Lately I’ve been thinking about Cortisol. (Now if that isn’t the sexiest phrase you’ve ever heard, then I don’t know what is)!
I’ll spare you the medical jargon – Cortisol is basically the stress hormone and it works closely with Adrenalin, they’re BFFs.
Both are linked to panic attacks and anxiety. In the same way adrenaline is released during a period of distress, Cortisol levels are also increased.
Fawn Hansen talks about Adrenal Fatigue on her website and references the feeling of being “wired but tired,” which PERFECTLY summarises how I feel during a panic attack, or when I’m very anxious. I couldn’t put this into words for so long because I didn’t understand it. How could I be ‘buzzing’ but exhausted at the same time? Well it’s because Cortisol burns through the DHEA hormones in the body. Again I’ll keep the medical stuff brief, but DHEA is the sex hormone. So for women it’s Oestrogens and for men it’s androgens. We need DHEAs to function normally and healthily. It keeps our moods and energy levels steady and keeps our immune system strong. Too much Cortisol depletes the DHEA in the same way it does Serotonin.
I get sick a lot. Stomach bugs, colds, infections. Dan and I often joke about how shit my immune system is. But it never occurred to me that my anxiety was having a direct impact on this. Why does it have to be involved with everything? It’s like a nosey neighbour who can’t bear to be left out.
On Thursday I was in Manchester and I had a few stressful meetings. Also, I was offered the opportunity to be on TV! (It didn’t happen). So my stress levels reached boiling point. Even though I was excited about the prospect of being on TV, the adrenaline was still battering me. I could actually feel myself twitching, I was so hyped up. Anyway, to cut a long story short the next day I got ill. It was a nasty cold like virus that also made me vomit. I actually burst some blood vessels in my face too which was disturbing, and I was so tired that I slept for five hours on Saturday.
So I’m thinking that now may be the time to actually do something about it. What with my wedding coming up in May, I need to find a way to relax properly to avoid a burn out. And not just by reading a book (because I don’t) or going out with friends.
I’ll be honest, the easiest way to sedate my Cortisol levels is with alcohol. I’ll have a glass of wine to ‘take the edge off,’ but as I’m reaching the age of thirty I should probably grow up and start facing facts. A glass of wine isn’t a good solution.
Therefore… after consideration I’m finally going to give Headspace another try. In the past I’ve struggled with this app, because I don’t like to focus on my breathing. However, I’m willing to try again. I’ve subscribed to the full thing this time, not just the free version. I’m going to give it a decent 28 day trial to see whether it makes a difference.
In the meantime, if anyone comes up with a ‘Cortisol be gone’ remedy, feel free to give me a shout!