I haven’t updated this blog in months. That much is obvious.
My retreat wasn’t planned or deliberate – it just happened. It happens that as my symptomatology resolved, I felt less inclined and driven to write about my experience and post information about the still-unspooling world of perimenopause.
I was so stunned, shocked, upset and in utter disbelief about my entrée into perimenopause that I felt I had no choice but to shout from the rooftops. My form of shouting took the form of starting this blog, researching fervently and attempting to share my story with others.
I could not believe the medical community was so clueless about a transition that will affect more than half of the population. I could not believe that I had to see 10 doctors in various disciplines before finally diagnosing myself properly and getting the help I so sorely needed.
I could not believe that I had been having night sweats and daytime sweating when doing basic things, like running the vacuum or folding laundry, and doctors couldn’t connect the dots – even though I was a woman in her early 40s, the age range deemed perimenopausal by default. I was dismayed that I had endured a near-breakdown and somehow had mustered the resilience to wade through it on my own, with little to no sound medical guidance.
I could not believe the extent to which I had to lead the way. Most of the physicians I consulted with were shooting in the dark, incredulous at the idea of perimenopause and apparently unschooled on the potential 30+ manifestations of perimenopause, of which my main life-debilitating symptoms were sudden-onset insomnia and a level of anxiety that finally convinced me that anxiety can be, in fact, a real condition (previously I thought it was an excuse for those who needed to pull themselves together, toughen up and develop better coping skills).
I could not sleep. My mind was in a continuous whirl. I was more sensitive to sounds and noises. My body trembled. My appetite declined. And I was paralyzed with fear as nighttime approached.
* * *
Now that I am more than a year removed from that harrowing and life-changing event, I can now describe and see my prior symptoms and previous state for what they were. I can detail it in words without the fear of stigma and without the cloak of shame.
I am not without symptoms. Do not get me wrong. By all predictions, I am still in the thick of this phase. I am likely years from reaching actual menopause.
I still sweat at night, sometimes. And I occasionally get turned up and start thinking about random topics at the most inopportune times. But my symptoms have abated by about 90 percent, and that is a world of difference from where I was before.
I’ll take it.
I’ve had to make peace (still working on it) with going from being who I was to who I now am. I think this experience has changed me almost just as much as having children did. I have transformed my mind to realize there was Former State Me who is no more, to the forthcoming Future State Me. And in the meantime, I have to find contentment and resolve in the Current State Me. The Current State Me requires medications and a panoply of life changes to retain homeostasis and structure. The Former State Me was prescribed no meds that I took on a regular basis, and I could be much more freewheeling with my days and decisions.
These days, I know that certain things are essential to my well-being, and my cadence is at times procedural and fixed.
I know I have to work out 60-90 minutes a day, if not for my body for my mind. This is a non-negotiable. It’s what I do in the morning after drinking coffee.
I now take prebiotics and probiotics, and drink kefir, because I’ve read enough about the gut being the “second brain,” and I know these are things I can do to help optimize my well-being.
I don’t drink any afternoon coffee anymore because I just can’t risk it.
I also take a medication that has conquered the midlife headaches I developed (I was having 5-6 headaches a week), resolved most of the anxiety I had and ensures a peaceful nighttime.
I say no more often. But more than saying no, I fall back and don’t put my peace on the line as much anyway.
I thank God each and every morning. I really do. They are the first words out of my mouth.
I do not know what the future holds. But this I do know: “[S]he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
The Real Peri Meno is devoted to all things perimenopause - the science, treatments, care, understanding, personal experiences, relationships, culture and more. The brain child of Keisha D. Edwards, The Real Peri Meno developed out of her own shock-and-awe experience with perimenopause and navigating the disjointed U.S. medical system in search of answers, support and relief.
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