I didn’t choose the slug life; the slug life chose me.

A Hormone Story, Part 1: Cortisol Highs and Lows

This has been me lately.


This is an improvement on my past self, which generally was this:

PMS gif

and sometimes this:

Steel Magnolias funeral scene

I chalked it up to postpartum depression, but by 18 months “postpartum,” that didn’t make much sense anymore.

Then I realized that a lot of my symptoms were worse around the last half of my cycle, so calling it PMS made some sense.   But didn’t explain it all.

I went to the doctor’s recently for a med check and the nurse was like, “So, are you taking this for anxiety or depression.”  And I’m like, umm, neither . . . both? . . .  Just . . .

I hate everyone gif

A light began to dawn when I read The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried.  What I experienced lined up almost exactly with the symptoms she listed for high cortisol.  It “fit” like nothing else.  So, I followed her “protocol” for high cortisol, which includes:

I started this at the beginning of March.  Amazing!  I’m more relaxed and patient and calm than I have ever been in my entire life.

I also feel like this:


A slug doesn’t yell at her kids.  A slug isn’t prickly toward her husband.  A slug doesn’t get uptight and stressed out.

Also, a slug doesn’t clean her house.  A slug isn’t too concerned about personal hygiene.  A slug doesn’t cook.  A slug doesn’t exercise.   A slug doesn’t even type blog posts.  A slug mostly sits on the couch and reads.  And eats.  And gains weight.

I’ve always been Type A, so this is a whole new experience for me.  I’m enjoying it for now.  But I’d like to get my arse off the couch eventually.  Also I’d like not to get fat.

I’m wondering if I’ve been running on cortisol and caffeine for so long that my body doesn’t know what else to use for energy anymore?  It certainly isn’t burning all the calories I put into it.

I suspect low thyroid, but I’m also taking supplements that The Hormone Cure recommends for low thyroid, with no noticeable result.  And my TSH was normal last time I had blood work done just 6 months ago.  So what to do next?

Cue the witch doctor.

Witchdoctor gif

She’s actually not a witch doctor.  But Pat and I enjoy calling her that.



She’s a chiropractor/ alternative health practitioner person.  I went to her for a consult and now I’m getting more blood work and some hormone testing.

So we’ll see . . . .

In the mean time, if you need me, I’ll be on the couch.

25 thoughts on “I didn’t choose the slug life; the slug life chose me.

  1. LOL! We have a witch doctor too…lol. This post is great. Happy to hear you’re content/slug/happy! But hoping you can get a good balance soon. 🙂 I just sort of try to ignore it all because the test after test since 6th grade and it’s like the Peanuts mom…but! “Paleo”-esq eating has improved everything for me 75%- progress! 🙂

  2. Oh, that stinks. Your gifs have me lol-ing, though. I hope you can find a fix soon.

    I always chalked up my laziness or “prickliness” to being a mom of children under 8, but hmm…

    I get so many migraines, I am reluctant to take any more medicine, so I hesitate seeing a doctor because I fear I would have to take more. Ugh.

    Maybe your “witch doctor” will let you drink caffeine again. Mmm caffiene. Mmm…

    • I let myself have coffee today as a special treat (working from home . . . need the energy . .. kids are at their grandmother’s). Mmm, I love coffee so much.

      If you’re at all interested, I recommend The Hormone Cure book. The author has this super star celebrity doctor persona going on, which I find annoying, BUT the info in the book is like nothing else I’ve come across

  3. “A slug doesn’t yell at her kids. A slug isn’t prickly toward her husband. A slug doesn’t get uptight and stressed out.” Well now. Are we related? I use medication to turn into a slug…. and I’m glad it’s there, ’cause I hate myself when I’m not a slug.
    And now you know why I’m fat.

  4. So, interesting thought about TSH-my TSH always tests normal, but when they test for T3 and T4 specifically the ratio is off. Just a thought, but if the supplements for low thyroid aren’t helping, that might not be the answer. I hope you get some answers soon!

  5. Low energy: anemia, vitamin D deficiency, or asthma? Many undiagnosed asthmatics unknowingly self-medicate with caffeine!

