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Bryony Gordon: mental health, hormones and witchy magic

This week on the podcast, journalist Bryony Gordon, bestselling author of several books including her latest, Mad Woman, explains how the perimenopause caused her to reconsider her mental health. Was her experience of OCD affected by her hormones and what would society look like if women’s health was taken more seriously?

Bryony shares her belief that there’s a ‘witchy magic’ to menopause and that the issues it brings are the ones that you need to deal with and there is power in doing so.

Finally, Bryony shares three bits of advice to any woman being dismissed with ‘it’s just your hormones’:

  1. Don’t dismiss yourself. Don’t discount your point of view or feelings just because they are yours. Maybe sometimes you’re right, maybe sometimes you’re wrong – that’s OK.
  2. It’s OK sometimes to be bad. We all are. It’s just society wants us to live as women in a way that isn’t very human.
  3. Confidence is a trick. No one has confidence. I don’t have confidence. I just have a will and a desperation not to spend the rest of my life hating on myself because it’s such a waste of energy.

Follow Bryony on Instagram @bryonygordon her community organisation @Mental Health Mates

Click here to find out more about Newson Health.


Dr Louise Newson: [00:00:11] Hello, I’m Doctor Louise Newson, I’m a GP and menopause specialist, and I’m also the founder of the Newson Health Menopause and Wellbeing Centre here in Stratford-upon-Avon. I’m also the founder of the free balance app. Each week on my podcast, join me and my special guests where we discuss all things perimenopause and menopause. We talk about the latest research, bust myths on menopause symptoms and treatments, and often share moving and always inspirational personal stories. This podcast is brought to you by the Newson Health Group, which has clinics across the UK dedicated to providing individualised perimenopause and menopause care for all women. Today on the podcast, I’ve got somebody with me who I have met in real life before, and she’s with me now. Who many of you will heard of. Who’s very inspirational and very open actually, about her own story. So Bryony Gordon, who’s recently written Mad Woman and in the middle, I’ll hold it up for those of you that are watching, it says Menopause, Binge Eating, OCD: How to Survive a World that Thinks You’re the Problem. And my goodness me, this book resonated so much with me personally but also, I know for a lot of people that I see, so amazing to have you on my podcast, I’m super excited. Thanks, Bryony for coming. [00:01:40][89.4]

Bryony Gordon: [00:01:41] Thanks for having me. [00:01:41][0.8]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:01:43] It’s great. So we met in CarFest actually, didn’t we last year, which was great… [00:01:47][4.5]

Bryony Gordon: [00:01:47] Oh yeah, very, very woman centric CarFest. Oh my God, that’s such a that’s such a stereotype of me. [00:01:56][8.1]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:01:56] Yeah, but it was great. And I, in fact, I’m going back this year. [00:01:59][3.1]

Bryony Gordon: [00:01:59] Me too! I love CarFast. Everyone. All women should know that, obviously women like cars as well but the best thing about it is that Chris Evans puts on, also, he does like SpaFest, which is amazing. It’s what, actually for me, it’s more of a wellbeing festival than it is a car festival. [00:02:17][17.9]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:02:19] Well I didn’t know what to expect. So I went and I was thinking, and I actually went with two of my children, and my middle daughter, who was 18, was like, I’m just going to stay in the hotel with my boyfriend. I don’t even want to come to the stupid festival. And I was like, well, just come for a bit. Anyway. I had to drag her out at the end. We kept going back to dance a bit more before we left, but yeah, it was really interesting because I thought there was something for everyone and it was a real wholesome, happy festival, wasn’t it? [00:02:43][24.1]

Bryony Gordon: [00:02:44] Yeah, my daughter, who’s about to be 11, loves it, it’s like her annual. But you got to stay in a hotel. Yeah, I stay in a tent next to Chris Evans’s Winnebago. No but it’s quite nice. Like, I don’t make it sound like I pitch my tent outside because… [00:03:03][19.1]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:03:04] Oh no, well I’d stay in a nice tent, I just not very good at sleeping on the floor and being all cold. [00:03:08][4.7]

