Fellas, you might want to stop and slowly back away from the computer at this point, because it’s about to get real lady-stuff around here.
One year ago, I stopped getting my period.
I know this is something many of you are dealing with. And I want to share not only how I got it back, but maybe even more importantly, how and why I lost it in the first place.
Okay I didn’t “lose” my period. It’s not like it was hiding under the couch the whole time and then I peeked under there and went “Oh, there you are! I’ve been looking for you!”.
No. What happened is that it just disappeared into thin air. One month it was there, the next, poof – it was GONESKY.
To fully tell this story, I have to go back a whole year and fully tell the story of how 2015 ended and 2016 started for me.
HOW I LOST IT
The timing of when I lost it was really strange. Because despite my period disappearing into thin air, I was actually in the best health I’d been in since before I got sick.
It was actually a time of huge healing for me in other ways. I’d been focusing on gut healing for 8 months and I was feeling amazing. All this weight was dropping, the inflammation was pretty much gone, I was getting back into exercise and feeling strong and energetic and fit for the first time ever after illness.
All that good stuff was happening, and then at the end of November I had my last period that I’d see for a long time. But it wouldn’t be until January that I’d realise what was happening.
The timing is most interesting, though, because I stopped getting my period at exactly the same time as me and my parter of 9 years split up and he was getting ready to move out.
I believe that me losing my period was a metaphysical reaction to that happening. It was emotional.
It was a sad time, but because the break-up had been slowly coming for a long long time, it wasn’t like it was a huge shock to my system. It wasn’t overwhelmingly emotional.
I actually felt like I was dealing with the emotions of it all pretty well. But clearly there was a lot going on subconsciously that I wasn’t getting out.
First a few months went by without my period, and I thought it was really strange (and obviously, no way that I could be pregnant).
But during that time, things got really hectic and I wasn’t paying that much attention to it. My ex moved out (on Christmas eve) – we were packing and separating our things. Christmas happened. Then a few days later, I got a full-time (actually, 46+ hours some weeks!) job that kept me on a constant loop of crazy-busy-don’t-have-a-second-to-stop-and-think.
And that suited me perfectly. If I was running around all day everyday, working, then filling all my spare hours with visiting family, friends, errands, shopping, workshops, you name it, I didn’t have a second to think about the gaping hole in my life that had appeared when my ex left.
If I was at home, just chilling out, I noticed that hole. If I was busy, I didn’t. I honestly didn’t know how to be alone. I’d never done it before.
We were together since I was 16, but we were best friends since I was 15. 10 years of someone being there, my whole adult life. Having a best friend there 24/7. I didn’t know how to be alone.
Especially since with him I was an incredibly co-dependant person, which was actually part of the problem, because naturally I’m a FIERCELY independent person in most ways (classic Aries) but I lost that and it was time to find it again.
But I was AVOIDING like a pro. This is why I can talk about avoiding and running away from feelings like I do, because I can be REALLY good at if I let myself be.
Then my health fell apart because of the job and the avoidance-busyness pace I’d been keeping. I’d felt myself getting worse since day 1 of the job. But I HATE letting people down (Hi, my name is Shae, and I’m a recovering people pleaser). After a couple of celiac autoimmune attacks, feeling my soul being crushed daily and running myself into the ground, I had no choice but to quit.
I feel into a heap. I crashed hard. It took me a few months of solid healing and self-care work to begin to feel remotely normal again.
Then I was starting to get worried about my period. I was even starting to ask Dr. Google what was going on, and I remember starting to panic that I might have ovarian cancer (I don’t know why, but I’m always scared about cancer when things are bad! I can’t remember if there was something to do with celiac and ovarian cancer or something like that?).
And that’s when I started to realise that this period thing wasn’t just going to come back on it’s own, I had to actually do something about it!
My body had switched into survival mode. On the inside, I was in panic. How could I be alone? How would my finances be alone? What the fuck do I do with myself now?
I was a little bit scared of the future to be honest. Because the future I’d banked on for 10 years just packed up it’s boxes and moved out.
So now my body was in fight or flight survival mode. Because under all this is the basic fear of SURVIVAL. And when you’re body is worried about whether it’s going to survive, it doesn’t give a shit about things like digestion or having babies.
And I was in such an extreme version of survival mode, that it literally shut off reproduction.
Operation: Get Period Back
The first thing I did was start to calm the eff down. After months of being in a stressed out, manic, go-go-go energy (to distract myself) I took a few months off to restore, because, well, my adrenals were f*cked.
It was really hard calming down from all that. I had to literally FORCE myself to relax and do nothing – even though I felt lazy and guilty. But I had no energy, and I had no choice. Rest and restore.
Once I’d calmed down, I had some mental space to look at what was going on with my emotions.
I looked at the Louise Hay Heal Your Body app – it has listed all the emotional reasons for physical illnesses. I looked up Menstraul Problems and it said “rejection of one’s femininity”.
