Menopause Sure Is Something!
Ah, Come On, Menopausal God. Give Me Something Here
Remember the days of PMS? When you felt as if you were crawling out of your skin? Progesterone and estrogen levels erratically surging, making you feel as if you either want to either hide away in your room and sob uncontrollably, or pack a bag and head off on a trip to an island by your lonesome.
Yes, the clenched jaws, impatience, bloating, and genuine feelings of being cray-cray.
To think those days disappear once you hit menopause.
See, that’s what I used to think when I was in the perimenopausal season. I thought it was like a roller coaster ride. You ride up, up, up through perimenopause and then you actually hit the top, enduring menopause for a short bit, and then you’re home free. Ah, the rush of no periods and no hormonal surges!
Um, not the case.
A couple of years ago, I went to my doctor for blood work and she excitedly told me I was almost done with menopause. Yay! Since I had been dealing with hot flashes, this was wonderful news.
Fast forward till today and I’m still dealing with hot flashes, mood changes, sleep issues, and anxiety. I understand this can go on for years, but the past couple of weeks… eeks!
I know there are things I can do to try to help with menopausal symptoms. I do supplement my diet well. I do eat pretty healthy. I do exercise. I do meditate or get into nature.
But I’m not willing to get on hormones, so my reality is to wait it out. I do believe I’ll get through this. I have faith, and faith is something.
Granted, the last few days, while Hurricane Barry was rolling through the area, I pretty much sat idle in the house, reading and napping. I picked up a great book at the library called, “Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life” by Darcey Steinke.
It’s really helped me feel less alone. I especially like how she shares how other women feel at the onset of a hot flash.
Before I share, let me say if you have never experienced a hot flash, you just can’t understand. You can try, but it’s tough to really convey what’s going on in the body.
I used to not mind hot flashes so much, but honestly, I’m over them. They make me feel bonafide crazy these days, at least for a few moments. I think the worst for me is the few seconds right before they occur…this feeling that everything is wrong. This overwhelming feeling that sometimes makes me think, “This is it. I’m going to die.”
I used to think it was just me, but it’s not. Listen to what Steinke shares in her book about women experiencing hot flashes:
“I feel like I’m going down in an elevator, my stomach drops, flash of nausea, a weird weak feeling, then the heat.”
“Mine starts with fear. It’s a quick burst of heat and nerve endings igniting in fear.”
For me, there’s something that happens in my brain. Like, a glitch. I’ll stop whatever I’m doing and feel this sense of doom. Unease. Like something’s not quite right. Then, a twinge of fear, as this eery sensation travels through my body. Then, the heat, which causes me to start shedding clothes and find a fan for a bit of relief. No doubt I’ve hit the freezer just as many other women have.
Now after a week or so of feeling “not quite right”, I’ve upped my time in meditation and prayer. And solitude, because something’s gotta give. The weather man’s voice is annoying, the ticking of the clock is driving me crazy, the way my mind is racing makes me want to reach for something that will slow….it….down.
Yesterday, as I was in prayer and meditation, I was like, “Come on, God. Give me something to work with here. This is beyond my control. I’m doing what I know to do. Come on. A little help?”
And isn’t that what we oftentimes do? We try to get through things or get by relying on what’s always worked for us. The tools we’ve learned over the years. Our favorite medicine. That thing that always makes us feel better.
But what about when those things aren’t working? Meditation seems boring. Don’t have it in ya to utter a prayer. The vitamins and supplements aren’t doing the trick.
Speaking for myself, I do my best to ride it out in a way that doesn’t hurt me or others. I know relief will come. I know my faith will produce results, maybe not in my timing, but in due time.
Until then, I keep doing what I know to do. I pray. I meditate. I get into nature. I reach out for support. I learn about things like how to use self-hypnosis to overcome depression and sleep better. I listen to encouraging people. I breathe deeply and slowly.
My faith keeps me going; it’s always kept me going. I trust that this too shall pass and I trust that I’ll be shown what needs to be shown in perfect timing. Faith is not passive; it’s active. I’m actively sowing positive things into my life, even when I’m feeling down and out. Even when the hormones are all out of whack.
Even when menopause just keeps on and on….
So, essentially, in this post, I’m putting it out there that this chic has been struggling emotionally for a couple of weeks now.
Due to hormones? Menopause?
Also due to this midlife transition. Heading into the Golden Years is much different than heading into your twenties or thirties. Guaranteed.
But I’m not one to sit idly by and throw a pity party. I’m one to rise, and rise again. I’m one to be open to learning lessons and passing them on.
And, I’m one to believe that we have the opportunity to learn valuable lessons in the fire. In the tough stuff. In the confusion and pain.
I’m interested in hearing from other women in perimenopause or menopause. What are your thoughts? Experiences? Struggles?
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Dominica Applegate is an author, writer, and transpersonal spiritual teacher. Her teachings have helped millions of people experience emotional healing, relationship repair, and spiritual awakening. Earning her BA in Psychology and MA in Counseling, she worked 12 years in the mental health field before diving full-time into writing.
She runs Rediscovering Sacredness, an online portal that offers inspiration, essays, resources, and tools to help heal inner pain and experience more peace and joy.
Her books include Recycle Your Pain: It Has a Purpose, Into The Wild Shadow Work Journal, and a collection of poetry entitled, The Pain, It Shapes Her World.