...and you're more yourself than you ever were
Recently Tena Woman released a 2-minute campaign to encourage more openness and honesty around menopause. It's truly beautiful (you can watch it at the end of this post)
It got me thinking of my own menopause journey or, as I like to call it now, my beautiful shift. Although, for the first 8 years, not much of it felt beautiful at all
It began by waking up as usual and heading to the bathroom. I have re-read journal entries from this time; life was good, with everyday ups and downs, but nothing notable. One difference was that after a lifetime of having regular periods, I mean, I was clockwork, especially as I was still taking the contraceptive pill; I had made notes that they were being a little hit and miss. But apart from that, I felt good until that morning.
As I walked into the bathroom, instead of heading toward the toilet, I walked towards the mirror; that was the moment my life changed forever.
I looked into the mirror and cried; who was the girl looking back at me? I didn't recognise her at all. She didn't look like me, suddenly I realised that I didn't feel like me. Something wasn't right.
At that moment, I felt lost, lonely and scared. I sat on the bathroom floor for an hour crying.
I was 38.
I booked a doctor's appointment immediately; I had no idea what was happening.
My first meeting with my doctor left me feeling worse than when I walked in; possible depression was the conclusion, and re-evaluating your lifestyle was the prescription.
What the hell!
It felt like I was being gifted weekly signs that I was shifting and that my body was changing for the following six months.
I began my own research and bought a season ticket to my GP during this time.
On one of my early visits, I said, "Perimenopause! I think I'm going through the perimenopause" Until then, I didn't know it existed; my knowledge up until that point was when you hit your 50s, your periods stopped, and you had a couple of years of hot sweats and anger issues.
I had no idea that all the signs appearing were all connected, but I felt relieved; it made sense to me, at least.
My GP, on the other hand, disagreed. "You're still on the pill, and you're far too young to be experiencing Menopause."
What! .. that's it?
"Is there a test?" I asked, "Not really, and anyway, you're on the pill, so any hormone test won't be a true reflection."
Prognosis - The brain fog, the rollercoaster of emotions, my high blood pressure and anxiety - Depression.
The joint pain in my hands and shoulders was so bad I couldn't hold a knife and fork for long had nothing to do with the Perimenopause; it must be Arthritis.
"Could any of this be a CFS/ME relapse?" I was diagnosed with this 15 years earlier - "No, M.E. doesn't exist; it's all in your mind", was the reply.
Frustrated and scared was an understatement.
4 years after that morning and on the eve of my 42nd birthday after changing GPs, I finally had it confirmed that I was, in fact, perimenopausal... oh the relief
Don't get me wrong, by this time, I knew, but I needed confirmation, and with that confirmation came the most amazing clarity.
During those 4 years, I cried more times than I could count.
I cried because I wasn't ready, I cried because it wasn't my choice, I cried because I was scared, I cried because I had lost the girl I was.
I felt like giving in; I began drinking more because what else was there to do, eating anything and everything because what did it matter? It was only an extra pound or two; slowly, the love for myself faded.
I tried HRT a couple of times, but it didn't like me, chest pains and increased blood pressure and resting heart rate. I didn't need any more symptoms, so I finally stopped.
I knew it was on me; I had to make lifestyle changes.
I quit the booze, cleaned up my eating, and remembered that I actually love exercising and reading, and funnily, the more I read, the less foggy my brain was.
Then something amazing happened, I got my power back; the more I stopped making excuses and started making choices, the happier I become
I then stopped waiting for life to happen for me; I took it by the horns and decided that I wanted to be part of something bigger; I wanted to help other women who felt lost and lonely, to feel seen and heard and let them know that they never have to be alone.
I created The Purposeful Life; it has been the greatest gift I have given myself; my cup became full enough to overflow to others.
Everything I studied, from health, life & spiritual coaching to Plantbased nutrition and Reiki, I did for me first, and embracing that knowledge and bringing it into my daily life, has allowed me to share it with so many other amazing women.
And now, 10 years after that morning, so much has changed and shifted in the world, including me.
Menopause has been my greatest teacher and an unexpected gift I could have asked for because it took me on a journey of rediscovering myself.
We need to continue to share our stories and keep the conversation going.
Embrace the change and know...
"Then it ends, and you're more yourself than you ever were"
Love & light