So Hormonal – essay 1 from the anthology

Short posts on each of the essays from So Hormonal – A Collection of Essays on Hormones published by Monstrous Regiment, Edinburgh edited by Emily Horgan and Zachary Dickson with a foreword by Karen Havelin

No Country for Neurodivergent Women, Addressing Undiagnosed ADHD and Cluster Headaches by Donna Alexander

There’s a great mix of objective fact and subjective sharing in this piece – I learned a lot, felt both informed and sympathetic, without once feeling obligated to pity. In writing like this, particularly in terms of identifying a cause for these two challenging hormonal disorders, it’s hard to find a balance between chemistry and upbringing, but Alexander achieves it. Ireland doesn’t come out so well, but things seem to be moving in the right direction. Using a well-known TV programme and two equally famous films to illustrate, makes it all the more approachable, and anyway it is not bleak as there is subtle humour in both the choice of language and anecdotes. There are some sweet phrases – on p. 5 she describes her childhood den behind the sofa as ‘a cradle in the absence of comfort’ – and the writing is silky smooth.

Donna Alexander is @americasstudies on twitter

Available from The Portobello Bookshop and Lighthouse