Bryony Gordon: [00:03:09] You don’t sleep on the floor. It’s a bed. It’s a proper bed. [00:03:11][2.4]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:03:11] Okay, well, I would do that. I would definitely do that. But, yeah. No, it was great. And actually this time I’m going to talk every day actually and mix it up a bit. So but because it’s not just about menopause actually, lots of people know me as a menopause specialist but I am a clinician. I’m a physician, I’m interested in holistic health, but I’m more interested in the role of our hormones. So whether you are having periods or not having periods or whether you’re perimenopausal or menopausal, you still have hormone receptors on every cell of our body. And when we talk about horemones, there’s just three that I’m really interested in, which is oestradiol, progesteorne, testosterone. Like there’s hundreds of hormones in our body. [00:03:53][41.6]

Bryony Gordon: [00:03:53] But it’s so funny, Louise, because, like, I love this conversation. I love having these conversations because I always remember, like, it’s wild to me that it’s taken till I got to my 40s to, like, accept how powerful hormones are, you know, like they’re the most powerful chemicals known to human kind. And yet my interpretation of them for so long has been to be dismissed because of my hoemones. Oh, you’re just hormonal. And I’m like, what? Why are we dismissing these because, and for me, you know, what Mad Woman is about is understanding the role that hormones have played in my mental health since I was like 11. You know, like, we talk about menopause now, but it’s actually it’s the whole of our reproductive lives. And, you know, for me it was the realisation came, I’ve had crippling OCD and I first got it when I was about 11 and, you know, on and off throughout my life. And then it came back very badly in 2022. And someone said to me, have you thought about your hormones? And I was like, I’m too young. And they were like, no babes, you’re not, I was like 41 at the time. And I went and had my hormones tested. And they were, they didn’t actually say this because I know you’ll probably know this as a doctor, you’re not allowed to say this, but they were like your levels of oestrogen, like we think probably Dwayne The Rock Johnson has higher levels of oestrogen. I mean they were like so low. And I went on oestrogen and you know I was told all the usual like it can take three months you know. And no word of a lie, Louise, within about two days I was like you know in Disney movies where the princess wakes up and the birds start coming and. [00:05:35][101.9]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:05:35] It’s all colour. [00:05:36][0.2]

Bryony Gordon: [00:05:36] …the wind blows and it’s like la la la la la. Sorry for the singing. That was what it was like. It was incredible. Like the OCD had just, I describe it like the noise had just gone. And, you know, that set me down this path of kind of looking into, well, hang on a second. This is actually really important because there have been times where I’ve nearly lost my life because of my mental ill health. And then when I went on the progesterone bit. It was like as immediate. I felt suicidal and all this stuff started linking up, you know? I’d been on the pill very briefly when I was 21. I’d had to come off it because it was so dark, made me feel so dark. When I was pregnant, I was under psychiatric care from the local authority. And obviously your body is full of progesterone when you’re pregnant and, you know, starting to kind of join up these dots and realise that probably I’m incredibly progesterone intolerant. And perhaps there’s been an element of PMDD throughout my life and just that sort of feeling quite angry, really. That for so long, this stuff has been dismissed. And you know, Louise, you’ll know this, it’s still dismissed. Like there’s a backlash now, you know, to all the conversation about the menopause. You know, when I think to myself, if men went through the menopause. [00:06:54][78.3]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:06:55] Oh my goodness, it’d be so different. [00:06:56][1.2]

