One of the most disturbing changes during perimenopause are the psychological effects. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I was not a big fan of psychology, preferring to treat every symptom with pills and HRT patches. Even when faced with irrefutable evidence that none of this was working, I clung on, desperately hoping they would improve tomorrow, or the next day, next week, next month. But they did not. At best, the symptoms that bothered me the most remained unchanged. Some days I feared for my health, both mental and physical. Other days I was quite convinced my marbles were on leave. Permanently.
A fortunate set of circumstances led me into the path of an accomplished and experienced psychologist, Dr Croskin*. Not that I had any faith in psychology but what else could I do? I’d run out of options with conventional treatment. The poor woman had her work cut out for her, trying to gain my trust and confidence.
So what did I discover over the next few years? The single, most profound discovery was just how powerful our minds are. I still remember the day my copy of Louise Hay’s book “You Can Heal Your Life” landed with an ominous thud on my doorstep. As I ripped the packaging off and stared at the pretty pink heart on the front cover, I remember asking myself what the heck I thought I was doing. How on earth could positive thinking help me get over all the horrible things I was going through during perimenopause?
I flipped towards the back of the book, in search of the famous List, and made an A-Z chart of all my symptoms and their probable cause. You can see my approach was still quite rigidly scientific. I was certain I would not find any trends or correlations. I was in for a shock. The results were astonishing. The overwhelming majority were rooted in fear, the remainder in anger. Given that my childhood and teenage years were dominated by a mother with narcissistic tendencies the results were not a surprise to Dr Croskin.
They were, however, a turning point for me, a paradigm shift. Fear and anger were feeding one another in an endless cycle. The trouble with circling is you don’t move on. At some point you have to jump right in and put the brakes on. Dr Croskin and I worked hard over the years I saw her. Using EMDR and talking therapy, along with acupuncture, tincture of sage, yoga and mindfulness meditation, the endless cycle of miserable symptoms gradually ground to a halt. I discovered a new path, a new way forward. No more circling for me.
And the fate of my marbles? I stopped looking for them. They are no longer relevant. They belong to my time as maiden and mother. Cronedom here I come!
*Not her real name