The peri menopausal madness...update
I don’t often share very personal information on here but after a conversation on good ole facebook yesterday I am giving an update to my blog from last year about the peri menopause…
The update nearly a year later is this…
The Merina coil they fitted kicked into action four months later, finally stopping the bleeding. Now I have irregular light bleeds. This is obviously far better than a continuous year long bleed but a bit random as to when it happens, so I have to be prepared. No running carefree through fields of wild flowers in a white dress for me….
The downside is that the coil has not prevented the ‘pick n mix’ hormones. It is a lucky (or unlucky) draw each day to see whether I am Jekyll or Hyde. It is exhausting for both me and my very patient but long suffering husband. Some days I feel nothing, literally nothing – no emotions at all, completely detached from everything and everyone. Other days I am prone to bursting into tears for no apparent reason. On a very bad day and thankfully there haven’t been too many of them, I am evil…hating everything and everyone.
The other joyful gift from the peri menopause is acne, bad acne. I was incredibly lucky to have not suffered with bad spots during my teenage years, but my skin is making up for it now. It swings between a few spots to ‘ye gods my entire face feels like it is on fire and I look like a pizza’. There doesn’t seem to be an exact pattern, but I think it is tying in with the mood swings and perhaps the times when I should be having my monthly moon time.
My first port of call was to try acne creams and lotions – they made it worse and I will never ever use a facial exfoliator again…yikes! Then I discovered a totally chemical free face wash and moisturiser (Tropic range) and have been using that for a few months now which helps. Other than that, I have become adept at using concealer and foundation. But waking up and looking in the mirror at a bright red blotchy face does not help make you feel fabulous, I can tell you.
And the weight gain. OK, so some of that might be cake overload but not all of it! My body shape is a bit alien to me at the moment. Wearing my favourite floaty summer dresses that I used to feel like a free wild hippy in, now just make me look (and feel) six months pregnant.
I have floundered a lot and I am still not much wiser about how to deal with it. Although reading Colette Brown’s book, Menopause: A Natural and Spiritual Journey did help, particularly to realise that I am not alone in this.
And then discovering that a couple of lovely friends are experiencing the same journey, almost exactly. To be able to talk (and moan) about the symptoms and how damn horrible it all is helps more than you could imagine.
I am told that the peri menopause can last 4-6 years and I reckon I am on about year three. I am just hoping that by year six there won’t be too many bodies piled up…
I don’t have an answer or a solution. I have tried a truck load of herbal remedies and medications and come to the conclusion that the only real answer is this: Mind set, support and making it work for you. But it ain’t at all easy.
I am incredibly blessed to have an extremely patient and understanding husband, but part of that is talking about it. At the end of the day he is never going to experience a menopause himself so has no idea unless I try to explain what is going on, not that I know fully myself really. But we talk, and I make attempts at sharing my emotions and mad, insane states of mind so that he can at least get some idea. We have also come to the conclusion and perhaps acceptance that it is happening and there isn’t much we can do about it so we have to deal with each day as it comes and wait it out until that final day when it is over (there will be cake…and balloons).
Understanding and dealing with it – on Sunday I was having a particularly bad morning, so hubby and I escaped the house. Just for half an hour, a slow meander around a local superstore. It was not a romantic destination, but it gave me the chance to clear my head. We then settled on sandwiches for dinner, which meant I didn’t have to spend ages in the kitchen cooking. The afternoon was filled with Monopoly and then an evening of watching Elementary. It wasn’t grand, it didn’t cost lots of money, but it worked with how I was feeling and helped to ease the menopausal monkey.
The mood wasn’t helped by the silly heatwave we are having at the moment and a couple of facebook trolls either. However, yesterday I was whisked away in the witchcraft wagon by lovely ladies to share pots of herbal tea, vegetarian breakfasts, crystal shops and the seaside. Again, a simple and easy solution to help clear away the cobwebs and gain some perspective.
I am very blessed to be able to work from home and have flexible working hours, I know not everyone can (believe me, I have spent most of my working life in an office), so it will be a case of finding out how you can work with it, rather than fight against it. In real life we can’t just hide away under the duvet until the mood goes away. I have a husband to look after, a house to run, three jobs and teenage children (who are now on school/college holidays).
I have also talked to the children about what I am going through and they are wary on the bad days!
I am trying to work to a routine. On days when I don’t have to see the outside world I go without makeup to give my skin a rest. I am trying to drink plenty of water (which I am rubbish at). I am attempting to listen to my own needs and to work with them whenever possible. I am prioritising, if I am tired and grumpy then the housework can wait. I schedule my work for the week making sure the important stuff is done first thing each day, then if I am really struggling I know that some things can be left until the next day.
After a few years away from it I have also found my way back to receiving reflexology treatments. They helped me before and they are now helping me again with this particular issue. Not just because the treatments can help ease the menopause symptoms but also because it gives me an hour of pure relaxation!
I have also started talking about it, which is difficult for me, I don’t usually share personal information. I am by nature a bossy control freak (and a Scorpio), I don’t like to show this stuff to anyone. But sharing it even with a few people has helped. Acceptance that you are not a complete and utter nut job is also important (some days it is incredibly difficult to not believe you are going insane).
I think a big part of it is the knowledge that I am not alone in this particular journey.