MIA

Hi Friends, somehow we are a quarter of the way through this new year and you may have decided I must have fallen off the side of the Earth. I have been absent here for a few months, meandering my way through some uncharted territory in my life. I’ve been off on my own, in an unusual headspace, but I feel strongly compelled to share since yesterday’s International Women’s Day.

See, what I’ve been slogging through these past months is completely female. And though it may have been considered taboo to talk about in past generations, it’s high time we bring about a healthy shift because women can feel lost and hopeless where I find myself right now. We gals need to know what to expect because none of us will escape this thing…and not one of us is alone here.

So where am I? I’ve literally been MIA! But maybe not what you are thinking…I’m smack dab in the throes of Menopause is Activated! When I put it like that, it feels more like a superpower haha! What does it even mean? Means I’ve been dealing with a pile of changes I find difficult to navigate on a daily basis. Had my mom’s generation warned me, I feel confident I would have been better equipped. So let’s start that conversation!

Menopause affects each woman uniquely, so I can only tell you what I’m experiencing…that list is long and unpleasant. I’ve got frequent hot flashes that have me peeling off layers at most awkward moments. I find it difficult to concentrate and find myself forgetting important things. My sleep is abruptly interrupted by night sweats, followed by unfounded anxiety that keeps me wide awake and deposits bags under my eyes the next morning. So I guess that’s why another common symptiom is exhaustion. I’m dealing with headaches, irritability, moodiness…pretty much a feeling of perpetual PMS…ugh. The weight gain I’ve read about on the hips, abdomen and thighs…yup, I’ve got that too. I feel like for me, that’s the result of lack of sleep, general depression and the insatiable hunger trigger of this emotional eater.

These are rough enough, but throw them at a gal and expect her to continue juggling the daily grind, while possibly coping with emotions surrounding a shrinking nest and the continuously unexpected with a smile…seriously?!? Guess that’s why they called it a mid-life crises…makes perfect sense to me. Also guessing that’s why valium aka Mother’s Little Helper was so popular back when they wouldn’t talk about it?

So what the heck is a gal supposed to do? It’s easy to see why this is such a difficult time in a woman’s life! Luckily we have the choice of fight or flight here, and I simply refuse to quietly retreat to a corner and allow this to defeat me. So I fight!

I’m grateful to find relief to many of these issues by remaining physically active. I’ve found exercise to be of great help and relief in improving not only the physical changes but the mental and emotional as well. I’ve thrown in some extra heavy doses of yoga and meditation too for a mindful boost…adding in some of that self care reminds me to love myself. Getting outside to breathe deep is priceless too. Sure, I still have moments when it all feels like too much and I succumb to a full-blown tantrum. That’s a great time to just let the emotions come and let it all go!

So there you have it, kind of a laundry list of why I’ve been MIA lately. Not excuses…just taking some time to gently deal with some of the rites of passage associated with the privilege of being a woman.

I’m reminded how blessed I am to have a spouse that understands what I’m going through and picks up the slack without missing a beat. #rockstarhusband!!! He gets me because I tell him how I’m feeling. Communication!!! I’m grateful to not feel alone…exactly why we all need to talk about this.

Have you found yourself MIA? Do you have any wisdom to impart? Or dealing with something you’d like others to weigh in on? Leave a comment, we could all use some help here!

3 thoughts on “MIA

  1. Yes it real and like you said unique to each women.
    I am 51 and still on low dose birth control pill. When I was about 45 gradually started having some hot flashes, moodiness and night sweats. They gradually got a little worse. My Dr decided to have me stop taking the placebo pills in my birth control and just continuely take the pill so I don’t get a period . That was 3 yrs ago which stopped all my symptoms. Then 2 yrs ago I started the uncontrolled crying stage. I would cry ( ball) at everything, things that normally would not bother me. It was horrible. My general Dr had me start taking magnesium glycinate 300mg during the day and then Nature Calm Magnesium drink at night. Wow! What a difference. I sleep great and I hardly having crying episodes now. I will be growing off the pill probably when I turn 52 or 53. I am scared to see what will happen when I do.
    Also for insomnia (which I had for a while) my Dr had me mix 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp salt in a container and keep by my bed. When you wake up in middle of night and can’t fall back to sleep you take a pinch of this mixture and place under your tongue. Lay down and you will fall back to sleep. This help calm your cortisol levels which peak between 1-5 am which can cause insomnia. I swear it works! You can google about it.

  2. Have been there and done that not for menopause necessarily but being sick, locked up. You are lucky to be able to go outside and enjoy the fresh air. In Japan they also have “tree terapy” and people take nature walks as part of depression treatment. So what do I do? First, I try to stay busy. Having lots to do and keeping a list in my head keeps my thoughts from straying into dark places. Second I always have a goal, small ones for day to day. Maybe extra repetitions or a few more steps for the day or getting a shower by myself – I accomplished it!. And long term goals, like a walk outside or a trip! Having something to push yourself to or look forward to keeps me going and I can think about that if I start feeling down. They say hope is eternal and having it feeds the soul.

  3. It blows my mind to be having this discussion with you because when I first met you way back in 8th grade, I had just started my period a few months earlier….and now here we are, talking about menopause. How could we be old enough for this? Ha! Well, we ARE old enough, and I’m happy about that in many ways, but you are so right about how this stage of life can be challenging, to say the least.

    I haven’t yet had full-blown daytime hot flashes but I’m sure they’re on the near horizon. My doctor says I’m perimenopausal. My two major symptoms so far are that my periods became irregular a couple of years ago, after always being like clockwork, and sleep has become problematic when it never was before. Like you, I’ll wake up in the early hours with weird anxiety, totally unfounded, and just feeling oddly uncomfortable and hot and sweaty and just…off.

    But, like Lisa mentioned above, magnesium has been a seriously huge help with that, thank God. Also through a lot of trial and error, I found that Maca powder (in pill form) makes a significant difference in how I sleep and whether or not I get all sweaty in the process. If I take the mag and the maca a few hours before bed, I sleep normally and without all the weird sweaty discomfort, which feels like a miracle after going through the opposite for a few months. I do still have to have a small fan on my bedside table, though, something I never needed until about a year ago.

    I’m totally with you on how great exercise and meditation are for helping with all this weirdness, especially mood. Most of my late-night anxiety centers on my fear of being weak/frail/dependent when I’m elderly. So exercise helps me be less freaked about that, and more in control of my fate. When I don’t want to do it, I think of a very old lady in a nursing home somewhere, and tell myself that if I don’t take this walk or do these pushups, I am directly hurting that poor old lady, but if I do this hard work now while I still can, I’m directly helping her to feel better, be stronger, and have less pain. (The old lady is future me.)

    One last thing, I LOVE that you are writing about this publicly and helping to get this kind of conversation going. It’s astonishing that this subject isn’t talked about more, considering that it affects half of all humans who make it through middle age. It is a really big deal and there shouldn’t be any kind of taboo around it. So thank you for sharing your experience. None of us have to be alone through these changes and all the fear/worry that go with them. Take care, fellow MIAs 🙂

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