Health

How My Hormones Caused My Depression

HowMyHormonesCausedMyDepression-wholeheartyhappySounds like I’m using my hormones as a scapegoat, right? That’s exactly how I started to feel too.

I have been dealing with symptoms of anxiety and depressions for some time now. If I was truly honest, possibly on and off throughout my life. But, the reality of it is that we all do at times. Within the last couple of years, it increased. At times where it felt almost consuming. That’s not what led me to get help, though. Odd? Maybe. Here’s the thing. I’m a nurse. I have worked in the medical field since I could (at 18yo) and I don’t go seeking medical attention. I am the one who gets sought out for medical attention. That’s how it’s always been. Plus, and anyone with a nurse in the family will understand, I am not about to go to the doctor unless it’s life or death.

But what finally led me to seek out some assessment and treatment was my throat swelling. I just knew something was wrong with my thyroid. It was obviously swollen and I felt as though there was an obstruction that caused difficulty with both swallowing and breathing. It, of course, caused tons of worry and anxiety (especially being as there is a history thyroid complications in our family) which worsened my symptoms of shortness of breath and just created this awful loop leading swiftly to a downward spiral. I had lab work done and an ultrasound, both with unremarkable results. It brought some relief, but still didn’t explain why I was having this complication along with many other symptoms I had experienced for a long time. All of those things just pointed directly to my thyroid being the culprit. But with the results of my testing, I knew that it was not the problem. Now, I had no cause, no source, nothing to blame my symptoms on. You would think that knowing my butterfly-shaped gland was well (despite large in size and having a benign nodule) would have made me feel content, happy even. I will admit that there was a sense of relief after realizing that my thyroid was not in distress. The problem was, my next thought was that my symptoms were psychosomatic in nature. That maybe I was being a hypochondriac. That it was possible my anxiety had gotten the better of me and caused me to actually feel physical symptoms that were less intense in reality; or possibly non-existent at all.  I began feeling slightly depressed about this possibility. How had I let my emotions get the best of me to this extent? But, I just had this gut feeling that there was something up. There had to be a causative factor.

HowMyHormonesCausedMyDepression-Pin-WholeheartyhappyI am only 27 years old, but feel more like 72. I hurt all day. Some days worse than others. I am so tired; All. The. Time. Unnaturally so. Physically, mentally, and emotionally tired. I realize that I have two small children, a family, a job, etc., but I see folks manage these things daily with seemingly no sweat on their brow. I have become more tearful, irritable, and the mood swings can have a way of rearing their ugly head. This was just the start. So, I sought out a specialist. After a lot of education, more lab work, and plucked apart all of my symptoms, we found the problem…my hormones; along with some vitamins and minerals. As soon as I found out my lab results and paired it with the education that the practitioner went over, it all made sense. It was like I suddenly felt this wave of relief. We found the problem and now had a plan to solve it.

My iron levels (and all testing related to such) were all extremely low, as was my vitamin D, progesterone, prenenolone, DHEA, cortisol, and my thyroid levels were on the low side of normal, along with others. The specialist made mention that some of my results were equivalent to what a 70 year old woman would be experiencing, while others even hinted that my body was possibly trying to go in to early menopause. No wonder I felt all out-of-sorts.

I have been taking replacements for several weeks now and have noticed some changes. I rest better at night (so long as the kids sleep good too 😉 ) and feel less fatigued. I also feel as though I have some improvement in my mood, which I hope will continue. I feel optimistic about it. During part of my cycle, I stop taking the progesterone for several days each month. I am currently within that episode as I type. Let me tell you, I can feel the toll my body and mind is having right now. Whether it be because I am not taking the replacement for these several days, the fact that mother-nature is trying to pull me to the dark side, or a combo of both; I notice the difference. I start back on progesterone tomorrow and am curious to see how I feel.

See my post: Discerning Depression

I want to share this story because I know I am not alone. I know I cannot be the only woman that is suffering with mental, physical, and emotional symptoms that just seem to have no plausible explanation on the surface. Ones that make you feel as though you are on a cycling flywheel that has you scampering to find the stop button or exit sign. Ones that make you question your sanity at times because you know that there cannot be any possible reason that you could possibly feel the way you know you feel. A hormonal imbalance won’t be the cause for everyone, but it  seems as though it may have been for me. Finding that these imbalances existed gave me the ability to form a plan to find myself again. I hope to continue to see improvements in the future. I encourage others to educate themselves on what is going on with their body. Pay attention to it. It will tell you when something is up. And if you feel as though you need to have something further assessed, DO IT!

