Anxiety & Panic Attacks

Dear Magnolia……Does Anybody Really Give a Crap?

by Magnolia on September 7, 2014

Post image for Dear Magnolia……Does Anybody Really Give a Crap?

Today’s Dear Magnolia post is from Lisa.

Lisa is grieving.

Yes, she’s also experiencing other symptoms of perimenopause, namely,  anxietydepression, and other symptoms related to estrogen dominance.  But, she’s also struggling with grief .

Grief is the part of perimenopause that no one talks about.  Well, not very much.

Grief doesn’t sell.

You can’t take birth control pills, drugs, hormones, or some kind of food supplement, to erase the sadness and heavy heart one feels when grieving. No amount of therapy really helps either.

And you don’t just “get over” grief.  You have to go through it.  That’s it.  There are no short-cuts or easy ways out.  You have to feel the emotions, experience the sadness, and work your way through to the other side.¹

Most of you know that I recently became divorced.  At the beginning of the divorce process in 2011, my father died.  Just after my divorce was final in 2013, my mother died.

Ask me about grief.

Grief in perimenopause might not be as overwhelming as the grief of losing a parent or one’s marriage. But there is loss in perimenopause: Loss of fertility.  Loss of youth.  Loss of the life you once knew, to be replaced by a new life that just doesn’t feel the same.

But there’s more: You lose your hormones, and with them your physical body changes.  You become susceptible to new and sometimes difficult health challenges.  Your children, if you have them, are likely grown or close to it.  They are leaving or will be leaving the nest soon.  And before you know it, you’re officially a senior citizen.

Oh, there’s loss in perimenopause alright.  And where there is loss, there is grief.

I thought Lisa’s comment was very poignant; a perfect example of how so many women feel when they are grieving in perimenopause.

Lisa

Hi Magnolia.

I just wanted to add my voice to the many women who’ve thanked you for sharing your experience and wisdom on this blog. I’m 43 and perimenopausal (at least, I think I am; I had a hysterectomy six years ago and only kept one ovary, so I don’t have periods).

After a few crippling bouts of anxiety and depression to the point where I was housebound, my doctor had some blood work done and explained I was in perimenopause.

She put me on bioidentical estrogen and progesterone. After several months of no improvement I got myself a saliva test that indicated I was estrogen dominant. So I’ve cut out the estrogen and have had my progesterone increased from 100 mg to 200 mg.

It’s only been a month on that regimen, so I think I have a long way to go. She also thinks I may be suffering from adrenal fatigue. I guess the stress of feeling like crap all the time, and the fact that I don’t sleep well anymore has compromised my system even worse.

The hardest part is, I think, the grief. I go through bouts of anxiety and depression, but the grief is just constant. It’s this sadness that just follows me everywhere.

It’s in every thought and everything I do. I have such a hard time explaining how I feel to people who’ve never been there.

My kids are still fairly young (11 and 8).  But, all I can do is cry over the fact that they’re not babies anymore. I feel so old and useless.

I used to take great pride in keeping a good house and being a good cook. Now, all I do is look around and think how I’m only good for cleaning toilets and frankly, who gives a crap about dinner?

Anyway, I just had to thank you. You’ve helped me keep what’s left of my sanity. And even though I’m not convinced this will ever end, it helps to hear from other women who’ve survived and are enjoying life on the other side.

Magnolia

Dear Lisa,

Your comment touched me.  I was in my early 40s when I began to go through perimenopause too.  My children, like yours, were also young.

I remember feeling exactly the way you feel.  I was getting older, my looks were leaving with each passing year, and my children would one day grow up and leave too.  “Who am I and what am I living for?” was a constant refrain in my head.

That you’ve had a hysterectomy probably adds an additional layer of sadness as your children grow older, because you can’t have anymore without your ovaries and uterus.

Losing a vital part of your body can also trigger grief.

It is very common for women to question their worth and value when they start entering perimenopause.  In Western culture where youth and beauty are revered, perimenopause and menopause feels like a death sentence for American women.

Though we would like to say that we are women, hear us roar, and that none of these things affect us; the truth is, we can’t escape the pressures of our society and culture.  When we are bombarded every day with messages that tell us we are useless and unwanted because we are no longer young, beautiful, hot, and sexually desirable, it’s can be depressing.

I’ve been in menopause for well over 3 years now.  I am passed the grief of losing my youth, my looks, and my fertility.  I am now edging closer to 60.  If I had a choice, I would certainly choose youth over senior citizen.  But, one of the gifts of menopause is self-acceptance.

I’ve come to terms with moving past the years of reproduction and I’ve made peace with it.  I’m not 30 years old any longer.  Not even 40 or 50.  And that’s okay.  I no longer live with the nagging of pressure to please everyone as we as women often do.

If someone does not accept me for who I am, exactly the way I am – and that includes how I look – I do not lose one iota of sleep over it.  I truly do not care.

I’m now in graduate school pursuing my masters, and soon, my doctorate in a field of study I’ve always loved.  I’m doing things that make me happy.  Of course, you still have a few years to go before you can do things for yourself. But, those years are coming, and I can assure you you will feel less sad as you inch closer to menopause.

