Monday, January 16, 2017

It Dares Not Speak Its Name

I cast about for the clock on the nightstand. 1:38am. My heart wants to jump out of my chest. This would make sense if I were coming out of a nightmare, but lately my dreams have been stubbornly inaccessible. Experience has me tear off the blankets, and then, there it is: first the heat that runs through me from my toes to my head, followed shortly by its opposite, a chill. It's maybe thirty minutes before I can get back to sleep, not so long, really, except for the fact that I am awakened again in similar fashion three times before dawn.

When doctor discuss menopause (but they don't! - there is surprisingly scant information on and off the internet about menopause), they always mention the mood swings. I read about mood swings and nod, irritated, because if nothing else, having one's sleep chronically disrupted does no favors to mood.

Menopause is a lonely experience. For one thing, its symptoms serve each and every time to remind you that you are old enough to be going through menopause, and not just old enough, but also objectively old. The symptoms themselves are unpleasant - here I'll add thinning hair to the lot - and unlike in pregnancy there is no positive outcome to counterbalance the discomfort. There will be no baby for my trouble. There will be only the certainty that I am done with all that.

And although I may have believed for years that I am done with all that, menopause has a finality that belief lacks.

++++++++++++++

I wonder why as a culture we seem so embarrassed by the idea of menopause. Is it really something that needs to be discussed in whispers, and only by women? Why is information so hard to come by? Why is there not more research into its symptomatology and its course?

This I do know: The way we skirt around menopause makes it an even lonelier experience than it already is.

9 comments:

Elan Morgan said...

I am in a perimenopause/menopause group where we mostly bitch about hormone fluctuations, but it really helps normalise things. Need a group?

Kathryn said...

There is a website about menopause, can't remember the name, but it had great information and listed doctors across the country that specialize in it. I am past menopause, and remember how it messes with your sleep, among other things.

MARY G said...

I guess we are supposed to check in with Grandmother for advice. Having said that, I was sent to a gynacologist by my GP and she (note:SHE) helped me a lot.

Tanis Miller said...

I just had a conversation with my husband about my sudden entrance to perimenopause and how isolated and scared I feel about it. Big hugs. You aren't alone.

Varda said...

Yea, it sucks. Add to that I was going through it while my parents were dying. I knew I wasn't going to have more kids, but still I cried when I realized I had gone 6 months without a period and it really was OVER. Big hugs. Welcome to the wise old hags club.

Veronica said...

There were moments I really struggled with the invisibility of being a woman over 50, the sense that both nature and society were reminding me daily I was in decline. I have settled into the new reality a bit more, and there is a sense of liberation of being freed from so many of our culture's unreasonable expectations for women and the end of the monthly hormonal fluctuations and the very real physical pain and hassle of menstruation. That said, I'm not in the camp of feminists who fully celebrate this "great transition." I don't feel "empowered," I feel grudgingly accepting. I mourn my younger hair, which was so easy and attractive and low maintenance. I resent the amount of effort it takes to have healthy skin and good health overall. I hate that despite doing everything right, I still have to face I'm losing the battle and facing my own mortality. And yet...there are gifts in facing my own mortality. A lot of what's not important falls away, and I'm fortunate in that looking back, I see I've had a rich, full, and beautiful life.

Kyla said...

All women's issues seem to be unspeakable. Nobody wants to hear about menstruation, lactation, the realities of birth/recovery, or menopause. It's crazy. I recently read an Aviva Romm article about menopausal support measures. She is a physician with a naturopathic slant, and her information is solid and well-presented. Might be worth a look.

kim said...

I'm with you.....I'm 45 and can't even grasp that I am that old....now just a few months in of erratic bleeding. I'm depressed and lonely.....and have hashimoto's on top of it. Susun Weed is my only solace. But even that....I believe wholeheartedly in herbs, but somehow don't allow them to be a regular occurrence in my life. Overall, I'm suffering right now and am just saying hey! I'm with you sister.

Sarah said...

Thinking of you, Kim.