life Weekend

News, Feelings, Hormones, Etc

October 10, 2023

News and feelings and things

Thinking about what is going on in Israel with a heavy heart and thinking of everyone impacted. In South FL, a lot of my friends/colleagues have close ties to the country and it has to be so incredibly hard to watch and hear about from so far away.

It’s such an odd feeling when such devastation is occurring and yet the mundane details of your life just . . . continue as usual. I guess it was similar when COVID was first hitting in other places (like Italy) and yet everything was still normal here. It does make me truly appreciate and feel grateful for normal. Truly, one never knows when and how things will change and life can be upended in an instant. I really hope things improve quickly.

Normal Life

We had a really nice weekend. We didn’t do anything earth-shattering, but were definitely busy enough for a Josh-call weekend. The kids got flu shots, we hit the library, C played a soccer game, kids had piano/gymnastics, AND C had a friend over. I spent 2 hrs picking up the house on Sunday afternoon (while his friend was here + kids had screen time) but I did it while listening to podcasts so it was honestly kind of pleasant and satisfying. I even got the trash out of my CAR!! The only thing we didn’t fit in was a visit to the Halloween store. Ahh well. We have a couple of weeks.

So yes. Weird juxtaposition between normal life and very sad and terrible things going on across the globe. Just trying to stick to listen to my daily news source (Up First), support those who need it, but otherwise stay calm and focused the rest of life.

the right dose of news for me right now

PMDD Discussion

(TMI block; if you wish to avoid discussions of periods + mood swings, skip!)

I stopped my OCP (hormonal birth control) at the end of August because my migraines had been really intensifying and I wondered if it was playing a role. It turns out that YES, it was — I’ve had only one headache in the last month instead of dealing with one every 4 days or so. I was worried though because ~4 years ago when I first started the OCP, I did it mostly because I had major mood issues during the whole second half of my cycle (basically ovulation until the end of my period).

Well, I’ve survived a full cycle and honestly, I think I did much better than expected. The two things that helped me were:

  • AWARENESS of the cycle and my propensity towards low moods during certain times. I could find myself sinking into negative feelings at times but knowing my moods (and irritability) were probably being influenced by my hormonal milieu actually helped provide some perspective when I needed it.
  • RUNNING. Nature’s SSRI? Running — particularly at the higher mileage level I am doing right now — helps my mood and makes me calmer. I’m not saying it makes me *calm* necessarily, but it absolutely helps take the edge off. I’m sure other forms of cardio would probably be similar but the time outside feels therapeutic as well.

Obviously not trying to say these are universal fixes for everyone but I am really happy with how the last month went. NOT having frequent headaches was obviously a mood-booster in and of itself!

Also not saying I wouldn’t add additional modalities in the future if needed, including therapy or actual SSRIs (there is good evidence out there for luteal phase Zoloft). But happy with how things are so far.

Random Q:

Anyone have experience sending their child to an overnight camp (1-2 weeks) specifically for gymnastics or soccer? A expressed some interest in the former BUT I feel a little bit anxious about sending her to a camp that isn’t a known entity!


  • Reply Katie October 10, 2023 at 5:37 am

    I totally agree with you that the awareness around hormonal moods is incredibly helpful. I tend to get an “everything is hopeless” feeling the day before my period starts, and lately I’ve managed to just tell myself, it’s probably hormonal, don’t overthink it. It does help.

    I am in a bubble that no news penetrates, which has been the case for many years. Lately I’m starting to think I should keep up with a little news at least and I’m trying to do that by buying a Sunday newspaper to read. News coverage is so focused on the negative and also things outside of most people’s control… I swing back and forth on whether simply being aware does anyone any good, or should I only attempt more awareness so that I can do something, like donate to a charity most in need each week/month.

  • Reply Gillian October 10, 2023 at 7:21 am

    Glad you are feeling better! I definitely have some irritability with my cycle. This has gotten worse over my 40s, something I am planning to write about in the near future. There are real hormonal reasons for this and yes, just knowing what is going on helps. I too find exercise helps immensely. My low mood near my period is also super weather related. Period plus several days of rain and overcast weather are a really challenge for me. Since I can’t control the weather, I am working to find how to make this coincidence more tolerable. I am thinking getting outside despite the weather may be the answer.

  • Reply Omdg October 10, 2023 at 7:56 am

    Re hormones: I definitely noticed that I became moodier about a year ago at age 45. That plus unpredictable exsanguinating led me to start aygestin almost a year ago. Over the summer I started estrogen for hot flashes. It’s hard to say if that or the running or working hard at caring less has made me happier, but I haven’t had a period in almost a year and I am not sad about it at all. All of this is to say you may be into something.