For now, I would encourage you to give yourself permission to feel sad.  It will pass. Be kind to yourself. Savor the time you have left with your children.  They do in deed grow up and move on.  But, your relationship with them will also change and they will love you and need you still.

Just in different ways.

And you know, I still cook dinner for mine (who are now in their 20s and late teens), and they do give a crap. They don’t always show it in the ways that I wish they would, but I know they are appreciative for the things I do for them.

Thank you for sharing your story here.  Women like you are why I get up everyday and write this blog.

I give a crap too. :)

Magnolia

¹If you are interested in reading more about the process of grief, Swiss psychiatrist, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, author of On Death and Dying, has written extensively on grief and the grief process.  Her last book was entitled On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss.  I haven’t read On Grief and Grieving, but if it is anything like On Death and Dying, I’m certain it will be worth the purchase.

{ 3 comments }

A Review of the Nutribullet: One Amazing Gadget!

Thumbnail image for A Review of the Nutribullet: One Amazing Gadget!

I never, and I mean, I never could imagine that I would shill for a gadget like some infomercial babe.  But, here I am. I’m doing it. Full Disclosure:  I’m not speaking on behalf of Nutribullet, and this is not a sponsored post. Though I am an affiliate with Amazon.com.  So if you purchase a Nutribullet through [...]

August 30, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Dear Magnolia…..about that Vertigo & Dizziness in Perimenopause

Thumbnail image for Dear Magnolia…..about that Vertigo & Dizziness in Perimenopause

It’s time for another “Dear Magnolia” installment.  I picked a comment by a reader by the name of “Michelle” for this post. Michelle has been having trouble with vertigo and dizziness in perimenopause, along with balance issues, brain fog, and feeling spaced out.  She said she also suffers with migraines and wacky periods. Typical perimenopause [...]

August 2, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

I Have a Tendency to Neglect Myself

Thumbnail image for I Have a Tendency to Neglect Myself

Do you? I haven’t written as regularly as I’ve wanted to for quite some time now.  A very long time, truthfully. It is primarily because I have been grieving.  Oh, how I have been grieving – the loss of my father, then my divorce, then the loss of my mother. I know we all face loss [...]

June 17, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Symptoms of Perimenopause Symptoms of Menopause

I thought it would be appropriate – and helpful – to follow up on a recent post I did on the difference between perimenopause and menopause and provide a list of the symptoms associated with each. Though the terms are often (and I’m guilty of the same) used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Perimenopause is a transitional [...]

November 17, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Viniyoga for Anxiety in Perimenopause: The Jury is In

Thumbnail image for Viniyoga for Anxiety in Perimenopause: The Jury is In

Anxiety in perimenopause is a “biggie” for women. Probably the most complained about symptom of perimenopause.  Right up there with “I think I’m going crazy.” Trying to address these issues and help women with the symptoms is always a balancing act for me. On the one hand, I’ve come to believe that hormone therapy can really help [...]

September 5, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Viniyoga for Anxiety & Depression in Perimenopause

Thumbnail image for Viniyoga for Anxiety & Depression in Perimenopause

This past weekend we had a lively discussion on Facebook on the topic of anxiety and depression in perimenopause. There’s a reason for that, too. It’s a huge problem for women in perimenopause. Right up there next to the, “I think I’m going crazy” symptom of perimenopause. Which is probably why the only solutions the medical community seems to have [...]

August 28, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Hypothyroidism, Health & Happiness: The Riddle of Illness Revealed

Thumbnail image for Hypothyroidism, Health & Happiness: The Riddle of Illness Revealed

It’s been hard for me to move away from this topic. Primarily because physicians like Dr. Hotze, and other healthcare providers, whom I respect, continue to address it. But, also because I think they are shining a necessary light on the issue of faulty testing procedures for hypothyroidism. Of course, the baby-boomer-rebel in me is [...]

August 16, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Why do I feel like I’m Going Crazy in Perimenopause?

Thumbnail image for Why do I feel like I’m Going Crazy in Perimenopause?

It is the most common thing I hear from women regarding perimenopause. “I feel like I’m going crazy! What is wrong with me?” And there are a variety of reasons why women might feel this way too. Personally, I think the primary reason is the simple “craziness” of perimenopause in general. The wacky mood swings, [...]

July 1, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

You’re Not Crazy, Honey, It’s Perimenopause!

Thumbnail image for You’re Not Crazy, Honey, It’s Perimenopause!

Today’s post is a letter I received recently from a reader.  Her story is typical and so it was something I wanted to share with you all in hopes that it will help you feel a little better about your journey through perimenopause.  Kathleen’s symptoms are not unique.   Her experience in trying to get [...]

March 1, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Vertigo, Dizziness & Thyroid Dysfunction

I didn’t expect when I began February blog posts on vertigo and dizziness in perimenopause that I would be coming full circle back to a discussion on thyroid dysfunction, which I blogged about considerably last month. But, I am. Women going through perimenopause often experience secondary health issues such as adrenal fatigue and some type of [...]

February 11, 2013 CONTINUE READING →