Gimme Shelter

A few months ago I decided to start taking medication to regulate my hormones. At the time, I was experiencing some pretty deeply felt rage and couldn’t quite get myself out of the dungeon.

The medication has been a lifesaver.

So much so, that in retrospect, I wish I’d started taking it sooner. Up until I experienced some relief, I was unaware of how desperate the situation had become.

Why did I hesitate?

I drank the self-care kool-aid.

If I do enough yoga, I won’t want to strangle every other person that speaks today.

If I eat the right food, I will magically want to hop out of bed and run a marathon today.

You know, I thought I could fix it by myself.

I didn’t want to have to take daily medication for something I thought I could control (or at least get some kind of relief from) with yoga, meditation, diet, exercise, massage, talk therapy etc.

Other people seemed to manage their lives without medication, so why couldn’t I?

Maybe if I was more consistent with my practices or more diligent with my food, sleep, time on the mat, time away from it all…

Don’t get me wrong, my symptoms were alleviated, somewhat, with a combination of all those practices.

And to be perfectly honest, I was struggling with the idea of taking medication because I had thought for many years that pills of all kinds were over prescribed, especially to women, and I didn’t want to fall victim to the pharmaceutical companies.

Take a pill! Your life will magically be better!

Finally, after a particularly harrowing day in the dungeon, I decided I’d had enough.

Three desperate phone calls with Kaiser later, I had a prescription in hand.

Here’s what I have learned:

My life is better by taking a daily pill.

It’s not perfect, nor have all of my symptoms been magically erased, but it is SO.MUCH.BETTER.

I actually feel more like myself.

My experience has opened many conversations with other women about their experiences as well. It’s been enlightening in such a good way.

As it turns out, other people – even ones who practice yoga – also struggle with the idea of taking medication. They also experienced great relief once they began taking the meds.

Other things I’ve learned:

Even though I’m taking oral contraceptives, my body is still going through its process. It’s not nearly as pronounced, but it is still there.

Insomnia, irritability, depression, and headaches are still present albeit to a much lesser extent.


So what do I take from this all?

It’s ok to ask and receive help.

Even from people or things you have rejected in the past.

Nature’s process can’t be completely tamed.

Self-care during this time is paramount.

Taking time to retreat from my regularly scheduled life is what I need right now. Not forever, just until I feel better.

Sometimes it is ok to seek out safety and comfort in a quiet sheltered place.


Tell me I’m not alone in this.

10 thoughts on “Gimme Shelter

  1. Thank you for this. It’s been percolating for a couple of days, and condensing into a blog of my own about my recent putting of my toes into the waters of Ayurveda. So thank you for the inspiration–and as always for your honesty and truth.

    • @ryan: thank you. sometimes it’s hard to live in my honesty and truth. it’s all raw and uncomfortable and yucky. ultimately it’s the only thing we’ve got though.

      i say take what works and leave the rest. no guilt, no i shoulds, no if onlys.

  2. I know I was one of those conversations, lady! I think that’s a particular pitfall of yoga practice, that we start to believe in a sort of endless “perfectability” – of our bodies, of our practice, of our emotions. I’m right there with Jenna – along with the pitfalls of modern medicine, there are some great, great gifts.

  3. I hear you. I am fortunate not to be taking any medications, but I have a couple people in my life who struggle with depression, and I encouraged both of them to consider medication. I believe because we live in a modern, fast world, we have to balance trying to slow down with sometimes receiving the benefits of our modern world, one of which is some really good medicine. If it makes you feel better, that’s all that is important. Be happy, my friend.

  4. what a seriously fantastic post. it has taken me 13 years of depression, anxiety, and insomnia to accept that medication could be helpful. there were many reasons i was resistant: seeing it NOT work for others, following a religion that wanted me to pray it away, feeling as if it would change who i am… now that i am ready, i don’t have health insurance. but it feels good to know that there is something else (in addition to yoga, biking, poetry, journaling, good friends, adequate sleep) that can offer relief. you are not alone, and neither am i. thank you!

    • @heather: thank you for reading.

      the medication question is a hard one. i’m glad it’s there, but man it is agony figuring out if it right for you. and to think i wouldn’t be able to afford it because of lack of insurance…. my heart goes out to you.

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