How do you describe your struggle to someone who hasn’t walked in your shoes?
We knew what we were talking about but struggled with explaining it to those who haven’t gone through it yet- young women and those who would never go through it – men.
What is going on?
It is common knowledge that women go through a tough time in their late 40s and early 50s. The unknown here is what are the challenges that are so difficult to describe.
People can relate to some of the physical issues women in perimenopause and menopause face, like joint pain, back pain, headaches, and insomnia. Still, other symptoms elude their imagination and understanding, like hot flashes, brain fog, mood swings, and, most importantly, the intangible psychological aspect of this transition.
Changes in a woman’s psyche
Living in a culture where youth is celebrated and wisdom of age has lost its importance, getting older is a huge hurdle to overcome. Loss of fertility is like a stamp of an expiration date imprinted on women.
To make things worse, the programming that we receive and the pressure of the anti-aging industry is so aggressive that many fall into the trap. Author of this blog not excluded.
It took me a long time to accept aging and grow into my well-earned wrinkles and parts of me that were affected by gravity.
Not only grieving the loss of youth
A woman going through these 3 phases faces many more societal and psychological hurdles. She is often labeled as old, unattractive, and disposable. Women are expected to fade into the background and become the “support staff” for elderly parents and grandchildren.
Industries like skincare, hair care, and clothing are only now addressing the aging population that does not want to vanish into the backdrop of other people’s lives.
This change of roles in life is the biggest challenge, especially when you feel you are losing control over not only your body but also your mind. Often women in this transition are labeled as hysterical.
Many young women in their 40s are terrified when they first experience brain fog. Nobody has prepared them for this common issue in perimenopause; they think it is early dementia or even Alzheimer’s. Losing words in a middle of an important meeting can leave you mentally paralyzed.
Most women experience some form of trouble sleeping. They either can’t fall asleep, can’t stay asleep as they used to, or wake up early and can’t go back to sleep. Many suffer classical insomnia where they can’t sleep for days at a time.
In combination with hot flashes and mood swings can also lead to debilitating fatigue. The mix of all of these issues is a feeling of loss of control.
So how do we explain the pain of menopause?
The only way we could think of is this:
Loss of control over your body and mind.
The fluctuating hormones are playing a game on you, and you want to know the rules and play the game to win. You regain control and, if possible naturally, without drugs and hormones.
Taking charge of our lives is the main goal and main pain point. We want to have control over our bodies again – our weight, the energy, the strength we used to have. We also want a clear mind so we can focus and easily learn new things.
All in all, we want our lives back. Maybe not as it was, but a new joyfully exciting time of maturity and wisdom.