I’ve definitely felt like the Lupron is beating me these past few days. I didn’t stop to think that perhaps the side effects would compound as the shots went on, but that seems to be what’s happening. It feels like I’m constantly surrounded by the crappy version of Snow White’s seven dwarfs…”weepy,” “grumpy,” “overwhelmed,” “frustrated,” “stressed,” “bitchy,” and “anxious.” For the most part, I’m able to keep perspective and remind myself that it’s the Lupron messing with my head, but there are plenty of times that these terrible emotions surface, and I’m left curled up in the recliner crying over some stupid viral story I read on the internet or griping all over Joey for no apparent reason.
However, I’ve figured out some ways to deal with this side effect; hopefully my coping mechanisms will help you as well (also, I’m not a doctor, just a grumpy layperson. Don’t take my advice to the detriment of your health…if you’ve got problems, consult a professional).
- Pray. If you’re not a person of faith, you’ll have to humor me here, but I am a Christian, and I am constantly having to remind myself that God is in control of all of this and He will get me through it. And I’m not just talking about “pious, churchy” prayers, either. I gripe at God. Sometimes I yell at Him. Most of the time I’m contrite and pitiful, but honestly, He knows what you’re thinking anyway, so you may as well be honest and tell Him. I think God appreciates honesty, even when it’s ugly. And sometimes, that’s exactly what I need to talk my way through a piss-poor mood.
- Establish and maintain routines. I know this sounds both elementary and
boring, but it’s true. Routines are comforting, and when you’re struggling with a barrage of uncertainty and stress, you need comfort and stability in every way possible. I have set times to wake up every day, and I try not to vary from them. I have set days to run (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday), and a set day for a long walk or other activity (Sunday). We have set activities on Wednesday night, Thursday night, and Sunday morning. Open space (on your schedule) can be overwhelming, so having an established routine can keep you from freaking out.
- Exercise. Sorry…you’re not going to get around this. There’s a reason it’s suggested in almost any article about mental wellness. Studies have shown time and time again that exercise boosts endorphins in the brain and is a highly effective remedy against depression and anxiety. Additionally, since weight gain is another side effect of the Lupron,exercising will help keep that one at bay, too. I run/walk three days a week, do a long walk (or hike) on
Sundays, and I’m working on getting strength routines together for Monday and/or Friday. It also helps to have something to train for. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been caught in negative thoughts and I’ve gotten out and run or hiked, envisioning myself crossing the finish line at a 5K or summiting Mt. Mitchell, and I’ve finished that workout feeling like I kicked ass and was ready to take on the world. You don’t have to run. Find an activity that you like to do and push yourself. Sweat therapy is a real thing.
- Find a stress-relieving hobby (and do it as often as you can).
When I discovered adult coloring books, my world instantly became more calm.
Mandalas are my favorite things to color for their balance and symmetry. I love the methodical nature of the process…selecting a few colors and setting their pattern, finishing with each color one at a time. And the finished projects are so gratifying! Find something that you can focus on that’ll take your mind off negative emotions; reading, scrapbooking, drawing, crossword puzzles…whatever works for you.
- Give yourself a break. I’ve had to lower my expectations of myself since I’m overwhelmed more easily and get frustrated much more quickly. I can’t handle doing something every Saturday or having more than one or two commitments during a week. I can’t agree to many last-minute or spontaneous requests. I can’t do as many “favors” for people. Being realistic about your limits and operating within them will lessen the sense of being overwhelmed by having added yet another thing to your list of responsibilities.
- Avoid your triggers. I don’t watch tv shows about obese people. I don’t read stories about animals (unless I can tell from the headline that it’s silly and cute). I avoid movies that I know will make me cry. For a normal person, a good cry can be cathartic, but for someone dealing with Lupron weepiness, it may start a flood that won’t stop easily. If it looks like it might throw you off and you can avoid it, by all means, steer yourself the other way.
- Be honest with your family, friends, and partner. If I’m “Lupron grumpy,” I tell them. If I don’t want to go out because I need to curl up in the recliner and cry, I tell them. They need to know if you’re going to be snippy for no reason so they don’t think they’ve hurt you. And they need to know when to try to pull you out of a bad place.
- Sometimes, just eat the damn ice cream. You’re not going to win every battle. Sometimes, you’re going to want to pile up on the couch and eat cheetos and watch six hours of Deadliest Catch. And sometimes, it’s okay to do that. Don’t do it often, but sometimes, it’ll just have to do. Pick yourself up tomorrow and move on.
Remember, what you’re going through is tough. Lupron treatment ain’t for sissies. You are an EndoWarrior, and you can beat the negative emotions (most of the time)!