Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's That Time

The last few months my mind has been in turmoil. The last several weeks have been the worst. I hardly recognize myself and often feel as if someone else is looking out of my eyes. I've been asking myself what is the cause? Is it the risk I took starting the business? Is it self-recrimination? We often have questions and if we are willing to listen the universe may send us an answer.

I have been thinking of moving to a rural place. One of the places I have considered is Woodstock, NY. It's only 2 1/2 hours from New York City and has a pretty lefty, crunchy population. Last Wednesday I was thinking about it and Susun Weed popped into my head. She is an herbalist who has an apprenticeship program for would-be herbalists. I knew that she lived in Upstate New York but not exactly where. So I went to her website and she lives in Saugerties which is a little township a few miles from Woodstock. She's lived there since 1962. I also discovered that Susun was speaking at The META Center here in the city on March 1, the very next day. I dithered about it until the next day and then I went.

She's a very dynamic speaker and she is passionate about her subject. At the end of the talk she was going to answer questions and in order to prevent any embarrassment she had us write our questions down on a card. I wrote: "My digestion has always been very good and then in the last 5 months it has gone haywire." I went on to describe my symptoms. When she got to my card she read the first sentence and said, "Well, here's a woman entering menopause." That brought me up short. I know that our hormones can start fluctuating in our thirties, but menopause?

Then last night I watched a talk by Christiane Northrup. She was addressing the audience on the subject of women in midlife. The second section of her talk was about perimenopause. It's kind of like PMS, the part that happens before. Some women have a short transition. It's over in a few months. But this transition can last for as long as 15 years until your menses stop completely. I went online and googled perimenopause. Several sites had a list of common symptoms.
sleep disruption
digestive irregularity
joint aches
fluctuating menses
short term memory lapses
trouble maintaining focus
mood swings

Right. So there we are folks. It seems I'm not crazy. I'm just perimenopausal. There are a couple of ways to deal with this. I could get upset about it and run around trying to find ways to supress my symptoms. Or I could embrace it. Dr. Northrup talked about this second option and it seems like the way to go.

I started taking birth control pills about 8 years ago. It was such a relief. My periods had been irregular and painful and now they were as regular as a clock and I had no pain at all. I did gain some weight and my blood pressure went up a bit but that was all to the good as it had been very low before. Then a couple of years ago I switched pills and took more of them so I only had 4 periods a year. I did have some concerns about taking so many hormones but it was soooo convenient.

Now I think I need to get off. Maybe not for good. Maybe I can go back just with a different pill that has a different hormone mix. But I have to figure out where my hormones are now. They have obviously changed and the pill is not going to stop the change. The pill worked for me because it provided what I was missing. Now that the mix has changed the pill may be making things worse. At least as far as my emotional state and my stomach are concerned.

Today I feel better than I have in weeks and better still now that I know I haven't lost my mind. Now I have to listen to my body and do my best to give it what it needs. This includes letting go of the past and honoring myself. It's also a time to let go of expectations.

We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned in order to come in to the life that's waiting for us.
Joseph Campbell


karen said...

That must have been a rude awakening! Who ever wants to hear that as a dx at our age?!? Obviously, an herbalist will be a better authority on this than I am but my mother-in-law swears by soy as a way to ease symptoms of menopause. She uses soy milk in her tea and might also take a soy protein supplement? She says she notices a distinct difference in her comfort when she doesn't have soy.

Delphi said...

@karen:It was right out of the blue. I hadn't even considered it as a possibility.
I have heard that soy can help along with exercise and some herbs. I should probably find some other women who are in this stage to talk to.