Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Cath’s adventures in Perimenopauseland Episode 16 – are we nearly there yet?

In episode 15 we joined Cath on several adventures as she let loose her inner daredevil, creating an amazing reverse bucket list. This week we join her as Christmas approaches… accompanied by her parents. Let’s rejoin the story as she prepared mentally and physically for the big visit.

Puting things into practice…

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I had planned to bring my weekly visits with Dr Siskin to an end just before Christmas. However, as my parents will be visiting for Christmas, I feel I need a little extra support before and afterwards.

What used to happen in previous visits, is I would invite them for specific dates (the joys of working full-time), then Mother would ‘tell’ me when they were coming, invariably ignoring our dates. With Dr Siskin’s coaching, I approach the invitation process differently. In a kind but firm manner, Mother is informed of the dates we can accomodate the visit, taking into account our work obligations. As you will have gathered over previous episodes, this is not an easy task. You cannot simply change your default behaviours overnight. It takes courage and a good deal of rehearsal. Taking a deep breath (and a small gin and tonic) I phone Mother and outline the plans for their visit; date and time of arrival and departure as well as train times and fares. There must have been something in my voice which brooked no opposition because there wasn’t a single attempt to change anything. Wow! I actually give myself a ‘high five’ and do a little victory dance.

Dr Siskin teaches me various techniques, which she hopes I will not need, to see me through the visit. They look odd to the casual observer, but to me they are invigorating. If any of you have been in therapy, you may have encountered the Badger exercise (or similar) – every move you make is ultra-slow and ultra-strong to counter muscle memory. The Wolf exercise is very me – I throw back my head and howl like a wolf, but silently. There’s no need to scare the people in the waiting area! The final exercise, which I call ‘Sheilds Up’ (what a Trekkie!) involves raising a glowing sheild around myself to protect against energy vampires – you know, those people who can hoover the joy out of a room in seconds. By the time our session ends, I feel like a warrior queen, channeling my inner Galadriel (mustn’t forget my undying love of all things Tolkien!).

I am ready to prove to myself that I can do this. After all, looking back at all the new things I’ve done this year, I am capable of more than I give myself credit for. I am now getting very good as saying no when I need to and yes to much more fun. I can look myself in the eye, smile, and tell myself that I am perfect just as I am and that I love me just as I am (thank you Louise Hay and your mirror work).

That time of year again already!

With the festive season well and truly under way, I’m amazed to find I am looking forward to it instead of stressing about it. I am also amazed that I’ve not noticed something missing – missing since May… my period! A few years ago this would have prompted panic and the purchase of a small plastic wand of destiny, aka the pregnancy test. However, today there’s no need to panic as Mr D has been ‘snipped’. This is the longest time (apart from pregnancy) that I’ve gone without a monthly visitor.

Planning for success

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Meanwhile, Christmas and the big visit, is approaching. With an unusually (for me) calm air, I do what needs to be done for preparation but no more than that, acknowledging that I do not have the time. I also make sure I have a plentiful supply of gin and tonic, for emergencies of course. This time I am not slow at asking for help around the house or with cooking. I smile sweetly as I state my requirements (with a look that brooks no opposition) and nobody seems to be in the mood to push back or complain. Note to self – use this tchnique again, it really works. The parental visit passes without me resorting to Badger, Wolf, Shields Up, or emergency gins. Don’t worry. the gin and tonics flowed freely, but for pleasure, not stress relief.

Whoever said success breeds success was right. If you get your mindset in a positive frame this sets up the day for more success. As a result, if there was any disapproval at what I wore/ate/drank, I was largely oblivious. With the New Year approaching, I feel a level of optimism I don’t normally have. Lookin back, it has been a very interesting year for me, full of discovery and personal growth.

The beginning of the end…

Starting the New Year with a renewed sense of vigour, I’m positively bouncing full of energy.  Impatient to see Dr Siskin for our last session, I can hardly wait to tell her how Christmas and the big visit went. I know we are coming to the end of therapy but I feel ready to fly solo. I’m also sad too. My wanderings through Perimenopauseland has been full of surprises and shocks, ups, downs, blind-siders and stomach-churning free-falls. I hear many women around my age wishing they could go back to their old selves, but I don’t. I do not want to go back to the nervous wreck perfectionist!

It’s time to move forwards, embracing the change instead of fighting it. There are a few female voices out there reclaiming the positive aspects of menopausal change. These few women, but growing daily in number, see menopause as a time for joy and celebration instead of mourning the loss of our youthful looks and fertility. These modern day crones will not be defned by fertility status or youthful looks. It’s time we shared our knowledge with each other, with the younger generations so that when the time comes for their change, it will not be filled with such fear and dread. After all, menopause is a normal part of the cycle of life, not one to be medicated away with antidepressants.

It is time to make some noise, banish the cartoon crone (Disney, you have a lot to answer for), replacing her with our own images. Dr Siskin has no worries about me finishing my therapy now. She has done her job well as therapist and elder guiding female. I am so glad to have met her and benefited from her treatment and wisdom.

Which way now?

So what happens now? Cath is 30 days away from being a whole calendar year without a period. Will the next episode see her continue her journey through Perimenopauseland or will this be the end of the road? All will be revealed in the next Menopausal Muttering.