Present Tense

Life can be hard…or not

How do you self-medicate?  Statistically, most of us do in some form or another.  I just read that over 17% of adults routinely binge drink; I also read stats that indicate that 1 in 4 of us are on some sort of anti-depressant.

So, really, is life all that bad?  Or could it be that you aren’t doing what you need to for your own health and well-being, minus drugs and alcohol?  To stay physically/emotionally/mentally/spiritually healthy takes effort, but when you have liquor stores and bars on every corner, that’s just easier.  Or when you go to your doc and tell them that you’re ‘unhappy’ or ‘restless’ or ‘moody’ and they give you a prescription, it’s just easier.

We want things to be easy because we’re told our lives are difficult in these modern times.  After all, we have debts and conflicts and blended families and single parents and cultural decline and obesity and ADHD and ADD and bratty kids and horrible bosses and low paying jobs and pollution and wars and pain and suffering and the Kardashians. And that’s just what I saw on the “Today Show”. Yup, it sure sucks to be walking about on the earth in 2012.

So, why NOT drink too much/eat too much/sit around too much/pop a pill too much?  How else can you cope?

Well, you can STOP drinking too much/eating too much/sitting too much and obsessing too much.  Sounds kinda preachy coming from someone who self-medicated with alcohol for much of her adult life, eh?  Well, as they say ‘it takes one to know one’.  I’ve outlined my drinking history enough on this blog, but in a nutshell, I started making the world go away with booze as a teenager.  I continued with this strategy throughout my 20s, part of my 30s and most of my 40s. I’ve quit drinking 3 times, now.

Having been sober for a few years, with new coping strategies in place, I feel like I’ve quit for good, but since I’m an alcoholic, I have to be vigilant to stay off the booze and to not fall into some equally destructive habits.

For instance, menopause and it’s first cousin, peri-menopause have thrown quite a monkey wrench into my physical, emotional and mental well-being.  The symptoms march into your life singly or in herds; they wax and wane and there are times when you just want to escape with our favorite friends: food, booze or pharmaceuticals.

A few hours of relief results in a doubling down of those symptoms, meaning you crave more self-meds and that’s destructive.  Identify your triggers and take a long, hard look at how you’re dealing with them.  For instance, I’ve been working on identifying the things that trigger me to shove carby food into my piehole; bread, chocolate chips, pita chips, coooooookies.  I ended up eliminating them from my diet, thanks to a book I recently read, outlining why those things are so addictive and ultimately unhealthy.  I feel great and have begun eating much more mindfully.

About six months ago, I began using bio-identical hormones for my menopausal symptoms and it’s made a tremendous difference for me physically,  sexually and for my overall quality of life.  My husband and I just read a great book by Dr. Andrew Weil, called “Spontaneous Happiness” that has opened up a whole new holistic medicine cabinet for coping with the physical and emotional aspects of aging.

Be proactive.  Don’t just live for the next bottle of wine to ‘take you away’ or pop those meds that your doctor lazily gave you for “anxiety” or shove another 4 brownies in your mouth and call it good.

Here are some books that I found invaluable in my quest for physical/mental/emotional/spiritual health.  I’m always searching for a better way, so I welcome your suggestions as well.

Dr. Christiane Northrup:      “The Wisdom of Menopause”   Dr. Northrup’s book is an invaluable resource, as are all her books on women’s health
Dr. Andrew Weil:      “Spontaneous Happiness”   Dr Weil is the father of “integrative medicine” and I love all of his books on holistic health
Mark Sisson:       “The Primal Blueprint”   A less restrictive “paleo” diet/eating style that is well-researched and might change the way you eat and feel.

HRC Medical :  This is where I go for my bio-identical hormone therapy.  The website has a lot of information, but many practitioners also offer them around the country.

January 28, 2012 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Great stuff. My favorite self-med is a belt, sometimes two, of whiskey when I can’t sleep. And pizza. My goodness, but pizza can cure any bad day. The problem is, once I start, I don’t stop until the whole pie is gone. There are better ways to cope, I know. I need to get back to meditation and yoga. Things always work out better when I’m doing that more often.

    Comment by Jim | January 28, 2012 | Reply

  2. Wow…thanks for this blog and essentially opening up what’s been in the back of my mind for quite a very long time. I am going to strive to get myself on track and dig myself out of my menopausal hole and declare “Nuts to YOU, Mr. M!” Wonderful blog, Jane!

    Comment by Marcia Bischof | January 28, 2012 | Reply

    • Marcia:
      Good luck. Our own well-being is really a choice and it takes making the choice to alter our habits and reactions. Glad you enjoyed the blog; means a lot to me that you commented.

      Comment by janelondon | January 28, 2012 | Reply

  3. Great info, as always. I am totally going to explore bio-identical hormones. And my self-med is potato chips. and refried beans. and pasta. yikes.

    Going to check out the books. Literally. At the library!

    Comment by Francesca Amari, Cabaret singer | January 28, 2012 | Reply

  4. I enjoy reading your blog and listening to your morning show. The book by Mark Sisson sounds good.

    Comment by Jennifer | January 28, 2012 | Reply

  5. Jane, you are amazing. Thank You.

    Comment by Denise Morris | January 28, 2012 | Reply

  6. I agree with absolutely everything you say EXCEPT there are those of us that must take some of those prescriptions to be the healthy person that can even begin to recoginize other triggers. I have recently started yoga, cut meat out of my diet almost 90% of the time, but I can only do that because the medical support I need is in my cabinet. On top of 15 years of medication, 6 months ago I was diagnosed with a chronic disease that brings another whole set of triggers along with it but without my precriptions I wouldn’t even know where to begin. So yes, there are those people and Dr’s that take the easy way out and think a pill will make it all better but for some of us it is a necessity.

    Comment by Francine | January 28, 2012 | Reply

  7. Wow that is so right on Jane !! Your ability to express goes beyond all. Thank you once again for the empowering words.

    Comment by Marge Beem | January 29, 2012 | Reply

  8. Great post Jane! I have been eating the Primal Blueprint way for over a year now. I suffered a great deal with peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms prior to eating “primal”. I now don’t suffer any symptoms at all!!! It truly amazes me how much our diet can effect our bodies and minds as well. I can honestly say I am one happy, drug free, sugar free, wheat free 53 year old!

    Comment by Patricia Stekr | January 31, 2012 | Reply

  9. Its all true Jane. Our bodies actually let us know exactly what we need too. Thanks as always for the reminders and inspiration!

    Comment by Margie Jennings | February 1, 2012 | Reply

  10. Hi Jane, I was inspired to go pay a free visit to HRC Medical today after seeing your testimony on air over and over again… I sat with Tangi Terry and she said you were actually in earlier today! I’m contemplating whether or not this is something right for me as I have all the symptoms but have not tried everything else?… In your opinion, are there alternatives to this treatment because as you know it’s not cheap, about $3000 per year and insurance doesn’t cover it… Also, I haven’t noticed but are you a paid spokesperson for HRC? I welcome your response and opinion! Thanks for your time!

    Comment by Becky | February 24, 2012 | Reply

  11. This is such a great post. Shared. Thank you ♥

    Comment by istopforsuffering | March 19, 2012 | Reply

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