When the Mood Strikes
I just experienced one of those three day episodes where I was hammered by hormones with such ferocity that they could only be labelled as evil. It comes out of nowhere. I don’t seem to be getting any better at picking up on the signs quickly enough. By the time I increased my Harmony and vitamin B6 tablets to a double dose it was like shaking a stick at a pack of hungry wolves.
My whole world turned to black; all the good thoughts and feelings, all the positive actions, all the enthusiasm, all the singing in the car on the way into work – gone. Fighting it is exhausting. Tears flow for no reason. All the worst stuff is about to happen, according to my head, and in my dreams it’s like a rollercoaster ride through my terrors and horrors, one after the other until I wake up crying. The future seems so incredibly pointless, all that I’m doing and working on…. I even scowl at the dog!
If only the daily routine didn’t need to occur, because really the best way through this would be to leap into bed, pull up the covers and stay there for days. It’s such a frightening turnaround from one day to the next, like random implosions. Even with all the good things that I do it still gets me sometimes, and then I beat myself up about not being able to snap out of it. Yet I sense there is no mind over matter snapping out of it that can be done here. The only course, ride it out…. then back to the drawing board and start the good stuff all over again. Re-build the self-esteem, kick start the positive actions, eat right and be mindful and nurturing.
Still, it is better than it was a year ago, when it wasn’t so much random implosions as one big explosion from which I didn’t know how to pull myself together and find my feet again. I wrote this in my iPad diary….
‘Winter was pressed in, seeping into every bone and thought and deed. The mornings were frozen, silent darkness’s in which my body stumbled from bed to basin, putting on clothes without real thought or care, peering through fogged up windscreen, wondering what it would be like to turn left at the top of the bridge and disappear out into the black of sky, before immersing in the blacker yet of sea. A freedom, an exhilaration for a moment that would reconnect me with being alive and being capable of feeling something.’
Wow. Only menopause and men can make a women feel like that right 🙂
But I shouldn’t make light of it. I had a year pass with way too much time spent feeling this way. I was exhausted from trying to out whit the implosions and stay focused on the good and the positive. And either side of that year was probably another year spent going downhill into it and another coming uphill out of it. So all in all it was a passage of struggle, adjustment and worry – worry because of the impact it might be having on my ability to maintain ‘a life’ post Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
I only shared so much of it with my doctor. At one point I cried and said that I didn’t want this life…. but I suppose doctors see a lot of emotion from women in menopause. And also I put on a brave face most of the time, I had learnt to ‘tough it out’ over the years (CFS isn’t something that everyone wants to talk about with you, or that others even take seriously, so you get used to keeping it internal). Way too stubborn for my own good, I guess I see any inability to cope as a weakness that I should not have…. But it’s more than that, it’s also a dogged determination to survive which I had come face to face with in myself a few times over the years. When I first ‘ran away to Australia’ after fertility treatment, I knew no one and it was difficult breaking into my field of work without connections. Long story short, the money ran out and there were weeks when I survived on a loaf of bread and a tin of sardines. I remember having $20 left in the entire world at least three times and being at the mercy of whatever higher power there is (which in some strange way is incredibly enlightening, go figure!). I remember nights of going to bed with my mind spinning with scenarios of what I should be doing, could do or would do to try a new approach the next day…. and by morning somehow I would awake with another possibility to try and a reason to get up and get moving. Eventually it paid off, I got a job and I started to re-build a life.
The other reason I didn’t share too much with my doctor is that I am incredibly sensitive to medications and I was afraid to try anything that might make matters worse, as so often happened during the CFS. I knew it was all teetering on a fine balance, menopause and energy levels; I was afraid that it might tip the wrong way with anything new in my body. Rightly or wrongly, I put more faith in me knowing the good things I need to be doing to keep my mind straight and my body healthy. I also believed that these moods were ‘physical’, as in the bodily changes that were supposed to be happening…. and while I was sometimes concerned that my circumstances could be entwined and making matters worse to a degree, I did not suspect depression. The all-consuming three day episodes aside, I was making jewellery, going on long walks with the dog, enjoying nature and being by the sea, I was exercising, I was reading books and learning some new things. I didn’t sense that there was anything particularly wrong going on with my thought processes on the days when I had a chance to actually be ‘me’. I was still coming up with new ideas to try, focused on cooking great meals and giving my body a fighting chance. I was thinking back through the practises I had developed during CFS and starting some of the regimes again if I had let them slip. I wasn’t lying on the couch in a stupor. I was struggling for sure and more than a little scared to be facing another health challenge, but I was facing it.
Thankfully the dark moods are less frequent now than they were, although I have noticed there seems to be no pattern to it particularly. But where it had been months/years, I have noticed it is now down to days or a week or two at a time.
But here’s a thought that interests me – I was talking with Julie Grant, a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Kinesiologist and Neuro-trainer, and she was eluding to a belief that menopause symptoms (or the level of them) could be linked to underlying issues that need to be resolved in the women’s life.
Here’s what she said:
Lynda: Do you see the presentation of menopause as a symptom of underlying issues that need to be resolved for each women (and for some reason they all come into play at about the age of 50… because they have been causing disturbances in the body/health of the women for some time), or do you see these outstanding issues as impacting further on the body changes that occur naturally at this time anyway (in a way the degree of outstanding issues equals the degree of impact of menopause symptoms)?
Julie: The latter is correct, and those issues may be many and varied including nutritional status, emotional wellbeing, thinking style and genetic inheritance. Many women sail through menopause without much trouble. Why? They are most likely doing well in all four areas. The most common problem I see in my clients is a lack of assertiveness and self-care. Woman are conditioned by society to put themselves last. This has to change. If we are to be truly equal to men then we need to see ourselves as such and act accordingly.
There are so many different aspects of menopause and the experience is unique to the individual. Instead of calling it ‘women’s business’ I’d like to rename it ‘unfinished business’. It’s a cathartic experience where a woman is faced with the challenge of finally addressing all the unprocessed emotions, unresolved conflicts etc. The unpleasant symptoms are the result of an underlying disturbance which can be physical, emotion, mental, energetic or all of the above, in nature. To get relief, one has to work out the origin of the disturbance and correct it or release it.
I spent a lot of time and money stumbling around in the dark trying all sorts of modalities and products. What I needed to do was start standing up for myself and make my own needs a higher priority. These days I use Kinesiology to quickly identify the root cause of symptoms. It is far more efficient as the body itself directs treatment.
Julie suffered with CFS for 8 years in the 1980s before it was a well-recognised condition.