Ok- this is not a scheduled blog post. This is a little something extra. Feel free to skip ahead because this isn’t the usual cup of tea with 2 scoops of sugar (and those of you that know me, know that when I say 2 scoops, I really mean 3) This is going to be coffee. Bitter and dark.
Blogging has introduced me to all types of wonderful people but I have to tell you, I have a soft spot for women. I love women. I know that makes me sexist and I’ve attempted to correct the behaviour with gender balance and male appreciation. In fact, I went so far as to marry a man. Which is fine, because he’s sexy as sin and perfect for me, but he’s no woman (even though I keep hoping he’ll start thinking like one). He’s smart, funny and handy around the house and I know it’s too much to ask for him to also be soft yet strong, patient and nurturing, organized but spontaneous…heck, he’s not a woman after all.
<yes, yes I hear you in the back, I too have heard the stories about that mystical man that has all those traits and more, but like the Lochness monster, everyone talks, but does anybody have any actual proof?>
I use to think that life rushed over each gender like waves on the beach, molding them accordingly. Men had to be strong to hunt and gather, women had to be amazing in order to do, well, everything else, but it’s more than that. I can tell you now, from personal experience, no matter what life throws at you, hormones win the game. Men and women have over 80 types that affect everything from cardio vascular health to personality, but it’s the sex hormones, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, that have the starring roles in the battle of the sexes. Not to delve too deeply into science but let’s just have a quick refresher shall we?
Alright fella’s, let see the cards Mother Nature dealt you.
- testosterone; creates a sense of separateness, feelings of aggression, increased sex drive, higher self-confidence and amplifies risk taking.
- Both genders have vasopressin but if testosterone is trump, then this hormone becomes left bower. It dampens emotional responses, which is a scientific way of saying it muffles the drama queen.
Well, that makes perfect sense.
Now on to the Ladies.
- estrogen; a mood stabilizer, promotes neuron growth and is thought to improve cognition and sensory acuity. Cognition being all things mental; knowledge, memory, problem solving, language etc. and sensory acuity is using your senses to understand the world around you.
So far it’s sounds like we can’t lose.
- estrogen amplifies oxytocin; the touchy, feely, nurturing compound that causes us to nest and be monogamous.
- women also have 30% more serotonin than men, that happy hormone that instills a sense of calm and controls our impulses.
- progesterone increases our metabolism, helps our sleep patterns and gives us our libido but it’s a wild card for women, popping in and out of our hand, while men seem to always have one up their sleeve.
Still, if I was a betting woman, even without a hit of risk taking testosterone, I’d bet on us. We have an amazing hand, don’t we? The problem is, the very things that make us wonderful can turn around and stab us in the back. Too little estrogen causes depression; too much causes anxiety. And to make matters worse someone keeps shuffling the deck.
With the arrival of puberty, both boys and girls struggle to make sense of how hormones affect their personalities but males have the advantage of a steady climb throughout their life where females are like Sisyphus and his boulder, forced to repeat a vicious cycle of highs and lows each month.
Even if we manage to make any progress, Mother Nature has thrown in pregnancy and endocrine disorders and then menopause for good measure just in case, just for a second, we trick ourselves into thinking that we have anything figured out.
And this brings me to the heart of the matter. It’s not about boys vs girls. Not really. I don’t hate men, I’m just so angry at the rules of the game that I’m taking it out on the other players.
I have read heartbreaking emotional blogs from mothers, daughters and wives around the globe and so many tell stories of mental illness. They talk about postpartum depression, generalized anxiety, or obsessive compulsive disorder and I don’t think it’s fair. If we were to grind up our birth control pills, and bioidentical hormone replacements and secretly feed them to the men in our lives, it would be considered poisoning
and yet when we are flooded with those same hormones, physicians call it mental illness? Something doesn’t seem right. If my husband goes to the doctor, with symptoms of fatigue, headaches, blurry vision and excessive thirst, they order tests, discover low blood sugar, diagnose him with diabetes and then begin treatment and life style changes. Women see their health practitioners about fatigue, memory loss, carb cravings and depression and they are labelled with mental illness and sent home with antidepressants with barely an assessment. Please, please don’t misunderstand. This is not an antidrug campaign. If pills help a woman I love find even the smallest amount of relief I will drive over to her house myself and hand her the water to get them down. This is about the shame, the fear and the loathing that I see in women that are trying to understand why they are losing, even though they seem to be holding all the right cards.
I know there are men out there struggling as well, but as I said, I have a soft spot for women. I love them. I see in women everything that is needed to go out and save the world.
But first we need to save the women from the monsters in their head. If we tell her they aren’t real, and explain that she’s mentally ill, I understand why she might retreat to her bed and take her medicine and wait for a prince to come and save her.
If we tell her exactly what she’s fighting and give her a weapon, she can call it out by name and slay that son of a bitch herself. No testosterone needed.
Sure he was great, but don’t forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards…and in high heels!~ Bob Thaves
The content above is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. I’m just a woman warrior battling her own hormone battles so my judgement is absolutely impaired. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. Just don’t put up with anyone, anywhere, telling you, you are anything less than amazing.