Note: I originally wrote this post on April 17th, 2015. I have updated you on the journey in this new post since then. I’m now sharing it again a year later from my update in May of 2017. This has been such a journey for me, and I’m still learning the whole way.
I’ve dealt with the effects of restrictive eating for about 7 years now, one of them being amenorrhea. I’m thankful that this year has been the best year of healing that I have experienced in the whole period of recovery. I’ve finally began to realize just how much a woman’s body needs her period. I’m linking to Robyn, because she has much better advice and actual explanations about why it’s so crucial for a woman’s body to have a normal cycle. I’ve struggled with amenorrhea off and on the whole time I’ve been in recovery, but this year I’m having more periods/a normal cycle than I’ve had in a long time.
I’m linking up with Amanda today to think out loud about this topic!
I’ve struggled with amenorrhea off and on for about 5 years, and I’m not the typical super underweight anorexic girl. I was never severely underweight, but my body did not like the low weight that I was at, and it let me know when I lost my period for about 2 or 3 years without a single period till I was about 17 or 18. After I gained about 15-20 pounds, it came off and on, but I realized that it was still being affected.
One of the number one causes for the loss of a period that I’ve seen is stress. The hypothalamus gland is very sensitive to stress, and I would have to agree and say that stress has been one of the biggest and most difficult factors in regaining my period.
Where did the stress come from?
2. Too Many Things on Your To-Do List
3. Not Taking Time Out To Fill Up Your Cup So You can Help Others
4. Being Anxious (Instead of Being Anxious for Nothing and Taking it to the Lord in Prayer)
5. Not Enough Nourishment
6. Not enough sleep
My family went on a vacation (a sabbatical for my dad) for about 3 months a couple years ago. During the sabbatical, I didn’t do any exercise besides just hiking and getting outside to cross country ski and such, but none of it was fast paced. My brain didn’t race calculating all of my training goals. I just had fun, enjoyed the sunshine, and time with my family.
I want to do life like that more; I don’t want to exercise or do things because I HAVE TO; that’s where a lot of the stress comes from. I want to do them because God has first loved me and given His Son to save me from hell and damnation, from eternity without Him.
I want to live life in FREEDOM from the scale and the ‘have tos’ of exercise or nutrition, and I greatly desire to treat my body well. I’m not saying that you need to look to me for an example, because so far I haven’t been the best at this.
But God is working on me. He is working on me, refining me, and teaching me that I need to nourish my body with the food He has given me, treat it well with rest, fill my cup up spending time worshipping Him, enjoying Him in His gifts of fellowship, rest, food, sometimes movies, music, family worship with my family, and more restful activities.
Amenorrhea is tough. It has made me more confused about my body than ever before, but it has also given me a greater appreciation for the functions that God created me with, that I used to take for granted.
It’s made me want to slow down and actually eat and enjoy every bite instead of stressing about the calories or the next meal. Amenorrhea has taught me a lot, and I’m thankful that by God’s grace, my body is ever so slowly healing. It’s made me want to enjoy fat and carbs and proteins and not think about how many I need to eat but rather eat LOTS of all of the nutrients so my body can function well.
I’m in the midst of re-assessing and really making an effort to not let the stress or the fast pace of life get to me, resting in God and His perfect peace. I can never DO enough for Him. He is enough, and I just live for Him, to serve Him, and to be His child. There is nothing I can do to be His child but believe on the name of Jesus Christ.
Update: March 2018:
Well. this past 6 months has been tough. Ever since I went on a trip to Europe and struggled with falling back into old habits of restriction, and then old anxieties, struggles with wanting to ‘do everything’, acting like I’m who everybody depends on, being an ‘over achiver’, being a perfectionist instead of looking to the perfection of Jesus.
So . . . with that I’m still having a form of ‘anovulation’ (sorry if that is TMI), and I think it’s pretty correlated to the amount of stress I’ve been putting on myself.
One night at the end of March my mom and sister definitely encouraged me that I was trying to be the guru of all trades and not humbly asking for help or focusing on one thing at a time.
This is true.
And that stings.
It’s so hard, because it’s been a cycle that I just jump into especially when I’m trying to cope with stress. Instead of resting, I try to do more, and then I become this ‘stress monster’ that cries, gets short and snippy with others, and basically I’m just a mess.
Thankfully Jesus saves messes, and He’s not going to let me stay in this place.
I have come SOO far in recovery. I don’t feel like I have to exercise for hours and hours any more. I don’t feel like I HAVE to be able to do a pull-up or have six pack abs. I don’t really want to be skinny or thin anymore, but this is the next step.
This is the next step, because I’m going to say here that I want to have babies someday if the Lord wills. And even if I don’t I know that a period is so essential to a woman’s health as per all the different blog posts Robyn has done on it.
Some of my Favorite Bloggers Who Have Shared About Amenorrhea are:
Meredith – The Cookie Chrunicles
Victoria – The Die Hard Foodie
Robyn – The Real Life RD
Have you ever struggled with amenorrhea? What did you do?
Amenorrhea: Do you have good resources that have helped you if you’ve struggled with it?