Bryony Gordon: [00:06:56] It would be the only thing we were allowed to talk about. You know? [00:07:00][3.8]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:07:01] It really saddens me, Bryony. And it frustrates me as a woman and actually as a mother of three daughters, but also as a medic, because no one taught me this when I was going through it. And I really enjoyed psychiatry. I did a psychiatry job in a very deprived area of Manchester. It’s a privilege being a doctor, and it’s a privilege talking to people who were very deprived, very neglected by society, actually, and most people in other walks of life would not have the privilege of talking to these people in the ways that I can, because I can learn lots of things that are quite confidential, that they wouldn’t talk to others about, their abuse or about their, you know, domestic abuse or drug abuse or how hard their life is when they’re in a council estate with, you know, six children, single mum, alcoholic, whatever. And I don’t judge anyone for who they are because that’s how, part of my training. But actually, I’ve always tried my best as a doctor. Like I work really hard and I want to individualise, care and give people choice but I never had hormones in my toolbox for choice because no one taught me. We were taught a lot about contraception. We were taught a lot about the Depo-Provera injection. Give that to as many people as possible. And then when they started to, I started to give the Depo to women. Often it was women who had had 5 or 6 children who they didn’t want to be pregnant again, of course, and I felt a bit uncomfortable giving this injection because I thought, I don’t know what the long term risks are, I don’t really know. And then there were some studies to show, well, there was some osteoporosis or thinning of the bones. And I thought, oh, hang on a minute. We’re switching off their natural hormones. The natural hormones build bone. But they also are really important for mental health and these women are quite flat and quite low. And everyone’s saying, oh, but they’re complex women. They live in council estates, Louise, don’t worry about them. And I’m like hang on a minute. [00:08:52][111.3]

Bryony Gordon: [00:08:52] I mean, there’s something, it’s quite dark. I mean, it’s essentially sort of like, I’m not going to use the word sterilising, but. [00:08:59][6.4]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:08:59] Well, it is, but it’s also giving them a chemical menopause as well, which I hadn’t realised. And then even we’re going to Women’s Revolt exhibition at the Tate, which is the most amazing exhibition a few weeks ago with my children, there was something from 1979, this poster that these women had drawn with a picture of the syringe saying, ban the Depo, 1979. It’s a synthetic hormone. It messes with our brains. Don’t trust the doctors. 45 years later, we’ve got the implant. It’s again, it’s just a chemical progesterone that is switching off hormones. But the other thing that I didn’t know, which I only found out a few years ago, which I’m quite embarrassed about to admit, but I don’t care, admitting my failures is that I didn’t know these hormones were produced in our brains. Our brain synthesises oestradiol, progesterone, and testosterone. So it’s not all about our ovaries. So we always say, oh, it’s your ovaries playing up. It’s, you know, your ovaries because it’s that time of the month. But actually our brain is a powerhouse and it produces these hormones and which psychiatrist, which neuro researchers have been looking at the role of female hormones in our brain? Very few. And there are people with PMDD, like you say, but also OCD, ADHD, which I think there is a hormonal element, probably based in the brain, but we haven’t done as much research. [00:10:19][79.8]

Bryony Gordon: [00:10:20] I absolutely agree Louise and I think, you know, for me, OCD, the first time I experienced OCD, I was about 11, right. You know, and I got my period about six months later. Now I think there’s an enormous temptation to kind of grab for the, Oh, that’s why I’m like, I am, you know, and like just hormones are the reason and I don’t think that’s the case. I think I probably always have, you know, a predisposition to mental illness, OK. But I do recognise that my ability to deal with that mental illness is massively affected by where my hormones are at any given time, and that’s crucial because it’s the difference between being in a raging sea with a life raft and, you know, or just being naked in the Atlantic Ocean and nothing, you know. And I do think that’s really key because and I also think I believe, like, you know, now you’ll get this as a doctor, you’d look back at kind of Victorian times when doctors didn’t know that the surgeons didn’t know that they should wash their hands. [00:11:25][64.7]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:11:26] It’s Semmelweis isn’t it? [00:11:27][0.3]

Bryony Gordon: [00:11:27] They believed germs were came through the air so they would like, keep the window, you know, like there was, and we look back and go, how did they not know that? You know, and I’m sure that in 100 years time, you know, they’ll be people, our like great great granddaughters or whatever will be have it sitting on a whatever the version of a podcast is, you know, and 2124 and going, God, can you believe they had no idea about the effects of hormones on our mental health? [00:11:57][30.0]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:11:57] Well, it’s very interesting. So I was reading some history books, as you do when you haven’t got anything else to do. And it’s 1789 was one that I read and it’s describing the menopause, but it describes the mental turmoil for these women, and it describes how it’s cyclical and the periods are a cure for their mental anguish. And so they used to do bloodletting. So they used to do cuts even under our breasts and in the legs to let out blood, because they thought that would help our mood. And, and I understand that actually, when we do have our periods, our hormone levels often improve. And before our periods is when our hormone levels are at their lowest. So even then, in the 1700s, they knew there was something that was changing in a woman’s body. And they did describe some flushes and sweats. But this mental health and then hysteria, hysterectomy, obviously mental health, it. [00:12:51][53.3]

