Posts Tagged ‘mood swings’

Menopause For The Clueless Like Me

June 30, 2012

Had to chime in on this one, gals.  If you look at the symptoms of menopause and bipolar disorder side by side, they are almost identical.  I was having memory loss, and tremendous mood swings two years ago.  First, I started seeing a therapist, thinking I was losing it.  After a few months, he confirmed that I was not in fact, mentally ill, but suggested I strive to slow down with the flood of topics I talked about in conversation because he felt I was a genius and that it might help people to catch up.  Thanks for the compliment, but now what?  He hadn’t helped me figure out the scourge of symptoms With which I’d had been afflicted.  (My conversations improved dramatically, however).

Upon seeing my gynecologist, I was relieved in a way to find out that I was in menopause, and received some excellent information about how to cope.  My gyno is a much older guy, and uses his well hidden intuition along with a stunning history of good medicine.  I love him because he isn’t afraid to tell me to use black cohosh for hot flashes, and he was the first doctor who didn’t have to look up a rare autoimmune issue I have when I became a new patient.  This is a rare find these days, so I’m keeping him.

Perimenopause leading into menopause is a process that can take ten years to traverse and possibly more.  I know, I was stunned when I first learned this tidbit.  It’s unreal, yes?  There are so many symptoms, and challenges that women have that they don’t realize are menopause related.  Facilitating a red tent for the last five years, I’ve learned a lot about this and encounter many women who are experiencing these things, some more than others, and some great insights into the various ways that women cope.

One of the things that’s helped me come to terms with menopause is slowing down a bit.  I haven’t been overloading my schedule as much and I’ve learned to take time out for myself.  Sleep is crucial, and yet I find myself up at 3 a.m., wide awake.  It can be maddening.  I’ve begun to make the best of it and embrace that time as my quiet time to catch up on a book, some writing, or take time to meditate.  It’s the perfect hushed atmosphere in which to contemplate and make peace with my past, and consider what’s next.

Some women recommend a year of going inward.  In our hectic lives with kids and careers, we don’t always have that prerogative, but in place of that we can take small self care breaks.  I wrote a whole article about this on my blog, inspired by something written by Clarissa Pinkola Estes about women and our bone deep need for recharging our souls.  Taking a year of solitude was an ancient practice.  I sure wish I had the luxury of going to a cabin by myself, turning inward and making peace with my life now that I’m 52 and the shift towards elder is taking place inside of me.  Meanwhile, since it’s not an option, I am finding bits of time to be alone, and as a homeschooling mom, this is quite a feat.

 What can we do to navigate this completely messy, unpredictable, confusingly unforewarned time of our lives?  Walking is good for us, taking high quality supplements, herbal and homeopathic remedies, rescue remedy for stressful situations, whatever stress relieving practices work for you…cutting out too much caffeine, times of solitude, and especially keeping a small notepad for notes.  A very dear friend almost a year ahead of me advised me to write everything down.  Everything.  Words disappear even as they are making their way to my tongue.  They mysteriously interchange, and sometimes I sound like I’m on a psychedelic drug trip as my memory, my intuition, and my inner work collide outwardly in a sentence that no one understands but me.  In fact, we are on a trip of huge proportions…a journey into holding our power as wiser elders, a pregnancy of a lifetime of wisdom giving birth to itself.  Menopause is the time to begin to learn to honor this body journey for real or else.

In Crones Don’t Whine, Jean Shinoda Bolen writes “Crones trust what they know in their bones.” They don’t bend the truth to please others, and they are far less influenced by the opinions of others than they were when young.”  This is common knowledge to many women my age.  With the onset of hormonal flux and deep transformation, we have little patience left for giving away the precious moments of our time left on earth.  Mortality kicks us in the teeth in the wee hours as some of us experience waking from sleep in full blown, bodily panic attacks.  We are slowly  shifting towards resting on the bleachers to watch with a wry smile as the younger crowd goes about their dramatic learnings.  We have some darn good wisdom when they come sauntering over, sweaty and exhausted, inquisitive, sometimes wounded and finally willing to listen.  The demands of those intent on swaying us into the next new thing, or giving us ultimatums on what they deem time-sensitive decisions is easily brushed off like a gnat as we solidly plant ourselves in our own good timing.

