Menopause WTAF…. Sometimes there is a need to be politically correct and sometimes there are just no other words that deserve such a strong descriptive impact about the experience of Menopause. As the female body is hurtled into yet another turbulent hormonal storm, you know, the one that hits just when we think we cannot possibly accommodate any more bodily changes. The likes of hormonal imbalances, mood swings, skin irritations and a complete frenzy of impatience and intolerances. Sometimes this frenzy can be toward ourselves, or the people (we claim to) love. Other times it’s just with the whole bloody world.
What is the menopause, and what does it do to us women? How does it impact, physically, mentally, psychologically, and how does that impact affect our families?
The answers to these questions are limitless and will absolutely differ from woman to woman. From the minimal research I have done to nurse my own curiosity, it seems safe to say that many women experience similar symptoms but no two women are impacted or affected in the same way.
Many women are fortunate enough to reach menopause at what can be considered an appropriate age, it is hard to say what makes this age appropriate but the natural age for the onset is between 45 and 55. Other women, they can be less fortunate, beginning menopause prematurely in earlier adulthood, or even as early as adolescents. While the topic of early menopause deserves to be an article in itself, this premature on-set of the menopause for younger women, can only be described as tragic, and what I can only imagine must feel like such a huge betrayal from mother nature.
Clearly, and for which I am grateful, the subject of menopause is a very hot topic at the moment (pardon the pun). As a result of this, we are witnessing a generation of bright, intelligent and influential women who are entering this stage of their lives. A quick google and you will find, podcasts, books, even programmes on the subject.
Davina Mc Caul has aired a program on Chanel 4 which is worth watching, “Sex, Myths and the Menopause.
‘On my last eggs’, is a very interesting and thought-provoking podcast by Rachel New, and a show on You Tube titled ‘Dun-Breedin’, by Julie Graham.
These women are not settling for finding a wall to secretly hold them up while their body paralyzes them with anxiety and tries to knock them out with a hot flash.
No, they want to share with us all what happens to us, what happens to our bodies, the never-ending list of symptoms there are. They are not willing to sit and let this happen quietly and without intervention.
If we break the word menopause down, we get men-o-pause, this gave me a new way to look at it. A chance to take a life-pause, a chance to contemplate.
This pause can be a time to embrace yourself and start making changes you have always wanted to make. While it can be challenging, it can also be an exciting time. I have come to see it as a time of transformation, an opportunity to reinvent ourselves.
This is not to take away from how difficult and trying the menopause can be but it can be a time to recognise that we need not suffer needlessly. It can be a time to get creative at finding what makes this transformation less difficult. However, as with many of life’s changes and transitions, there is a grieving and loss that needs to be addressed at this period in time for many women it will have come too soon, too young and before we were finished using our female reproductive system.
Another great learning is the menopause will affect every woman differently and some may never even experience a hot flash, IT’S NOT A REQUIREMEMT.
Every woman will also need to find her own way though her menopause and that may look different to any other female she knows. Some need to read, research, join groups, start courses, start or leave relationships, live on the top of a mountain, start therapy, a knitting class, take HRT, or try natural methods. The thing is, one size does not fit all, this is your menopause you must live it your way. I do believe this is best done with support and we all need to find our own.
I am a therapist so I am a real believer that talking to a therapist is helpful and can help you find clarity with your thoughts and experience. It gives you space for yourself to look at what you want, what you want your life to look like, look at the changes you want to make and how to navigate them. If you have a budding though that you would like to talk to a therapist then I urge you to do so.
Your body, your menopause, your way.