Bryony Gordon: [00:12:51] Hysteria comes from the Greek word for womb doesn’t it? [00:12:52][0.2]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:12:54] Yes absolutely does. And then actually I was finding some adverts for a presentation I was giving about misogyny recently, and it was adverts from the 50s and 60s and they used to give us, when I say us, I mean women, not me personally, barbiturates and benzodiazepine to keep us at the home, to quieten us down because we had this mental issues going on and there was even an advert for, housewive’s headache. And she had a broom in her hands and she like oh. But that was, I’m sure, related to our hormones. You know… [00:13:26][32.3]

Bryony Gordon: [00:13:26] I think it’s so interesting how we’ve lost touch with our own, our bodies and our kind of ownership of them. So, like, I think this is really crucial. So Mad Woman, the mad woman of my title is not, it’s like your damn right I’m mad, I’m fucking furious because, you know, like, a lot of this stuff that we experience is totally appropriate. It’s totally appropriate because we, of course, women experience imposter syndrome, you know, because we live in a society that’s a patriarchy, that is not, has never been set up for us and is still not really. Right. OK. So all of these things I think are really appropriate. But also I read this book, which I just think is fantastic, called Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. It’s quite a classic book, and she speaks about back in ancient tribal times how, you know, they used to write about women being sent off because they were dirty during the times of their, you know, menstruation, right? And she says, even now I can imagine, you know, like, if we were told to do that, we’d like go, oh, no, we’re being sent off and then get round the corner and go, woohoo! But how actually these areas where women came together were like really crucial to connect and exchange ideas and feel and also just go with the flow of our bodies. And of course, you know, we don’t. We have adapted through, you know, this is I mean, this is like this is a much bigger political discussion and socio political discussion. But like in the last 100 years, you know, the freedom we have been given by the contraceptive pill is still only freedom so that we fit in to a male world like, there is no point at which men are ever asked to adapt to a world with women in it, you know? And that’s the fucking truth. And it makes me so cross. And that’s what this book is all about, is like. And all along you’ve been telling me I’m the problem? Like babes. I’m not the problem. I’m the fucking solution. [00:15:30][123.3]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:15:32] No, I totally agree, and it’s even more complicated when you talk about hormones because with contraception there’s advantages to the man, to society because we don’t get pregnant. But actually with the menopause, the advantages are that women become, weller, they become more vocal, they become less invisible, they become more in control. They’re more likely to be like CEOs and on boards and not give up their jobs. Mmm, that’s a bit scary isn’t it. And it’s a bit like this sort of, I don’t know, I always think, you know, the Elvis Presley film, with Elvis and the women suddenly got very liberated. They were gyrating their hips and, like, having a wonderful time in front of Elvis. And the men hated them being so happy. And Elvis was taken off, wasn’t he, to go into the Navy. And they was like, you can’t dance like that on the stage. You can’t let women be happy. [00:16:21][49.5]

