This is something that needs to be written about, explored and shared. I am not qualified or experienced to really do this topic any justice…. except that I have to expose this. I have been exposed to it from the sidelines, I have tried to be part of the cheerleaders to a remarkable woman as she descended into hell and became someone she doesn’t recognize…. someone her loved ones and friends don’t recognize…. and she seems unable to help herself, and friends and family feel they have failed her and simply don’t know where to go or who to turn to. And the ‘experts’, the doctors, the psychiatrists and endocrinologists just grasp at straws… they write our scripts, scripts that become the “script” that many women then follow as they are misdiagnosed, misunderstood, and stigmatised. They are not just treated as women with a problem, but often treated AS the problem, somehow culpable - choosing to be reactive when they could choose to be reasonable, choosing to be sad when they have so much in their lives to embrace and celebrate… This is a tribute to my friend, my mentor and all the women out there like her!
I haven’t had too many conversations with her about this…. I haven’t had enough. It seems to me that she was first shell-shocked she seemingly descended into madness. She herself is a mental health professional. Part of my instant attraction was the fact that she (like me) seeks self awareness above social approval and she constantly seeks a deeper understanding of herself and her place and purpose in the world. Imagine waking up one day totally out of control, enraged, bitter, cynical and filled with hatred and loathing…. both at yourself and at the world. Initially she was shell-shocked at this huge change in her personality…. in WHO SHE WAS at the deepest level. She withdrew and tried to figure out this new reality and it made her ever more bitter and enraged because this was not who she was or who she wanted to be… and yet she seemed to have no choice. She was always in control, or able to take control and able to make informed decisions even really difficult ones (such as having a radical double mastectomy rather than a lumpectomy, because breast cancer ran in her family). Suddenly she was rendered crazy…. her moods controlled her, she couldn’t control them. As much as she tried to rationalize and understand the changes in terms of the events and changes in her life (such as recent heart break with a man she was crazy about and just seemed unable to let go of), nothing made sense. In fact, perhaps she recognized that the recent events were not the catalyst as much as they were a symptom of her descent into “crazy”. She had fallen madly in love with someone that in no way was good for her or good to her, he broke her down at every opportunity and yet she yearned for him and didn’t want to let go. Rationally she could understand this, she knew she couldn’t justify holding onto this man and yet she was obsessed by him. As a therapist, tolerance, unconditional positive regard and empathy are core qualities, they had always been at the cornerstone of her personality…. but now a vitriolic rage, utter contempt and disillusionment took their place! Insightful, always seeking self-awareness, she considered whether this was perhaps full blown Compassion Fatigue and burn-out. She knew she was a wounded healer and knew that she had to do something about it…. “Heal thyself Doctor”. She recognized she couldn’t set herself loose on patients, and went back into photography (just one of the other things she is exceptionally gifted at). Part of this was safe, distancing and able to place a lens on the world, just as she was trying to do in her personal life. As much as she tried to change her perspective, alter her perceptual position, try different lenses, zoom or wide angle, rose-colored, fish eye….. and yet all she saw and all she felt was CRAZY…. MAD…. pretty much all of the time And when she wasn’t feeling that she felt SAD, for who she had lost… herself, her life even her future (the one she had fought so hard for, believed so much in, the one that gave her purpose and fulfillment… Who she was destined and meant to be was GONE! It was tragic because she was trapped in this awful Catch22 where she loathed herself and pushed everyone away, because after all if you are intolerable how can you expect others to tolerate you and especially your behavior. If you have insight enough to see you are behaving badly and yet can’t control it, of course you cannot expect others to support, affirm, validate or understand you. At a time she needed most love, understanding, support and help she was totally isolated and going more and more crazy alone…. stuck in her own head when all she needs and wants is an OUT! All she was seeking was a glimmer of hope, and she made it her quest to find it… she found so much fool’s gold. And friends, family, coworkers and her cheerleaders who loved, respected, even worshipped her fully expected her to be an alchemist. Being a perfectionist, somewhere this is also what she was expecting from herself. I asked her, in her own words to describe a few of her experiences and findings as she, an anguished and desperate Alice, slipped down the rabbit hole... She says: that at this stage is not in a place where she feels able to, but shared this song, which resonates deeply with her.
Her search for answers and understanding she stumbled upon an article about how menopause can drive women MAD and the Doctor she is now pinning her hopes on, Professor John Studd She is going through early menopause, and has an Oestrogen insufficiency, this is complicated by the fact that HRT is contra-indicated because of associated risks of Breast Cancer, something which genetically she is already predisposed to). In conclusion, hormonal imbalances are making women moody, crazy even psychotic, think of PMS, postnatal depression, and climacteric depression (which is what it seems she is suffering from, depression around the time of Menopause) ….for more see... Psychiatrists the world over-prescribing medications to women targeting their neurotransmitters (i.e. there is a far greater percentage of women than men on anti depressants and anti-anxiety meds). It has been shown that Oestrogen (and other HRT depending on the imbalance) is more effective and with far fewer side effects. Women are unaware of these findings and the Psychiatrists together with the Pharmaceutical industry has no interest in the truth because anti-depressants/ anti-anxiety meds are making them rich (at what expense to women). Seems it is not so much about neurotransmitters, but about HORMONES!!! Women should be encouraged to visit an endocrinologist long before they visit a Psychiatrist. Women aren’t especially moody and unbalanced, but sometimes their hormones are!