This is the only Blog where I will use the word menopause, I decided to write this as honestly as I can for two reasons. One, to sort my head out and accept what is going on, and two to try to find the balance again.
Wikepedia defines it as …
Menopause is the cessation of a woman’s reproductive ability, the opposite of menarche. Menopause is usually a natural change; it typically occurs in women in midlife, during their late 40s or early 50s, signaling the end of the fertile phase of a woman’s life.
The Mao Clinic says
Menopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility, defined as occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States. Menopause is a natural biological process. Although it ends fertility, you can stay healthy, vital and sexual. Some women feel relieved because they no longer need to worry about pregnancy
So many definitions talk about it as the end, the ”stopping”, the cessation, they make it sound like that is it! I guess the tone is in the eye of the reader, whether you see it as a cold hard definition or the experts giving you advice. Whatever it is, I hate the word menopause much like I hate any medical term. Why? Because in the eye of this reader, it defines me, it tells me how I should feel, what is happening to me and what will happen to me. There are tips and hints all over the place advising you what to eat, what to ask your GP, what to avoid and how to cope with hot flushes but the one thing no one can tell you is when these things happen that it will try to shut you down.
So what is happening with me? Well, I am struggling with several things. The hormone rush, when the silliest advert or situation makes me cry, the sheer frustration at my inability to make a decision between one brand of coffee and another leading to me dumping a full basket and walking out of the deli, the fact that I am craving chips, lemon curd and coffee constantly but perhaps the biggest one is the body image thing is back. I looked at myself in the mirror the other morning and started to cry. I could not see the 50-year-old woman who has achieved so much to be able to lift a 16kg kettlebell over her head, all I could see was a washed out middle-aged female with spotty skin, dripping in sweat and wearing clothes that do not fit her. I felt and looked total crap and there was zero motivation to change it so the only thing to do was to crawl back into bed and have a lazy day doing nothing but escape into the world of telly. There is no anxiety, no worry just nothing with no desire to face the world and change. How do I dig myself out of this? At the moment I have no idea, I am reading all the information I can gather, focusing on the understanding of the whole M word situation and I will be talking it out with the right people but perhaps the one thing I am missing is how to live with it. How do I learn to cope with ”hide under the duvet” feeling? The ”wear the baggy jumper and hoodie days”? The ”I want to listen to loud rock, light candles and sit in my room sulking” evenings? In other words, how do I cope with being a teenager again but with my body going on reverse?
So many questions, so for the answer I asked a teenager. She handed me a postcard someone had given her a while ago, it was not dissimilar to the below, the message was very much the same.
I said to her that my problem was ”how I feel about myself” and she said to me in her fifteen year old wisdom ” you remember that skateboard picture you sent me of the boy at the top of the hill? Well it is kinda like that, do you kick up the board and go home to watch telly or do you skate right down that hill not knowing if you will end up in the water”
I said I didn’t get her point and yet again in that stating the bleeding obvious manner that young people often have, she sighed, put down her mobile and said ”I have spots, you have spots. I have mood swings, you have mood swings. I am on a skate board at the top of a hill and so are you, live with it”. She went back to Candy Crush! In other words sometimes we don’t get a choice in life, we have to get on that skateboard and hurtle down that hill whether we like it or not. The adrenalin rush will scare or excite, there will be tears and tantrums when a wheel falls off now and again and scrapes, bruises and cuts will happen because I am choosing to do this without a helmet or knee pads. Being a teenager pure sucks man but dude, as I have said before, if I can get through this and find the balance I have worked hard to achieve then perhaps the M word is not an end as defined, but it is a beginning?
Like many an ageing teenager before me I still have loads of questions and lots to cope with but, as I said in my last Blog, finding the right people with the right knowledge is key, and the putting into practice what I have learned even more so. No one can do this or get through this for me so perhaps the key member of Team #GinorGym is me and that woman in the mirror. Back to square one? Perhaps but that water at the bottom of the hill looks so tempting, especially when you are in the middle of a hot flash!
There will be no more Blogs with the men***se word in them. It is the M word from now on in!
I love this post, because it is so sincere and so open minded. I am 25 and menopause is presented to me as something natural that is going to happen, but that will mean weight gain, mood swings etc. It is also presented to me as something I can deal with with a guide which I do not like (I am totally against prescriptive behavior). So, THANK YOU and best of luck rediscovering your body.
*Stands and applauds* Well said that woman. It’s got to be crucial to accept it as just a phase. It’s coming, like it or not. Just don’t forget your knee and elbow pads before you set off down that hill.
Good luck on that hill – I’m standing right there next to you.
I’m also taking Agnus Castus (a herbal remedy from Boots) seems to be helping 🙂