Bryony Gordon: [00:16:22] My experience, my like, personal experience professionally has been that men generally have definitely in the last few years since I started to go through that and start to really sort of own my power and step into it and not, you know, they don’t like it. Like I found my interesting is that actually, since I got sober, I’m an alcoholic in recovery. But, you know, for me, the process of getting sober has been like, in a way, I needed alcohol for my 20s and my 30s because it was the only way I could could numb myself to fit into a patriarchy, right? And in a way, you know, you would think like an alcoholic getting sober was a good thing. But what I’ve really discovered, actually, is that in terms of profession, in terms of the male worlds in which I exist, I’m probably saying too much here, but it’s it’s been much harder. Like, they don’t like it, like they like Bryony, who, you know, Bryony, 29-year-old Bryony, a coke addict and an alcoholic and, you know, happy to do whatever they were asked, like people pleasing. Brilliant. She’s great. You know, but 43-year-old Bryony who’s going no, actually I don’t want to do this thing you’ve asked me to. And I think I’m worth more than that. And I don’t agree with you. You know, these are normal things that, you know, we should all be able to have conversations about. It’s like, well, OK, you’re dead to me. That’s been my experience. [00:17:49][87.5]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:17:50] Yeah, I totally agree. And what saddens me is I see and speak to a lot of women who have taken to alcohol, drugs, even class A drugs to try and help the demons in their brain that are associated with their hormonal changes. And I spoke to someone recently who became an alcoholic aged 14 actually. She wanted to escape from the hormonal changes. She didn’t realise what was going on. Before her period she was so dark. Very violent household, stepfather that, you know, really, she didn’t want to be near. So it was convenient for her stepdad and mum for her to be away from the house with all sorts of children and young adults who were helping her to drink more and more. And she’s now in her late 40s, and she’s getting these thoughts again, and she’s very, very scared. She’s sober. She doesn’t want to go back to drinking alcohol but she doesn’t know what to do. And it took for just for me to say, will it be related to your hormones like it was when you were 14? You know. [00:18:45][54.8]

Bryony Gordon: [00:18:45] It’s a really interesting point, though as well, because I have this belief as well, that there’s a kind of witchy magic to menopause and the hormones and what they bring up, right, are the things that you absolutely need to deal with. It’s like your body going, are you going to deal with this? Because if you want to move into the next however many decades of your life and own them and enjoy them as you deserve to because you’re a fucking queen, you’re going to have to deal with this issue, you know? And for me, that’s very much been the case is the paranoia, the imposter sense, the kind of like, oh, maybe I’m not that good at what I do is like, you know, I feel it’s like my body been asking me to step into that thing of going. You can start on your own two feet babes, you’re OK. [00:19:29][43.9]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:19:31] And it is interesting. So a lot of people who think they’re progesterone intolerant, it’s worth maybe saying a little bit because there are some people who are intolerant of synthetic progesterone. We still call them progesterone, like progesterone-only pill but it’s been chemically modified. So it’s not the same. So it doesn’t have the same beneficial effects in the body. And there are a lot of people who are intolerant of those, but they’re fine with the natural progesterone. But even the natural progesterone is very anti-inflammatory in the brain. It helps like actually the brain to rewire itself. [00:20:01][30.5]

Bryony Gordon: [00:20:02] Lots of women really like progesterone don’t they? [00:20:03][1.5]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:20:04] They do. It’s like a real Marmite. Some people love it. It helps them feel calmer. It helps feel more relaxed. It helps them sleep and others, about 10% probably of women, just don’t like it at all. But I was speaking to someone recently and there’s there is increasing evidence because it helps the neural networks and pathways to reform, some people feel worse before they feel better, because it’s actually these thoughts that you say that like it will bring things and traumas to the surface, which are quite hard sometimes to understand. But then once the body is reduced in its inflammation, these pathways reform. You deal with that process and then you feel amazing afterwards. So I actually am intolerant, or I thought I was, of progesterone and I used to have, I started it when I started like my clinic and my work and my I used to literally say to my husband, I want to close the clinic. I want to stay in this bedroom. I do not want to get up, I feel awful. And it took me a while to realise it was the progesterone. But I was speaking to this other doctor recently, he said. Yes, but that’s probably internally what you really wanted to do but you were too scared to admit it. And I am quite a negative dark person. But he said, actually, if you’d continued and maybe increased the dose and used it in a different way, say off license, we often use it vaginally, you would have actually come out of that quite a lot quicker and then you would feel even stronger. It’s a bit like some sort of therapy or whatever, and it’s the rebuilding of the brain. And I thought, actually, that is really interesting because when you have a side effect to a medication, we’ve all done it, you try something once, feal awful go, right, I’m never touching that again. But actually, maybe it was because it wasn’t the right dose or type or you hadn’t had it for long enough. And him explaining that in a very simple way, thought actually, it’s a way of you dealing with demons in your head. And I think when you’re older, because a lot of it is older women who are menopausal, not always, younger women can. But when you’re older, you’ve got life experiences so this kick ass attitude you now have Bryony is part of it because you’ve experienced so much in your life. And that’s where I think menopausal women have the edge and the advantage, because we’ve got these mixed emotions and we’ve got life experience, and there is always somewhere in our head telling us, no, Louise, no Bryony, you’re not as bad as you think you are. Like, look at the good you can do. You’re not actually stupid either, even though lots of men and others are telling you that you’re really stupid. Actually, you’re not. And that takes quite a lot, doesn’t it, to really do it. [00:22:33][149.2]

