My mind and body are shifting tremendously during the heights of premenopause. Below are random thoughts about my experience. Some of it is exciting. Other parts are frightening. Feels like my core or my “home base” inside is not quite stable. It’s an unsettling situation. I ride the waves daily, sometimes buried by large waves. On good days, though, interesting new personality changes. Curious new abilities. A song will send me instantly to grief and tears after losing a love. He liked the song but said radios ran it every 10 minutes. We laughed each time it played. Good but very bittersweet memories. I keep many secrets inside. Ones I’ve shared with no one. They get heavy sometimes. Yet, I don’t share my most personal and treasured memories. Nobody would “get it” anyway. Im an only child and am used to being alone with myself. I enjoy quiet rooms with no TV. Music is important to my mood. I am glad I have a kind and thoughtful partner to grow old with. If PMS is a toddler’s puzzle. Peri menopausal symptoms are a college calculus textbook. Much more intense & advanced material. Upon awakening every morning, I make a cup of strong Community coffee add Splenda and flavored Coffee Mate. I sip, watch the news, and pet the cats. I enjoy that routine. Small joys make life better. It’s bedtime, and I am very drowsy as I write. Earbuds channel favorite songs. I think I’ll come out on the other end of this time of life – in one piece
I read an interesting and disturbing article today. It seems women in midlife (ages 45-64) are taking their own lives 24% more often than in 1999. That is a very large jump – in the wrong direction.
I was also unaware that suicide is among the top ten leading causes of death for women.
Reasons? A few were suggested. Aging Baby Boomers are a large portion of these women – even from adolescence. Possibly, it is cultural with youth being celebrated and aging “getting a bad rap.” Social isolation is another explanation for possible midlife female suicides. Spouses die or divorce. Kids are grown with families of their own . . . busy and often living in other cities. A study showed that women who had strong social supports were less likely to have a premature death – by threefold. Another reason given was finances. With a lagging economy came more deaths. Finally, easy access to medications in the home didn’t help depressed situations. Pain killers can kill more than muscle or joint pain.
I’ve personally experienced seven years of Major Depressive Disorder and have medicated, changed my life (gotten rid of most stress), and introduced new friendships and activities to my days. I now have come through times of suicidal ideation and have a firmer grip on my emotions and behavior. Perimenopause isn’t helping much, though. Erratic hormones have turned me into a Jekyll and Hyde but I don’t give up, and I don’t give in.
We women of middle age are strong. We’re resourceful and wise enough to know how to change our circumstances. Fear will get in the way, though, if we aren’t constantly aware of our goals, and it will stall or even stop our progress toward mental and general health.
Remember Rosie the Riveter from the 1940s? We can do it!
The following article is by blogger, Staness Jonekos, on the healthywomen.org site. See link at bottom of article.
Over 60 percent of divorces are initiated by women in their 40s, 50s or 60s — the menopause years — according to a recent survey conducted by AARP Magazine. Why are women running away from marriage?
I wasn’t even married when I slammed into menopause months before my wedding day at the age of 47. Despite being completely in love, I almost ran away and my fiance almost married bridezella!
Experts say the number one reason for divorce is lack of communication. My response from the ladies corner, “When everything you know to be normal is being kidnapped by changing hormones, communication may be last on the list. Throw in lifestyle changes, health and aging issues, and you are left in a small evaporating puddle of low self-esteem feeling hopeless.”
Many men blame lack of sex as the leading reason for midlife divorce. But is it? AARP poled 1,682 adults ages 45 and older on the importance of sex. Two-thirds of men (66 percent) and about half of women (48 percent) agreed that a satisfying sex life was important to their quality of life. That is only an 18 percent difference. So is it lack of sex, or a breakdown in communication chasing the women away?
Navigating a course in uncharted territory can test any relationship emotionally and sexually. It can also bring a couple closer — it did for me.
Purchasing midlife marriage insurance can help combat the unforeseen hazards during the menopause transition. How do you qualify for this love insurance? The first step is to understand how menopause can affect your love life.
Menopause is a life transition that can affect you physically and emotionally. Your body is experiencing fluctuating hormones that can cause hot flashes, night sweats, itchy skin, migraine headaches, breast tenderness, vaginal dryness and irregular periods. Eighty percent of women will experience uncomfortable symptoms, and the majority struggle with midlife weight gain.