    • Intellesting. I don’t have any other asthma symptoms. I def’ly was vitamin d deficient when I had it checked six months ago. And I’m borderline anemic. … And coffee is just so so good. *sniff*

  6. Cookies for dinner. Laura at least you still have your sense of humor! 🙂 really though, I sympathize and hope you find what helps you

    • Thanks Monica …. actually I wasn’t kidding about cookies for dinner. I got a cookie craving around 4:30 pm and by the time I was done baking had no energy left to make anything else!

      • My PCP just started me on 50, 000 units of Vitamin D per week for 3 months. And she wants me to get 30 minutes of sunshine a day without sunscreen. I had been takinga daily vitamin and I thought it would have V. D in it but apparently it’s not enough. Check out this article on vitamin D deficiency. I used to poo-poo all the hype oveV. D, but am now giving it more thought.


        And I agree with the comments on progesterone. My levels of progesterone and estrogen are both low so I’m working with a Napro dr trying to correct them. I’ve done injections in the past of bio identical progesterone and what a world of difference!! Seriously, it was a god-send. I would definitely recommend looking into it with a Napro Dr. who can test your levels and supply you with bio-identical form of progesterone.

      • So Glad the progesterone therapy is working for you! It’s definitely something I’ll keep in mind of the wit h doctor isn’t able to cure all my problems. … As for vitamin d, I was super low when I got tested six months ago. My PCP put me on the same 50,000 Iu regimen. Witch doctor said that wasn’t the “right kind” but I got more blood drawn yesterday so we’ll see.

  7. I enjoyed The Hormone Cure.

    I get very severe PMS symptoms the last half of my cycle. In the book, Dr. Gottfried does mention that there has been some success with the use of Prozac from day 15 until the start of the next cycle. She also talks about low progesterone as being the reason for the PMS symptoms. I did take the antidepressant the last half of my cycle for two months, and my husband and I were amazed by the results. But the only reason if I decided to do that was because my former doctor did not believe in progesterone therapy and I needed some relief from the symptoms. Fast forward a couple months, I have been working with a new doctor who does do progesterone therapy. She has been following my charts and has done a series of blood work. I should get my results back next week, but we both agree it looks like I will need progesterone. My symptoms, my chart, and my history of recurrent miscarriage all suggest low progesterone, so we just need the blood work to confirm it.

    I feel like a slug, and I have gained 30 pounds since Thanksgiving! Ugh!

    Praying that your witch doctor helps you find relief.

  8. As a fellow slug who just finished drinking coffee but is delaying the urgent need to Do the Things That Must Be Done, I salute you. My sluggishness has more to do with depression (and sometimes laziness) than anything. On the other hand, when I ventured to my husband that “maybe I get a teensy bit tenser, sicker, angrier, and more depressed for about a third of my cycle,” he couldn’t spit out the word “DUH” quickly enough. These hormones can really kick you in the butt…. Good luck sorting it out!! And take comfort – your kids probably care more about you being in a good mood than the state of the house.

    • “Duh” . . . LOL. I’m realizing more and more how much we women are at the mercy of our hormones. . . . And yes, my kids and husband much prefer the lazy, happy me over the uptight, higher-achieving me. It’s so freeing really, to accept being loved for who I am rather than for what I do.

  9. I’d suggest trying to find a Creighton practitioner in your area (check your church bulletin etc) who can then, after analyzing your charts, refer you to one of their doctors who will most likely do a complete hormone check on you (I suspect you’re low on progesterone, as I was). Progesterone therapy = 0 PMS symptoms. Husband told me it’s like night and day since I’ve been on it. Most people think Creighton is only good for NFP, but it also specializes in women’s health issues, which, for many of us, has to do with our hormones. Good luck!

  10. Ooh! I had LOW cortisol problems, which meant I was running on adrenaline all the time so any extra stress would send me into fight-or-flight panic mode. Either way you gots to have your cortisols right or life sucks.

    I’m a born slug, any witch doctor you can recommend that will turn me into a type A?

  11. Haha, I am a type A turned slug too. I blame it on Baby #3 but he is the best sleeper I’ve had and postpartum things are honestly going the best they ever have…so I guess I have no excuse for not cooking and letting myself go appearance wise (unless I am leaving the house-gotta have some standards). Oh and I realized I am capable of cooking if it’s for a birthday party…just not normal nightly dinners ;). Hope you feel better soon.

  12. Pingback: What Worked in 2014 | This Felicitous Life

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