And I thought “Yes! That makes total sense!” I’d been neglecting the more “feminine energy”, and going way to hard in the masculine go-go-go.
But what I’ve found is the first emotional reason I think is the issue, is normally NOT the real one, but a surface one to the deeper thing you’re avoiding.
I remember one day I was sitting in my bedroom, and I realised the timing of losing my period was TOO coincidental to just be a coincidence. It HAD something to do with the break-up – but what?
Then I checked in another book I have called The Body is the Barometer of the Soul – same idea as the Louise Hay one. That book said menstrual problems = losing love in your life.
And I thought holy effing crap. That’s it.
I’ve written about this before, but I have this deep feeling that I am unlovable and make people miserable. I think most of us have some deep dark sense of feeling unlovable.
But I always felt like my ex was the only person who could or would love me as I really am. He was just so dependable and stable and always there. No matter how sick I was, how awful I was, how angry or sarcastic. He was just there.
And I felt like he was the only person who would ever love me. That’s why it was so hard to break-up. Because I had this deep fear that no one else would ever love me.
But we did, and it was literally like all the love had left my life. And I hadn’t let myself acknowledge that.
So now I knew what the problem was, it was time to heal it. I did my normal journalling, crying it out, EFT, and kinesiology.
The crazy part, is that during this time, I actually WAS really happy and feeling really healthy! But there was this just little belief, these emotions that were going on in my subconscious, under the surface that I didn’t see. And they caused all these problems!
The first thing I did was start seeing an acupuncturist who was a specialist in women’s fertility. Now obviously I wasn’t interested in the baby making part, just in having the ability to.
This was really helpful – although I can’t give a great explanation of how acupuncture works or what Chinese medicine is really about! Something to do with meridians, energy, points and needles.
I didn’t take any of the Chinese medicine herbs – I don’t like taking super concentrated things like that, and she couldn’t guarantee they were gluten-free.
But she was instrumental in some of the diet changes I made as well, like moving to mostly cooked food, reducing juices etc.
Around the time I stopped getting my period, my appetite went to hell. As in, I wasn’t eating that much at all. My diet was mostly a bit of fruit, avocado and eggs. I just wasn’t hungry.
I suppose it was because of the survival mode and all the hormonal stuff that was going on. And I just made myself really busy too, which distracted me not only from the emotional stuff but also from food.
So when I left that job and focused on Operation: Get Period Back, I started eating way more food. Which was probably just a normal amount of food.
I focused on more fat (ESSENTIAL to healing hormones and their proper functioning) and protein (also essential to balancing hormones).
I focused on eating fat, protein and veggies at breakfast (and every meal, but especially breakfast because I’ve never been much of a breakfast person) – especially important for healing hormones, the thyroid and adrenals, which were all shot to hell at this point.
I focused on eating 3 meals a day.
MORE FAT + BONE BROTH
I ate as much healthy fats as possible.
I drank bone broth 2 – 3 times a day. (I had gone down to just one cup a day. I was drinking about this much when I first started healing the gut too.)
I ate soup made with bone broth + protein (usually meat from the bones from cooking bone broth or eggs) + veggies cooked for 30 mins – 1 hour.
One of the biggest changes I made was switching to pretty much all cooked food. This was also one of the hardest for me: I LOVE fruit, and I LOVE salads. Although salads tend to upset my stomach. But fruit was a hard one for me.
I was actually worried about not eating enough raw food. We hear all those things about you have to eat raw food to get enough nutrients and enzymes, and you have to eat at least 50% raw food with ever meal to be healthy.
But I’ve since come around on cooked food. Cooked veggies are SO much easier to digest – my stomach LOVED this change. Cooked food is also so much more bioavailable, so you’re actually able to get more nutrients and minerals from the food – so important to me with celiac and impaired absorption.
I actually started doing LESS juicing! I went from making 3 – 4 juices a day to just one carrot apple, and for a period of time I was even warming that one up too.
I started making kvass not only for it’s probiotics (I was eating more sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice up until this point), but because beets are well known blood builders – and I obviously needed that!
I got my period back in early May – 6 months after losing it, and about 3 months of focusing on Operation: Get Period Back.
I’d worked on healing the emotional stuff, I’d done everything I could with food (cooked, fat, protein), I’d made those other little changes. And after a few months of doing this work, it came back!
What I’ve learned from this whole thing, is one of the most dangerous things to our health is AVOIDING and REPRESSING feelings. Plus, getting into that stressed out, doing too much, go-go-go mode of never stopping to relax – which is actually just another way of avoiding.
That’s why I’ve made it such a high priority in my life to CONSTANTLY check in with how I’m feeling, what’s going on emotionally, and where I’m out of balance EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Because it’s so easy to spiral out of control when you’re not paying attention. These health problems don’t just come out of nowhere, they creep up on you slowly. And if you’re not monitoring your emotional and physical bodies all the time, you’ll miss the signs.