If you thought women did not have it hard enough with PMS, periods, getting pregnant, having a baby, nursing and having your body poked and exposed on umpteen checkups, wait till you hit perimenopause. This new baby knocks you off your feet. This is a period from hell when mood swings, hot flashes, body aches, fatigue, emotional outbursts and disinterest become like second nature. Suddenly, you don’t know yourself anymore. There are days when just getting out of bed feels like a chore. While you are trying to make sense of how topsy-turvy your life has become, there are other mid-life challenges knocking on your doorsteps. Many of us have children who enter into teenage years just about now. Hormones pitting against hormones does not make for a pretty picture. As mums struggle with patience, disinterest and even depression, tact and compassion are what is most required of them.
I wonder for the nth time, why did we deserve this? If you think, I am exaggerating, trust me I am not. I’ve heard of women who’ve had an easy transition to menopause. Let me tell you that they are an aberration rather than the routine.
What Can You Do?
You mean apart from cuss and grumble? Not too much. I have approached gynaecologists and apart from telling me that this is normal (I want to bash their heads in), they have precious little comfort to offer. Most docs offer you OCPs to ease the hormonal fluctuations without even asking if you have a history of stroke in your family. Callous doctors, really! When I volunteered this information and questioned their solution, they retracted it. So apart from giving me some evening primrose oil which hasn’t shown any help at all, I am supposed to try home remedies. Things like flax seeds, gulkand and what not. Nothing has helped substantially. I am trying homeopathy now.
Also know that this is the time when we lose bone mass and are prone to osteoporosis and brittle bones. It can lead to debilitating fractures. So pay attention to your Calcium and Vitamin D supplements and get enough weight-bearing exercise to keep your bones in good health.
Exercise and meditation helps a bit and consciously stopping myself when I want to bite off someone’s head just saves that other person’s head, that’s all. When I am going through a volatile cocktail of emotions, I take the conscious step to stay away from social media. People are all kinds of weird. They rave, rant, abuse, yell constantly on social media. And in my vulnerable state, I just don’t have the stomach for it. I can vouch for how calming it is. I am not saying that taking sanyas is a solution but definitely cutting down your online time and staying away from reading/watching inflammatory content does really help with the moods. It has, for me.
For friends and family, I will say that this is a very challenging time in a woman’s life. She does not have a handle on what she feels and how she reacts. It may seem like an excuse, but it is not. It’s not a good feeling to feel grumpy without a reason. A little empathy in dealing with her in this difficult period can make all the difference in the world. It can help her handle this tough period a bit more tolerably.
To my other women friends out there, take it one day at a time. This too shall pass. Hold your loved ones, dear. And never ever hesitate to pick up the phone and talk to someone close, when you are really down. There is no shame in seeking help.
Are you in your late 30s or 40s? Have you been through this phase?
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