Many women feel unattractive going through so many uninvited changes. Some suffer from exhaustion, depression and moodiness leaving them feeling isolated and confused.
During menopause a woman’s brain also goes through changes. Dr. Louann Brizendine (author of The Female Brain) says, “The mommy brain unplugs. Menopause means the end of the hormones that have boosted communication circuits, emotion circuits, the drive to tend and care, and the urge to avoid conflict at all costs.”
There are additional factors on top of fluctuating hormones that may contribute to a lack of communication and interest in sex.
Dr. Wendy Klein, co-author of The Menopause Makeover and leading menopause expert, informed me, “If a woman is taking medications, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, contraceptive drugs, antihistamines, sedatives, antihypertensives and/or medications for blood pressure, this can also decrease sexual desire.”
Midlife stresses brought on by career change, the loss of a loved one, empty nest syndrome or caring for elderly parents can contribute to a declining libido.
Throw in aging issues and the last thing on a menopausal woman’s mind is communicating. This woman is in self-survival mode, and may be in no mood to connect or make whoopi.
If she is in an unsupported relationship while managing this collection of changes, leaving the marriage may appear like her only salvation.
Gentlemen — your turn.
How many factors listed above is your partner experiencing? It is no surprise why men are afraid of menopause. His woman is changing in front of his eyes.
Women are not alone suffering from changes. Men also have midlife challenges, both physically and emotionally. Declining testosterone can affect libido, moods and sexual performance. Generally a man’s hormones change gradually compared to the woman’s experience during menopause, so it may not be obvious to the man that he too is changing. Some of these unwelcomed changes may include midlife stress, as well as health and aging issues. If both partners are experiencing change, the relationship may be on an emotional roller coaster.
Approximately 47 percent of women experience sexual difficulties with a decrease of sexual desire being the most common, according to the National Health and Social Survey and the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors.
It is no surprise that most men associate menopause with having less sex. But, it does not have to be this way. The man can actually help save a shaky midlife marriage with some handy tools to power charge the relationship. Women who have a supportive partner often have a smoother transition through menopause. When she is happy, he is happy.
Acquiring midlife marriage insurance takes action to make a difference.
Midlife Marriage Insurance For Him
1. Listen to her; don’t criticize or try to fix her.
2. Go with the flow; be prepared for mood swings.
3. Be compassionate, and validate her experience (that means agree with her, don’t try to fix her).
4. Be romantic. Bring her flowers for no reason. Make her dinner. Give her a massage. Make it about HER.
5. Cuddle more. Tell her you love her and that she is beautiful. You may just get lucky. If not, do not take it personally.
6. If YOU are not in the mood, keep her company shopping, she will love the company
7. Support healthy eating and exercise choices. Join her for a walk or go on a hunting expedition at the grocery store to find new healthy foods.
8. Don’t ignore her menopause symptoms. Talk about it. Ask her what she needs to feel better.
9. Offer support if she needs to visit her healthcare provider to discuss menopause symptoms, a low libido or depression.
10. If numbers one through nine fail – disappear for a while. She may be seriously cranky and need space to focus on herself.
Success depends on going through this transition as a team! Both partners must contribute to have a successful marriage.
Midlife Marriage Insurance For Her
1. Track menopause symptoms and discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider.
2. Make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise most days of the week. Eat nutritious meals. Watch portions.
3. Update your beauty regimen.
4. Build a support group.
5. Communicate with your partner. Don’t shut him out – let him know what you need. Understand he may be confused by your changes.
6. If you are not happy in your current relationship, discuss counseling.
7. Be receptive to creative adjustments in lovemaking activities.
8. If your libido is low and/or you are suffering from vaginal dryness, discuss your treatment options with your healthcare practitioner. There are hormone and non-hormone options available.
9. Pamper yourself.
10. Try to stay positive.
Communicate, support each other’s needs, get counseling if needed, add romance, adjust lovemaking activities, and your odds increase that your marriage will survive menopause. Being on the same team will nourish a healthy, loving relationship that can last a lifetime.
Life is constantly changing, and marriage is no different. Have real expectations, and acknowledge that your relationship goes through transitions. This will help you weather difficult times.