Bryony Gordon: [00:22:34] It takes a, do you know Louise, it takes a hell of a lot. It takes a hell of a lot. And it’s like, it’s quite profound and I think and quite beautiful. And that idea is as I was listening to you talk and, like, pushing through things and, and I think even if it’s not, you know, like for me, it’s like even just understanding that I can have that reaction to synthetic hormones or whatever. It’s like it gives me a bit of distance and it allows me to go, OK, this is not me. This is not not necessarily true. This whole thing of like, you know, you’re terrible. Everyone hates you. I’m like, is that true? Is actually the challenge here to be questioning this internal dialogue? And I think it is and I, I was reading a brilliant something recently about sort of gratitude and how, actually what gratitude is sort of like when you go through tough times, it’s not going, oh, I’m really grateful for these tough times because it means I’m alive. It was like, you know. It’s like going, no what I’m grateful for is what I’m learning. The strength that I am going to gain from having to go through this shitty experience. [00:23:46][72.0]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:23:46] And I think it is so important, like I do quite a lot of yoga, and sometimes the instructor will say, it’s really good to wobble because then you’ll only grow stronger. And I’m thinking, yeah, that’s good, because it’s a bit like being pushed down or having a negative experience. You will grow stronger, but it’s so hard. And I always look at people and always think, oh, they’re lucky they’ve got all this, they’ve got all that, but no one knows what’s going on internally. And, you know, I had the biggest negative experience of my life when my dad died when I was nine, and I could have spent my whole life feeling sorry for myself. Instead, it’s like, do you know what? That was so awful. Nothing can be as bad as that. Well, very few things, but actually it’s going to make me more independent, more resilient, not to depend on other people, not rely on other people. Because no one prepared me for his death. And I’m still cross about that because it was in the 70s and you didn’t talk to your children. So that lack of trust I had for my, you know, people who looked after me, my grandparents, my mother, it was really, really, you know, it’s been very deep seated, but actually it’s helping me with my work now. So when people try and throw mud at me, it’s like, hang on a minute, I’m still independent. I’m still going to carry on, although it’s hard and I think this is the same with anything, isn’t it? When the children get bullied at school. It’s like, no, you’ve got to keep going. You know, if you believe you’re doing is right, just keep going. And and that’s what we want as women, isn’t it? If we know what we’re doing is right and we’ve got good values and integrity, we’ve just got to have that strength. But I think until you’ve been pushed down, you don’t know how to keep strong. Does that make sense? [00:25:22][95.6]

Bryony Gordon: [00:25:23] It does, yeah. It does, it’s about resilience. That’s resilience isn’t it. It’s like resilience is not refusing to fall over. It’s falling over and getting up again. You know like that’s what. It’s, which is helpful as I sit here and I’m supposed to be running four marathons in two weeks’ time and my leg is in bits and I’m like, well, maybe my legs actually just getting stronger in preparation for these marathons. [00:25:50][27.3]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:25:51] Yeah. But I think what’s interesting now that we didn’t have many years ago is that women can form, women work in mysterious ways. We’ve got social media, we’ve obviously always had media, but we’ve got ways where women can really build. So this whole thing about whether we want hormones or not, whether we want to do yoga or not, whether we want to drink alcohol or not, we can share our experiences in ways that I don’t think men do in the same way, because we’re quite honest. But we have this sort of secret network, really, and that’s amplified when it comes to the whole menopause, perimenopause, hormonal thing. And I think I don’t think it’s going to be as long as 100 years Bryony. I think our next generation are so like even more resilient than us. And they’re more open to change than us. And they’re more they’ve got more common sense, actually, in some ways, because my children are like, Mummy what’s the big fuss, it’s just hormones. Like, let’s talk about other things that are more, you know, difficult. So I think having women together is very powerful when they’re in the right frame of mind. We really do pick each other up a lot, I think. [00:26:57][66.0]

