“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
“You need a little bit of insanity to do great things.” – Henry Rollins
“Good morning, let the stress begin…” – The Fresh Quotes
“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes
Not So Long Ago
Have you ever been unhappy and were clueless as to why? Was it recently? Or was it a few years ago? Maybe that’s how you’re feeling currently? I don’t know your answer, but I can tell you that was me not so long ago.
I was very unhappy. I didn’t know why. I would walk around the house with tears in my eyes. The smiley face with the upside-down smile – that was me. This was every day. And it lasted for quite a while.
I could barely get through the day being mom. I did the bare necessities – laundry, grocery store, dry cleaner, cooked dinner, kids to and from school, and appointments. Anything above that took major effort.
Don’t we all hate our husbands at some point during peri-menopause? All those quirks that you thought were cute, that you thought made him who he was… and then there were those “attributes” that you were able to tolerate before your sadness – but can’t now.
After some time you began to resent him. And then you began to fear your marriage was falling apart. You didn’t dare tell anyone all the details, but you let a comment slip out here or there, hoping someone caught it. Hoped and prayed for conversation because you knew you were going to burst.
Went out with friends and pretended life was good. We can show any face we want to, can’t we? No one knew how unhappy, depressed, and frustrated I was feeling on the inside.
While my friends were basically in the same boat as I, to be honest, we never really spoke to each other. We would simply say that menopause sucked. Quick nod, little frown, but that was about it. No one to confide in, not really. They had their own ups and downs to deal with. Why would I burden my friends or my sister with my issue of unhappiness? Especially since I didn’t know why.
How Bad Was it?
Sure, we think it has something do with peri-menopause/menopause, right? We aren’t stupid. But we didn’t know it was going to be as bad as it was. Right?
Was my mother this sad? Hard to recall. I remember her getting super upset with my father A LOT. But was she sad? She hid it well if she was, like we all do from our children. That’s a question I will never know the answer to.
But if my mother hid her sadness from us, and I hid my sadness from my children… and felt like I had no one to talk to… then maybe it’s time we all talk about MENOPAUSE.
Like WHY AREN’T WE BEING REAL? Come on! We are part of the mindset of our mother and their mothers….
A quick search on the internet about Menopause Stigma landed me on the Menopause Chicks website. Here is an excerpt from Menopause Chicks that I think sums up how some of us felt (or are currently feeling):
“I know what you’re thinking. You think you’re the only one. The only one who doesn’t feel like having sex, the only one losing her temper, and the only one wide awake at 3 a.m. These changes could be subtle; they could be nothing. Or they could be signs of perimenopause—the 5-15 years of transition leading up to menopause. And why do you feel all alone? Well, traditionally, perimenopause conversations have rarely happened amongst friends, co-workers or our partners.It’s more common to “suck it up” than to crack open the conversations that will help you become your own best health advocate.”
So why is it that we are perpetuating the stigma of menopause? Not only do we try to convince the world, our friends, or family that “it’s no big deal…” “just a part of life…” “menopause shmenopause….” – when really what we are doing is isolating ourselves.
Another website, Menopause Newlife Outlook.com wrote:
“A number of studies have shown that a variety of factors – both physical and psychological – contribute to each woman’s unique attitude toward, and experience of, menopause. Not surprisingly, women with a wide support network, stable emotional health and no problems talking about their menopause challenges fare far better than others, but ongoing social stigma ensures that this is simply not the case for most women.”
The article continues, “While many women are happy sharing a humorous quip about theirhot flashes or sleep issues, far fewer feel comfortable talking about more intimate (but just as prevalent) symptoms. Even though millions of women face the trials and discomforts of menopause each year, this secrecy and fear of judgement often results in confusion and worry.”
I had to bold that because we need to talk about how we are REALLY FEELING INSIDE.
The article goes on to say, “Until they’re addressed, these commonly hidden symptoms can contribute the most to isolation, anxiety and generally a poorer quality of life during menopause include:
Fear of losing your mind – Menopause affects your mind as well as your body, but while lapses in memory and difficulty concentrating can be frustrating, there’s no need to suspect the onset of dementia. Hormonal fluctuations could be at the heart of your cognitive problems, or else the stress of your physical symptoms together with daily responsibilities can affect how you absorb information. In all probability, any memory, concentration or learning issue is completely temporary – you are not going crazy.”
Read these Words…
One: you are not crazy.
Two: you are not alone.
Three: talk talk and talk some more about the crap you are experiencing – especially if you have a daughter so she won’t be part of the stigma when it’s her turn.
Four: you will get through it. And you will be a better you when it’s over.
Five: read number two.
If you liked this little article, I would be grateful if you shared it with your friends.