If you are old enough to remember the1970’s TV series All in the Family, then you may also remember one of the classic episodes of all time in which Edith goes through "The Change." As a teen, I can recall this episode and thinking how funny it was to see Archie demanding Edith to change right now, while Edith scurried back and forth between the dinner table and freezer undergoing a frenzy of emotions from anger to tears.
Now that I am edging ever so closer to my 50s (still 2 ½ years away) I am starting to relate to Edith Bunker, although I refuse to wear the dowdy housedresses that were so common back in the day. I am just beginning to feel the subtle, although more frequent changes in my body. I must now face the fact the change is coming; there is no putting a halt to it. However, thankfully, some days are definitely better than others and unlike a 30-minute sitcom, I have months or even years to make the transformation. While I know this is all a part of the life cycle, the emotional roller coaster I am on is driving me, and yes, everyone in my family nuts.
Although I can’t pinpoint the exact date I knew the change was coming, my first suspicion was when my sleep patterns became discombobulated last September. While I would be quite exhausted before going to bed, many nights I would find myself tossing and turning and struggling to stay asleep, which at the time I attributed to overtraining. But since I am no longer training at an intense level, the sleep disturbances are still there, which is one of the "typical" perimenopausal symptoms.
Earlier this week while I was having my hair colored and cut, I experienced what I believe was my first official hot flash. YIPPEE! As I sat in the chair chatting up a storm with my stylist I suddenly found my face and upper body flushed. My face turned beet red and I felt as though I was on fire. This all happened so unexpectedly. My stylist allowed me to go to the ladies room so I could splash some water on my face to help me cool down. Thankfully, it did the trick. But not even three hours later did I experience hot flash number two while browsing at my local bookstore. Now I am almost for certain the change is a coming.
Tonight while I was running, I had to face the realization that my life is changing whether I am ready or not. In some ways this is not a bad thing because I can at least put the blame for all my symptoms on to something that is not in my control. Now I know the foggy thinking, heart palpitations, and mood swings, all of which I attributed to stress, are all part of the process.
The hardest part of the journey is accepting the inevitable, especially when it comes to my thinking process. My thinking has been so foggy lately, although not every day, it is causing me to come up with new ways to handle life. If I do NOT keep an ongoing list, trust me, I am very likely to forget; this from someone who has been quite meticulous about order for most of her life and who has never forgotten a date to save my life.
While I know I cannot stop the change, I am doing all that I can to understand the process of this transformation. I have had to deal with lots of changes in my life, but this by far has been the most challenging, because I can’t STOP it. I am eating more soy-based products and I will continue to exercise, which is a big stress reliever for me. And I pray that I can have the patience with myself as my family has with me as I embark on the next chapter of my life. Bring it on!
Have you gone or are you going through the process or perimenopause or menopause? How did you cope? What measures did you take to lessen the symptoms? What emotions did you go through?