Monday, February 1, 2010

The Female Brain Gone Insane - a book review

I have been slow to get this review written, but not for lack of trying. But you see, the problem is, I suffer from every single *issue* that is discussed in this book. And as you can tell by the title, that's probably not a good thing.

I received this book for review by simple "luck of the draw." Lisa at TLC Book Tours had no idea that I have actually been on the insane side of the female brain since 2006.

A brief history so you'll know where I'm coming from when I opened this book. I had a hysterectomy in my early thirties. I suffered virtually no symptoms of menopause because I went right onto a hormone replacement therapy program the day after my surgery.

Fast forward a couple of years to the release of the WHI study citing hormone replacement therapy as dangerous for women with a family history of cancer. So I stopped my hormones. Just like that. And I've been, frankly, a psycho ever since.

I thought this was just going to be the way it is. At age 40, my new reality included: exhaustion, insomnia, irritability, low libido, funky metabolism, tearfulness, forgetting everything all the time, hot flashes, night sweats -- WELCOME TO YOUR GOLDEN YEARS, ENJOY YOUR STAY. Everyone in my household has learned to just ignore my craziness. I'm going to tell you, ignoring the crazy is probably not the best way to deal with it (but that is how we roll around here).

Now fast forward again to me receiving this book for review. The Female Brain Gone Insane, An Emergency Guide For Women Who Feel Like They're Falling Apart, by Mia Lundin.

I took the book to Carlie's dance class, excited to have something to read since nine times out of ten I forget to bring a book. Picture me, sitting on the sofa of the Arthur Murray Ballroom Dance Studio while my daughter learns to tango, opening up a book to read... and bursting into tears about four pages in.

For real.

You guys, it turns out, I MIGHT NOT BE CRAZY after all. I know, right?

Now, granted, the bursting into tears thing might technically be a *symptom* of my crazy. But still. To pick up a book, with zero expectations, and find *my story*, everything I have gone through and felt and dealt with, right there, written by someone else, was extremely powerful.

I won't go into the author's background, because you can read about it here. But Mia is an expert in the field of women's health, especially when it comes to brain chemistry and hormones. And in her book she interweaves stories of women she has worked with, their real life struggles and successes, with her program and her game plan for helping women achieve hormonal and emotional balance.

Mia's book includes forms and checklists and real hands-on tools to help you figure out where you are, what you need and how to *fix* your problems. As one of those people that LOVES list making, I found her system perfectly suited to my particular brand of OCD. She gives the reader clear, concise guidance on how to figure out what your own particular needs are (a symptom tracker! I love tracking!) and then offers real, concise, easy to follow instructions on the supplements and hormones and even dietary guidelines that can help.

To be clear, this is not a book about menopause. It's a book about "women of all ages and stages of life who felt like they were "losing it" and who were initially misdiagnosed and prescribed pointless anti-depressants or one-size-fits-all HRT by busy doctors." It's a book that "will guide you step by step through the scary maze of self-doubt and fear. You will learn how to listen to and identify your own symptoms to get started on your emotional rescue plan and take action toward sanity right now."

Emotional rescue plan, ya'll. Seriously.

I'll be honest with you. I am still not sold on the idea of restarting any kind of a hormone replacement therapy (which she does advocate). But I do have a list of new questions and ideas to discuss with my doctor at my next visit thanks to this book. In fact, Mia even includes a letter to your doctor that you can copy and bring in to your visit to help facilitate that discussion. My goal to regain my *balance* doesn't feel like a lost cause anymore.

"Four Steps To Sanity: No doctors, no anti-depressants, no fuss". I am so down with that idea, I can't even begin to tell you. This book is like a workbook, or a guidebook, to take those steps. It's kind of like self-help, taken to a whole new level. In a good way.

Click here to order the book. Click here to explore Mia's website.


Keetha said...

Four steps to sanity - that sounds pretty awesome!

How's the new job??

Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

totally intrigued. irritability and night sweats over here. yay.

LisaMM said...

Shana, I'm so glad this book was a homerun for you! And you're right, I had no idea how much you'd connect with the book, so I'm really happy it was a good fit.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this book and write the review. We appreciate it so much.

I hope the info in the book helps you with everything. Here's to much less *crazy* in the next year!!!

San Diego Momma said...

So I'm totally getting the book.
I bet I'll burst into tears just by picking it up.

OY. This insane in the membrane stuff sucks the eggs.