-Shawna

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49 thoughts on “How My Hormones Caused My Depression

      1. Thanks Amy! I replied to another comment of yours with a pretty extensive list. I hope it helps. Please let me know if you have questions!

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  1. You’re not alone, a lot of your symptoms I’ve had as well. It’s been a long struggle to balance my life and my health in terms of depression and anxiety. Two years ago I was diagnosed with anxiety and since then I have tried ways to cope as best I can. The gym helps for me and being active in general but I still have moments where I just don’t want to get out of bed. I feel your pain but you are proactive so I’m sure you will find your way. Hang in there and above all talking/writing helps so much as well, just get it out there. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ash! I love that you shared your struggles as well. It’s tough sometimes. I debated back and forth before even hitting “publish” on this because it’s difficult to even talk about at times. But I know that I am not the only one and that others need to know that they aren’t either.

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  2. Look, the worst thing you could do is bottle it up. Most don’t understand but there are many that do. Never feel like you can’t share your struggle because there are others out there that are thinking exactly as you are…I’m one 🙂

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    1. I went to a hormone specialist who did a complete workup. Initially I had a TSH, T4, CBC, BMP, UA. I also then followed up with an ultrasound and more labs: ACTH, Thyroid Antibodies, Morning and Evening Cortisol, Dihydrotesterone, Pregnenolone, Estradiol, Reverse T3, Testosterone, DHEA, Iodine, TPO antibodies, Free T4, Ferritin, Progesterone, Iron & TIBC. I believe that was everything. It was quite a bit, however most was taken at one time.

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I was instantly intrigued by the title because I always wondered if something like that was going on with me.I will definitely have to get checked out because I relate to this on such a real level. Reading this and other comments too, it’s crazy how much your hormones can truly effect you. Seriously, thank you. I needed this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad you could relate to the post. I hope that you receive news that helps to bring you some peace of mind and the ability to formulate a treatment plan. Just knowing the answer made me feel so much better. I plan to share more in the future regarding this to hopefully educate others.

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  4. Your vulnerability in sharing this is so beautiful and strong! The veil of shame that anxiety and depression tend to place on us can often mislead us to believe that we are weak if we need to reach out-rather than the strength and empowerment that comes through doing that. Love this.

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    1. I appreciate your kind words more than you know. Fear, shame, and misunderstanding all keep us from seeking proper treatment. It shouldn’t be that way. Thank you for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well Shawna,

    First of all, congratulations for your journey. It takes a LOT to accept that we’re not feeling ok and even more to seek for help. Beeing a mother of two myself (twins) I can tell you that every mom feels this way sometimes and it is normal and important to realize that its ok. Im happy for you you finally found what it was and how to feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Liza. I knew that being a mother of two would have challenges, and at first it could have been mostly attributed to the adjustment. Eventually, it became hard to continue to blame it on the adjustment and more likely that there was something else underneath. Thank you for stopping by and your words of encouragement.

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  6. Good for you for knowing in your gut something was off and seeking help. Sometimes, especially for women, I wonder if doctors think we’re exaggerating our symptoms and maybe don’t delve as deep as they should. Also, it’s easy to think “oh, life is just extra busy right now and I’m tired. This too shall pass” Thank-you for writing about your experience. You’re right, there are other women out there who are experiencing something similar. x

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  7. I’m glad you shared your story I think it will really speak to other women who are possibly going through the same thing . It’s crazy what our hormones can do to us, good thing you were able to figure it out.

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  8. its good you went to check it out – you have given me an idea to see the doc too just for a general once over..its been a while but its good you found out what you needed to do

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post about linking depression with imbalance of hormones. Sometimes we think that emotionally we are not coping up with surroundings but it is physically to be treated. Our brain and heart are made strong enough, it is just chemical imbalance in our body.

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  10. You are not alone to be going through all this. I have been feeling these symptoms since some years. But I always had put the blame on myself that I am just being lazy. My being physically, mentally and emotionally drained makes sense now. Amd it kinda feels scary now that I realize it can be a disease.
    xx

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    1. No need to be scared. If it is something of concern, voice it to your physician. Have it checked. Find a way to treat it. Don’t be scared of it; be determined to outdo it. 😉

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  11. It’s crazy to think that something like hormones can cause such an imbalance in your life and attitude. I’ve had some of these same symptoms and you’re not along. Thanks for sharing your story.

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