  • Reply Lisa’s Yarns October 10, 2023 at 8:38 am

    The news out of Israel is so awful. My BIL was supposed to go there for work for his job in the military in November. Now that trip is canceled but I am relieved he wasn’t there a month earlier. It’s awful to see the news. It does remind us to be grateful for normal every day life.

    I am glad stopping birth control worked for your migraines! I thought I would never go on bc again but will be getting a Mirena IUD for perimenopausal reasons. I end up bleeding for almost 1/3 of the month and it’s getting very old. I am glad that women are more open about talking about these kind of things. I feel like there was such a veil of secrecy around periods when I was growing up. That seems to be changing and I think it’s great!

  • Reply jennystancampiano October 10, 2023 at 8:51 am

    Ah, the news. I usually don’t watch, because it makes me too depressed and anxious, and there’s nothing we can do about things going on halfway around the world. But, there’s an argument that we should be informed at least, which I usually am not. The news from Israel is unavoidable though- again, what can we do? It is good to at least appreciate how lucky we are – for all our complaints about this country, we live in a safe place.
    I’m glad your migraines have improved so much! When I was still getting my periods, the only moodiness was one day before, when I would find myself getting weirdly depressed- then I would realize my period was about to start and that explained everything. Now I have different hormonal issues, having gone through menopause. SIGH! Why are hormones so difficult?

  • Reply Elisabeth October 10, 2023 at 9:09 am

    The news from Israel – and, frankly, everywhere (earthquakes, floods, fires, terrorism) – is horrific. I also feel so…weird, just continuing on with life.
    On a smaller scale, a friend and neighbour passed suddenly (less than a week after diagnosis) from a brain tumor. He left a grieving wife and two kids. We’re doing all we can to help, but I feel so guilty that my life has to go on. Even sunny days I look up at their house and think how hard it must be to see sunshine and his garden – still growing – in the backyard. Shouldn’t the earth just stop spinning for each of our griefs? Ugh. Heavy topics.

    I’m so glad your headaches are better. I tried birth control products – from Mirena to Nuva Ring to various pills – and had issues with every single one, including horrible impacts on my mood. It’s so interesting/frustrating how different treatments work well for one person and terribly for another. But it sounds like you’ve found a good change for now and you’re open to pursuing other options if you struggle in the future. Thanks for sharing. I know women’s health is something we often don’t discuss openly and yet almost everyone has SOME challenge with regard to menstruation, fertility, etc. I know these conversations you’re having will definitely help people become more informed and feel less alone <3

  • Reply Claudia October 10, 2023 at 9:45 am

    Thanks for discussing PMDD! I also have a PMDD diagnosis and awareness and tracking (and therapy) helps so much. I’ve just accepted that the rhythms of life are going to be largely influenced by my hormones and try to schedule downtime/relaxation during LP and more challenging stuff during the FP whenever possible (not always). It helps that I have quite regular cycles. If you do too, planning around when you can is such a good, proactive tool. I mark the 7 days before my period off on my google calendar and kind of buckle up for it as best I can. I did try LP Prozac when I was initially diagnosed and it definitely helped attenuate the intensity. I came off it when TTC and the hormonal fluctuations have been less intense since giving birth, but they are still there and still annoying, so I would consider going back on it if it ramped up again.

  • Reply L. October 10, 2023 at 12:21 pm

    My son went to a 4-day overnight basketball camp and loved it. It was at a university campus about 2 hours away. He especially loved eating in the dining hall 😊

  • Reply KT October 10, 2023 at 4:09 pm

    Nodding along with the awareness piece of hormonal lows. I literally write it in my planner now and make sure to prioritize exercise, sleep and good food in the most intense part of my luteal phase. This management has worked well for me to date! Expecting to make adjustments as perimenopause gets real.

  • Reply Jen October 10, 2023 at 9:41 pm

    I actually went to tennis camp (sleepaway) at Williams and loved it!

  • Reply Cate October 11, 2023 at 2:37 am

    Arrgh, hormones!! Thank you for sharing because it’s so helpful to know we are not alone. For me, regular tablet birth control gave me terrible migraines, tried briefly in my 20s and had to abandon them. But now I am drawing closer to 50, and transdermal estrogen patches have saved my mental health from sinking to a dangerous place, and actually reduced my migraines also. I recognise that different approaches work for different people but sharing in case it might help someone else. So pleased for you Sarah that the migraines have eased up!

  • Reply Kat October 11, 2023 at 1:57 pm

    Thank you for mentioning the horrible war that is going on here (Israel)since early Saturday morning. It’s devastating and we are not on the other side of this yet, and the number of deaths is already so overwhelming.

    Going on with my life is barely possible right now, but yet we must.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 11, 2023 at 2:28 pm

      Thinking of you and sending thoughts of safety + peace.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.