in my normality, and I selfishly felt left out of a secret club that I had no business being in and no one wanted to be in anyway.
My hormones quietly let me get on with my life, until one particularly fateful evening in 2014 when my family home caught on fire. What followed was a series of events that felt like an EastEnders storyline – suicides, illnesses, betrayal. From then on, I began to feel… different. A bubbling under the surface I’d never felt before. My periods were heavier, achier, longer. My mind was frazzled during my period. I couldn’t even look at The Notebook DVD cover before bursting into tears. And on the days I wasn’t bleeding, I was stressed, anxious, nervous to go around a corner in case something else was waiting to trip me up. After a visit to the doctors, I was diagnosed with PTSD. My hormones were having a field day.
After some gentle therapy, and years to heal, the PTSD passed, but my hormones decided they liked their new role so decided to stick around. Every bleed I grew paranoid, emotional, and convinced that I was doing everything wrong and everyone hated me. I’d hug a pillow at my desk to try and ease the aches. I cursed my smug former self for being so goddamn cocky about being ‘normal’ and promised if I ever got a time machine I would kick her in the shin. Paracetamol rarely helped, and I grew tired of dreading the week of the month where I would become a Medusa version of my former self.
Last year, a friend let me try CBD for the first time – and to say it’s changed my life is an understatement. I finally felt level again during my period. I felt like myself. There is no immediate difference or change other than feeling ‘even’. It naturally guides me through each month, like a gentle hug of a loved one whispering in my ear you’re doing great, sweetie, and allows me to breathe a sigh of relief that I no longer have to feel like I have done in the past. My hormones are tamed into submission, and I am allowed to be myself again.
PTSD may have caused my hormones to rear their moody heads, but CBD has caused them to treat me with a little more respect. So for that, I thank you.
OHNE Social Community Lead
Header image via @sterling_analogue