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.”
Leave a Reply.
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.
All Antidepressants Anxiety Black Women Body Positivity Body Type Depression Doctors Emotions Healthcare Hormones HRT Insomnia Meditation Melatonin Menopause Mental Health Midlife Midlife Medical Minute NAMS Natural Remedies Perimenopause Personal Stories Relationships Reproductive Aging Research Serotonin Sleep Well Being Well-Being Women Of Color