Midlife is an opportunity for both men and women. If you are prepared, informed and willing, your marriage can survive menopause. A loving relationship supported with good communication can strengthen your love life at any age.
This menopausal bride made it down the aisle of love. Both my partner and I said “I do” to communication and romance during menopause. We are still happily married five years later and ready to leap over the seven-year itch together.
Yes, I’m turning 49 again this year. I’ve never turned the same number twice so it’s new for me. Allow it.
I can’t mentally wrap my head around the number I’m supposed to quote to everyone when they ask which birthday this is. How dare they ask anyway; as a best friend of mine says, “It’s all about the event, not the number!” (Thanks, Les)
I have the standard symptoms, minus a few. No night sweats, thank god. That sounds awful. Here are a few you can expect if you haven’t already gone through this time in your life, ladies:
Ain’t it beautiful?
I’ve had all of these dwarfs. Nasty little things they are. So, how are we to deal with perimenopause?
I love that the exercise says “moderate levels.” It sound like something I can actually DO. I eat too much sugar. That’s another of my shortcomings. Need to change that one NOW. My mom didn’t take hormone replacement therapy and now wishes she had. I think I’ll give it a try. I’m tired of having periods that last two weeks and foul moods that even make my cats stay away.
Ladies, I hope we come out on the other side with smiles on our faces and few wrinkles on them. XO!
I am trying to live a more healthful life style. So, I’ve cleaned up my eating and spend my days unpacking, cleaning, and stretching. However, I still have mid-life issues with my female body.
Insomnia being a chief complaint. I introduced Lunesta to my world a couple of nights ago. This is night three. So far, it does the job pretty well. I hate to take sleep aids, but I have GOT to rest at night. So much for a “clean” lifestyle, because I also take an antidepressant and estrogen/progesterone. 3 pills at night and a gel. I’m an “old person” now, I suppose.
After classes start next month, I’m hoping to tire my mind and body so that I sleep on my own again! Depression? I may stay on that pill a bit longer. When PMS becomes volcanic, it helps to have something that at least takes the edge off.
When did it become the norm to throw pills at our problems? What did my grandparents do when they hit menopause or related age/coping issues?
My dad completed suicide when I was 23, and he was almost 45. Until the last few years, I couldn’t fathom how Daddy could have gotten to a state of mind that he saw NO other way out of his problems but to die. Well, I’ve been there and don’t want to go back. Scary, black place that sucks you in and won’t let go.
So, back to the coping with pills. Are they crutches? Are they a temporary help in a time of real need? What do you think? Really?!
If you’ve read my blog at any length, you know I’m 47 and going through perimenopause. I don’t hide that fact. It justifies my irrationality, forgetfulness, and moodiness.
At my psychiatrist’s visit today, I informed her that my hormones and depression are on the same rollercoaster track. She called my “hormone doc” and arranged an appointment for me tomorrow. I love doctor-to-doctor appointment-making. I get in SO quickly.
I have been feeling old, fat, and ugly lately. Oh, wait, I AM fricking old, fat, and ugly. I can fix the fat and ugly, just not the old part. Since my foot (and tetanus shot site) is pretty well healed from my stepping on a rusty nail a couple of weeks ago, I can get back on the treadmill.
In spite of my self-esteem being in a dumpster, a man hit on me today. (Then I had a hot flash! No joke!) He was a restaurant manager at a nice place. He had a handsome face and clean appearance. He asked me questions about myself and told me about his interests. He arranged drink cup lids and Splenda packets while he kept me in conversation. It was flattering. It also boosted my crappy self-esteem.
I sat at my small table, laptop plugged into the wall, people everywhere, and I was flashing hot! Perspiring and red-faced, I kept my gaze down. Sweat puddled in the creases of my elbow bends, along the entire back of my neck and upper back, and face. Someone HAD to notice. I nonchalantly raised my tea glass to my overheated neck. Felt sooo good.
It passed. I then wondered if I smelled. Deoderant has NO respect for the hot flash. I use men’s gel sticks. No more Secret or other female-appropriate antiperspirants. Now I smell like a man’s spicy under arms! Yuck! Eh, beats the alternative, I guess.
So, I’m off to refill my iced tea – a squeeze of lemon, lots of ice, and a bit of sweetner.
Hopefully, I will stride slowly and not meet up with the friendly manager.