I have an ear-worm today. This song has been driving me mad since 5:30am. Thank you dawn chorus for the early wake-up call! I’ve sung it in my head, out loud while watering thirsty plants, and whistled (well my version of whistling) on my morning walk with the pup. I’ve driven myself round the twist with it. YouTube came to the rescue and played it all the way through. Hopefully this will silence the incessant worm.
The chorus prompted a train of thought, what would I tell my younger perimenopausal self to help her feel less anxious and afraid of all the changes. So here is my list in no particular order.
- Do not, under any circumstances, Google your symptoms. This will return results showing you have days to live. Dr Google never went to medical school.
- Embrace the change and go with the flow. The more you resist, the worse you will feel.
- Speaking of flow, it is possible to flood through several layers of sanitary protection and ruin a car seat! You are not dying. You are not having a uterine haemorrhage. This is an early indicator that perimenopause is paying you a visit. Cold water and table salt are good at cleaning up the mess.
- Palpitations are horrible. You are not dying of a heart attack. Give a couple of coughs to settle them.
- Muscle twitches are common at this time. You are not developing MS. Do some mindfulness meditation and try to relax.
- Bruxism (jaw clenching/tooth grinding) can start at this time too. Who knows why. In your case, you’ve spent your adult life gritting your teeth. Those poor jaw muscles have clamped down on the nerves supplying one side of your face. You are not having a stroke.
- See-sawing hormones can wreak havoc on your gut. As you’ve been prone to an irritable bowel all your life, it should be no surprise that perimenopause can make things worse. No you have not developed colon cancer. Drink more water, eat more fruits and veggies and buy a smoothie maker. Have fun creating your own recipes! Oh, and have that sigmoidoscopy for peace of mind. It is not nearly as awful as you think.
- Your libido will take the occasional sabbatical. Be patient. It will come back again, and no, you are not a dried up old prune!
- Head zaps are weird and disconcerting. The more tense and anxious you are, the worse they become.
- Tinnitus is an odd one. How many of us knew this would be on the list of menopausal symptoms? Not me for sure. Again, relax more and do fun things. Having more fun seems to turn down the volume.
- Anxiety for no tangible reason. Well, what can I say? With all the above going on simultaneously, is it any wonder you feel as if you are dying, losing your marbles, game over. Once again, relaxation is key. That and seeking professional help.
- Admitting you need help is an act of courage. To accept help from a psychologist will be a big leap of faith for you. Jump with all your might. You will not regret it. It will be the beginning of a wonderful journey towards the person you will become.
- Do not mourn the loss of youth and fertility. Rejoice in your second Spring, your wisdom years. Remember all those wonderful Terry Pratchett novels you love? Be a super-hybrid of Nanny Ogg, Granny Weatherwax and Magrat.
- Learn to say “no”. It is liberating and quite entertaining to watch the expressions of surprise on the faces of those who always expect you to say “yes”.
- Do not believe your mother when she says she did not know you were being bullied at school. She did know. This is called “Gas-lighting”. Look it up. And while we are on the subject of not believing your mother. Ignore her jibes about your weight. You are in the green zone in all BMI charts. What you have is an undiagnosed diastasis (abdominal wall separation). See a women’s core and pelvic floor specialist and watch your shape change.
- Embrace your innate spirituality, cuddle your inner child, laugh, take risks, wear purple, and finally, relax and enjoy the ride.
N.B. My advice to anyone worried about signs and symptoms similar to my list, always talk to your doctor.
Wishing you all a Happy Friday