Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Could your insomnia be caused by your hormones?

When I was poorly and before I had my hysterectomy, I would often have sleeping issues which would leave me oversleeping (sometimes even needing to sleep during the day) and then the opposite, where I would often wake up with a start, and would then be awake with for several hours. The result would be an inability to cope with the day ahead, and then a compulsion to sleep, and so the cycle goes on . If you've ever suffered from insomnia you will be familiar with this pattern, which can often leave you despairing and reaching for sleeping tablets, or worse, alcohol which has the added ability to wake you suffering from dehydration. Sometimes I would wake with a racing heart and  sometimes my mind would be going over and over on an endless loop as the adrenaline flooded my system, and fuelled my sense of impending doom.

After reading and learning about hormones and discovering that I had a hormonal illness, I found a perfect solution to my insomnia, and that is natural progesterone. My  body was clearly having issues maintaining equilibrium, and so I used this amazing medicine to help me with my sleeping problems, particularly if I awoke in the early hours. To make sure however, that it wasn't only me that this could work for, I just conducted the same experiment on a friend to be sure that it wasn't  just a happy coincidence.

This particular friend is one of my 'hormonal sisters' and has had health issues for sometime with PMS, mood swings and crippling insomnia which again would leave her suffering from exhaustion, and would even enhance her mood swings. As an experiment, I asked her to use some Progesterone with a small snack before bed, and then again if she awoke in the night which she did. By Day 1 her sleeping had already improved, and by day 2 and 3, she was astonished by her new sleep pattern. She even noticed that the 'quality' of her sleep had improved and she was able to sleep more soundly and deeply. This I might add was after several weeks of lying awake and catastrophizing, which I can assure you is deeply unpleasant and has the ability to ruin your life. I'm delighted that it has worked for her and it adds weight to my book 'I blame the Hormones' where I explain perfectly how hormones are often overlooked and completely misunderstood. Another bonus to this is that her PMS this month is also non-existent, which at times was severe and debilitating and had required medical intervention.

Before you use natural progesterone, which you can by easily online, you should always have a chat with your GP as some women are intolerant to both, the natural and synthetic kind. However, if you have been suffering from any hormonal issues, you can always give it a try and should ask your doctor for a prescription. The particular brand I use is called CYCLOGEST and has the added bonus of being cheaper, and can work within the first hour of using. The only side effect is a little gastric wind, but it is in my experience that this soon passes the more your body gets used to the suppository. The  progesterone cream can be purchased easily enough, and you rub it into the skin where it is easily metabolized and can lessen any troublesome symptoms, particularly pre-menstrual mood swings.

For further reading on the miracle that is our hormones, I would take look at an amazing website by an amazing lady (Sonya),at where you can find tons of information about women's health issues, and where there is even a television channel for this sole cause!

Please let me know your thoughts on this topic and let me know if it works for you, Suzi, AKA Caroline Church x

Friday, 9 January 2015

Can Cannabis be medicinal?

As an activist and writer, I am involved in lots of different forums from all different countries which have been vital when I've been researching, but also have the added bonus of putting me in touch with other sufferers. It is so helpful to know when you are poorly that you are not alone and these forums have been essential in my recovery and obtaining vital information. Sufferers can also swap coping strategies and the latest findings, which sometimes includes  medical text and available treatments.

Time and time again the subject of cannabis arises and whether it can be used for medicinal purposes, particularly depression and emotional mood disorders. Here's my story and why I don't think it should be used if you have a depressive illness.

I know some people use cannabis for certain disease states, including Multiple Sclerosis and even Cancer and I used to use it for many years to help me relax. In fact I used it continuously throughout my twenties and well into my 30's to help me cope with my loneliness and inability to face up to my own depression. So in other words, I used it to help me cope with the daily grind of life and whatever that entailed at that particular time. I sometimes used alcohol in the same way, and would always have an emotional crutch in some way shape or form, in the hope that it would mask my low self esteem and in particular my rages and internalized anger which was part of my disorder. One particular evening, and this was after many years of smoking without adverse effects, I had the most awful of reactions, and what started as a panic attack quickly escalated into what can only be described as a terrifying psychosis with hallucinations thrown in. I was in the most awful of states and had to ask a friend to sit with me until the effects wore off, which incidentally was many hours after I had smoked. We came close to calling an ambulance which in hindsight is what we should have done!!
This reaction was so profound, I honestly swore never to smoke again, and thankfully never did, my cannabis days were over! I believe now, that the evidence speaks for itself and there can be a point that anyone can tip over the edge, regardless of whether they have emotional difficulties or not. However, if you do have a mental disorder, regardless of whether its hormonal, bipolar or schizophrenia then you are even further at risk. There is also some new research which is coming forward regarding the adverse effects of cannabis use if you have ADHD for example, and this can cause further mental illness later in life. It really doesn't seem worth it when you think of the long term effects and the damage it can do to an already fragile mind, although I know that others disagree with me. It seems to be that until you have that one adverse response, where you have been frightened out of your wits, you simply don't believe it can happen to you. From bitter experience I can tell you that it does and can have very serious consequences with some even needing hospital admission until their psychosis has passed. Some sadly, never recover and I have spoken to a few that have needed ongoing and long term care after a bad experience.
Fortunately for me, just having that one bad episode, was  enough to stop me from smoking and for that I am eternally grateful. I no longer want to take the risk of tampering with something that I know is very precious, and that is the human mind.With this latest and all encompassing research which is available to us now, I  simply don't think its worth it and we have to find another way to help us relax which doesn't involve putting ourselves at risk of psychological damage.

If you are having problems with cannabis use you can call Narcotics Anonymous UK on 0300 999 1212 who have helped  many people I know and have an excellent reputation. They also helped me many years ago when I thought quite wrongly that I wouldn't be able to relax without it.

Blessings. Suzi.

Ps. Reviews of my book needed please, Thank you xx