Contrary to popular belief, menopause itself actually only lasts one day as it’s defined as the moment when a woman hasn’t had her period for 12 months. The time leading up to this moment, is called perimenopause and can last from a few months (lucky you!) to a decade or more (please no!). It’s the transitional period in which your estrogen levels go on a rollercoaster ride alongside the decline in ovarian function. From what I hear from women past menopause the “fun” isn’t over afterwards but I don’t want to look that far ahead yet and am trying to take this one step at a time.
Having periods and a monthly hormonal cycle has never been exactly enjoyable but after years of cycle tracking I managed to live quite harmoniously with it and even reap some benefits (such as the deep wisdom and insight that can occur just before the bleed). However, since hitting my mid forties, it’s become a bit of a bumpy ride. What was once a predictable, reliable and therefore manageable hormonal fluctuation has become highly unpredictable with sudden and extreme hormonal spikes and troughs. Suddenly there are no smooth transitions anymore between the inner seasons but the weather of my hormonal landscape can change as abruptly as a summer storm ruining your picnic.
What that means in practice is that, as my husband put it, I can go from “sex goddess to evil witch” within a matter of minutes, which is as confusing for him as it is for me. And let’s not even speak of the hot rage that is provoked by the slightest of inconveniences and looks to other people like watching a mad woman and feels to me like being possessed.
Anyway, I hope you get the picture. There are physical symptoms too, which I won’t bore you with but let’s just say that they don’t help the mental and emotional symptoms. And before someone feels the need to comment on all the products and things that can help, thank you very much but I’m on it! However, while they can indeed help, they don’t eliminate or “fix” this natural developmental phase in a woman’s life and as much as I’d rather not experience this, I believe that there must be some growth and wisdom to be found in all this too. After all, it’s the manure (shit to you and me) that makes the garden of life grow and bloom.
So with all this said, this blog will be a place for me to share and reflect on my experiences navigating this period in my life: the good, the bad and the ugly.
Enjoy the ride…