Imagine you’re out walking. It’s a lovely sunny day. Most of the time. There are intermittent showers, but that’s ok. You’re humming along, enjoying the smells of freshly washed leaves. It’s not like you don’t have a care in the world. That’s not a thing. But you’re dealing with your cares quite well at the moment. You have been dealing with them just fine throughout your 40s. You think, “I have finally reached the age of maturity. The age of wisdom. I know nothing. And I know that I know nothing. I have dealt with the traumas of my past. I can now look forward to a future of (somewhat) inner peace.”
And as you’re walking, you see in front of you a gelatinous wall that extends across your path as far as the eye can see. “Huh,” you think. “That’s strange. I won’t be able to walk around this one. I’ll just have to walk through it until I reach the other side.”
You’re used to gelatinous walls crossing your path. You’ve dealt with them before. You have years of gelatinous wall experience in your pocket. So you don’t really think much of having to go through yet another one.
You start moving forward. The gelatinous wall is nice and soft. It allows you in immediately. It’s difficult to see but you keep moving. At first, you’re able to keep a steady pace. But as you move deeper and deeper into the wall, the gelatin becomes less forgiving. It becomes more difficult to hold onto your ‘age of wisdom’ attitude about the situation. You can’t walk. You can’t see. You can’t move. You can’t breathe. You can’t THINK. “At least give me that, you horrible wall!” you scream. “At least leave me my ability to think!!”
That’s what my peri-menopause feels like.
I had gone through my entire life up until that stage completely adamant that I would not swallow a single hormonal pill until the day I die. I managed to get through my child-bearing years without taking a single birth control pill or even inserting an intrauterine device. I was not going to mess with my body. No sirree. My body was going to deal with most things the natural way.
Nadia was not going to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) when she reached that stage. That was a decision.
And things were going fine. I was dealing with most of my peri-menopause symptoms just fine. Until the brain fog hit me.
“Give me all the drugs,” I sort of said to my doctor. That’s not exactly what I said, of course. But I might as well have said it. Give me drugs. Give me all the hormones. And give them to me NOOOOOW.
I’ve been on the drugs for more than a year now. I think it’s been a year. As I said, my brain doesn’t work anymore. It could be closer to two years. Who knows? Does it even matter? My brain doesn’t work. My body isn’t working. My energy has been sucked out of me. The problems I thought I had dealt with from my past will sometimes rear their ugly heads at me and screech: REMEMBER ME! HOW DARE YOU FORGET AND FORGIVE!
Suddenly small problems are now huge ones. And I have an overwhelming fear of missing out or being left out that makes absolutely no sense.
A few months ago, I got in touch with one of my line managers. I’m self-employed so I have several clients and thus several ‘bosses’. “WHO ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE SENDING ME EMAILS, Mohammed?? You want me to work with you as an organization but then you don’t introduce me to all these people who keep sending me emails!!” Before peri-menopause, I completely ignored those emails. Now they were bothering me so much I was on the verge of igniting World War III. Fortunately, Mohammed is not only my line manager. He is also a very dear friend who knows me well. He explained why he never introduced me to ALL THE PEOPLE. I calmed down and then I used my new excuse-for-everything. “Sorry about the yelling, Mohammed. It’s not me. It’s the menopause.”
I have a new client these days. It’s really interesting work. It’s a great team. But on my insides, I am SO BLOODY ANGRY that I didn’t attend the meeting they all had in Paris in the summer, long before I had even heard of their existence. WHY WASN’T I AT THAT MEETING? I’M ALWAYS LEFT OUT OF STUFF!! I don’t know these guys as well as I know Mohammed. So I’ve kept those thoughts in my insides. For now. Just wait till I feel safer with you. You just wait. You’ll see. I’ll show you then!
I’ve had a grumpy Nadia inside of me for ages. But I have always managed to hold her at bay. Most of the time, anyway. Now, my energy levels are so low that I have had to decide that it’s not worth the fight. I don’t have the energy for it. Grumpy old lady Nadia is out. LET HER RIP!
My back is broken. Ironman Nadia is gone. Now I have to try to be flexible in my brain and accept that my body is changing. When my energy levels suddenly fell, I decided that it was ok. I don’t have to always be Ironman Nadia. I can learn to slow down. I don’t have to do all that exercise. I’ll do a little bit most days. I accept that I am going through a new stage of life. LOOK AT ME ALL SMART AND MATURE ABOUT AGING!
But that meant I was sitting more and more at my work desk. Which, together with the hormonal changes of peri-menopause, has led to excruciating back pain. So I need to do more exercise. BUT I FUCKING CAN’T BECAUSE MY ENERGY LEVELS ARE SO LOW!
SOMEBODY PULL ME OUT OF THIS BLOODY GELATINOUS WALL!
It almost feels like there’s no end to it all. That gelatinous wall is going to go on and on for the rest of my living years. Sometimes I just want to give up and slouch on the couch in front of crap reality TV for the rest of my life. But I can’t. My back hurts too much when I do that for too long.
Let’s just say this is not easy. I’m going to speak with my GP, again, about altering my HRT dose. I haven’t had the chance to mention it to him yet in the 15 minutes a time I’ve had to talk to him about my broken back. I’ll give him a call once my current sheet of pills is done and let him know I’m rebelling against this dose. It’s not enough. I SAID I NEED ALL THE DRUGS!
Have you checked out the book Next Level by Stacy Sims?
No. But I’ve read enough books on the menopause that I’m all booked out on that subject.