Bryony Gordon: [00:26:58] No, I agree, I feel like this conversation has picked me up quite alot, I was in quite a like doldrums about an hour ago. And now I’m like, hmm yeah, let’s go out and kick some arse. [00:27:07][9.3]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:27:09] But that’s what we need. I mean, I honestly, my husband can tell you there was many times where I, I want to give up everything and throw the towel in. [00:27:16][7.6]

Bryony Gordon: [00:27:17] I do, all the time. Every day is a battle to not. Every day, I’m like, when can I just run away to Cornwall, live by the sea and live in a commune. [00:27:28][11.0]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:27:29] Yeah, can I join you? [00:27:29][0.3]

Bryony Gordon: [00:27:30] Yes. Like… Like there’s a question where I go, maybe that’s the matriarchy. Maybe the matriarchy is we all get to go and live in the commune together, and we all support each other. And our men come and they go, do you know what actually, this is really awesome. And we go, well, maybe we could create a human-rarchy. [00:27:48][18.0]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:27:52] Oh, it’s great, it’s great, I think. What I love is the honesty and I think like I am such an honest person, but in your book you say all these things that like so many of us and I don’t know how many because we don’t talk, but I certainly have this monkey chatter, this negativity in my brain a lot that I have to suppress, suppress, suppress. Otherwise I get nothing done. So actually, it was really, you don’t know how reassuring it was to read your book, to know that, you know, many of us haven’t been diagnosed with various things, but we know we have them, but actually we just try and suppress them. But actually, for you to allow us to think mmm yeah actually Bryony is not alone in this, but Bryony is really vocal, I think it’s amazing. So thank you is what I want to say. [00:28:35][42.5]

Bryony Gordon: [00:28:35] Thank you Louise. [00:28:35][0.0]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:28:35] But before I end, I always end on three take home tips. So I would ask, if it’s OK, three things that you would like to tell your former self or people who are younger who have just been told, oh, it’s your hormones, don’t worry. [00:28:52][16.2]

Bryony Gordon: [00:28:52] Okay? Stop dismissing yourself. Stop dismissing yourself, okay? It’s not just anything. It’s valid because it’s your experience. So stop dismissing yourself right, the moment you get into that frame of mind, everything is quite liberating. Unless, you know, like I discount my point of view or my feelings because they’re mine. Just because they’re mine. I’m like, oh, the other person must be right. No. Maybe sometimes you’re right, OK. Maybe sometimes you’re wrong. But that’s also OK. My other thing is, I think a lot of my stuff has been this obsession about being a good girl, you know, and want it. And for me, it’s like, I would say it’s OK sometimes that you’re bad. We all are. You know, I think the society wants us to live as women in a way that isn’t very human, you know, like. And, you know, I suppose confidence is a trick. No one has confidence, you know, it’s a trick. No one has confidence. I don’t have confidence. I just have a will. I just have a desperation not to spend the rest of my life hating on myself because it’s such a waste of energy. [00:30:03][70.7]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:30:04] Yeah, I love that. That’s so important. Great tips. And honestly, I could talk for longer, but it’s been brilliant. So thank you and I look forward to seeing you at CarFest. [00:30:13][9.6]

Bryony Gordon: [00:30:14] Oh me too. Thank you Louise, thanks for having me. [00:30:17][2.5]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:30:17] Thanks, Bryony. [00:30:17][0.4]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:30:23] You can find out more about Newson Health Group by visiting And you can download the free balance app on the App Store or Google Play. [00:30:23][0.0]


Bryony Gordon: mental health, hormones and witchy magic

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