The conversations that show up in our faces when we’d rather be enjoying the scenery are more easily met with a simple, direct, honest request for some quiet.  We inadvertently offend those who don’t honor our truth, and in doing so we don’t waste time feeling guilty.  We’re glad to have weeded out who can stand in the face of our power and love us there.  After all, the ones left standing are the ones who will actually show up to lend a hand when we’re too decrepit to carry our own groceries someday soon enough.

Goddess Oceana

http://www.goddessoceana.com

http://www.menopausegoddessblog.com/

http://www.alisastarkweather.com

http://susunweed.com/

Women Who Run With The Wolves

Wisdom of Menopause

Embracing The Bad Days

June 26, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One heck of a day I am having, beginning with powerful emotions surging from a very rough weekend of spouse in a strange mood-itis.  I’m so sensitive that it always hits me hard and takes me a while to recover, and he seems to react to my moods the same way, so we ride  nice big waves around here.  Some days I just chalk the whole mess up to our passionate Italian heritage.  Other days, I realize we are far more alike and sensitive than I had ever imagined.

It started with going to bed too late, which always sets me up for mood swings.  Then there was the fact that it was the first day of his huge successfulness in a brand new arena of career wins and the gifts and basking therein, and suddenly not only was I tired and emotionally worn, but I was hit head on with loss.  My choices, my sacrifices, my stubborn insistence on putting my child first before myself, and the endless windows of opportunities lost were all slamming me in the head.

Top that with reading a metaphysical book written by a woman who looked more like a man from a Victorian generation, about ego and serving others, with every reference to God in the masculine and suddenly I was having an internal war between my empowered, pissed off inner goddess and my good little conservative baptist inner child.  I set myself up with staring at my own failure at everything and wondering whether this spiritual path I had chosen was a big mistake.  Yup, I was a big, fat, lazy, inept, ungrateful failure.  Even this blog I was so excited about sucked.  My writing sucked.  I had no friends.  I felt fat, ugly, old, and opposite of fabulous.

While retching up my existential misery in successive Facebook status updates, I was making tortellini for my son and burned my arm on the pan.  Great.  I may as well just ensure my misery today and eat sugar and fat, too.  So I did.  Apparently, I like to go down with a big, hideous splat and then ricochet with a dramatic comeback.  Did I mention there was thunder and lightening and a brief power outage as well?

I have surrendered fully to this misery inasmuch as I know how.  Today, there is nowhere to go that is of any interest to me.   I want to hide my fat body in my too small for me apartment.  I’m in my own way and have no idea how to get out of it.  I’m so pissed that I don’t even care.  Every solution has a problem with it, why it won’t work, and a price that’s more than I want to pay.  Even no solution has a price, but right now it’s where I am and it still costs less than the calculations I’ve done on my standby fantasy of running away.  Nowhere with no solution.

I imagine you have a load of advice for me, and so do a ton of other people, and it’s all varied, some excellent, some peppered with spiritual cliche, and some empathetic, some not.  The problem is that none of it will help.  Did you know that it actually makes it worse?  The hardest thing for most people to do is to simply hold space and witness someone else’s brilliant process.  The best place for me to be is where I am, miserable, burned, regretful, frustrated, angry, jealous, grieving, and afraid.  I’ve learned it’s a good place to be and that the very best thing I can do is to love exactly where I am because the fertilizer down here is the richest thing happening.

Each individual has unfathomable wisdom and resource inside, and our egos don’t like to admit that someone may know what’s good for themselves better than we do, and we certainly don’t like to see the messiness that reminds us of our own “failing”.  When I rise, you can be certain I’ll be carrying some diamonds of wisdom, and that the simmering desires I’ve been sitting on will explode into a firework of new creations.


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