Surviving Menopause: You’ve Earned Your New Attitude!
Back in the day – the days when I was firmly in the grip, or perhaps I should say clutches, of perimenopause, I felt out of control. I felt so out of control that I sometimes bordered on the edge of panic attacks. For some women, being in control is a non-issue. For someone like me, however, born under the sign of Aries, the head-butting ram, it is everything.
For 40-plus years before I entered perimenopause, I had perfected the art of plowing through life like a freight train. No problem was too big. No obstacle was insurmountable. As a matter of fact, I rather thrived on the challenge of it all; and nothing motivated me more than to be told I couldn’t do something. You get the picture.
Enter perimenopause: erratic menstrual cycles, raging mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats (crazy night sweats), and debilitating depression; uncontrollable sobbing, crying, wringing of the hands, and the insomnia? I was an absolute mess. But old habits die hard as they say, and for two solid years, month after month, I would stand at the calendar counting the weeks until my next expected cycle, marking off the days when I thought the symptoms would begin, in big bold letters: HELL WEEK.
Then I would begin the mental preparations to get control of the situation. I was going to take charge, by gosh! No stupid hormones were going to control me! I can do this! And then month after month again, I would fail. Perimenopause was a cruel villainess. She seemed to know me better than myself. She certainly knew where all of the chinks were in my armor.
Sometimes, I would actually make it through hell week without going crazy. I would get a cycle and breathe a big sigh of relief. I had made it. I didn’t scream at my family, hurl inanimate objects through the air, or cause tiny animals to cower in the corners with fear. But then, the symptoms would show up after my cycle and taunt me once again. I just couldn’t win. I was whipped and I knew it.
Is it any wonder that women think they are going crazy with perimenopause? I certainly did. Maybe you do too. But you’re not. It just feels that way. When I was going through those years with all of those nutty symptoms it felt like it would never end. But eventually it did, and the calm waters of menopause have been a welcome relief.
I think perimenopause is the grand finale, the crescendo, the apex, the climax, the last hurrah of all the years of hormonal misery associated with our menstrual cycles, going out with one big bang. Once it is over we can get back to living again. It’s different for sure, and it takes a little getting used to, but in a good way.
There is definitely a loss in menopause too. But there is also great gain. Being free from that hormone hell is priceless. Life after perimenopause is unfettered, and if ever there is a time that you’ve earned the right to have a new attitude (thank you, Patti LaBelle) it is in menopause. It’s yours. You paid for it. Work it, sister.