Do you have difficulty finding your keys, phone, purse, wallet, favorite shoes, the dog leash, that bill, or an essential item that you just saw moments ago? Are you constantly looking for stuff, misplacing things, scouring your home or office in search of something you are anxious to find? Have you gone into a room and forgotten why you are there, only to pause for moments in awe that you can't remember why you are there, even after thinking about it? Are you having difficulty grasping for names of people you have known for years or your whole life? Is it challenging to find the correct words for objects you use all the time? Is this Dementia? Alzheimer's challenges? Chronic Disorganization? Is it just getting older, or is it The M Word, Menopause?
Well, if you are also suffering from night sweats, decreased libido, forgetfulness, clumsiness, having your period slow way down, an intense desire to snap, crackle and pop, then most likely it is the "Mescapades" of Menopause.
My first encounter with The Big" M" feeling was at a grocery store. I turned 47; I went through check out when the cashier refused a coupon, and I blew a gasket. You would have thought someone had stolen my wallet. I was beside myself, shrieking about how long it took me to find the damn coupon, stamping my foot and making a ridiculous fool out of myself. After the most classic meltdown of all, which lasted about a whole minute, I looked around sheepishly. My emotions had taken over. The episode brought on an out-of-body experience, and I thought, who is that in my body?
I arrived home safely, pondering the idea that my neurotic great Aunt, Ida, who had recently passed, had taken me over. I hurriedly hopped onto the trusty internet, putting in symptoms of my chaotic moment, only to discover that I was the ripe age for pre-menopausal signs. Pre-menopausal symptoms? Yes, you can start to have Pre-Menopausal symptoms as early as the mid-'40s or even earlier since we are all on a different genetic track. I was 47 and rearing to go, or should I say getting rear-ended by menopausal symptoms.
My life included a series of these "Mescapades," some more humiliating than others. Breakthrough bleeding had to be the biggest faux pas. I would be in the most public or private places when I would feel all hell breaking loose, and of course, always when I was wearing a new pair of white pants or shorts. No amount of pads or tampons could stop the Tsunami of Horror. This type of bleeding was a whole new twist on including lumps and logs of unpleasant, dark, and bizarre, charging out of me like it had a mission to destroy any peace and awareness I could have during what should be the prime of my life. I once bled for almost two months and found out you can't die from that but could become anemic. The doctor's solution is a big parvo-like shot. My solution, after some research, liquid iron, and large doses of calcium and magnesium worked.
Next was the biggest shock-a-roo of my life. My libido dipped into unknown territory. I was always, oh and how I hate to admit this, interested, or should I say fixated on sex. I know you're shocked too that I'm saying such stuff, but it's true. Me, no libido? I was flabbergasted! Where did it go? I was looking all over for it, like a horn-dog who lost their corndog. Oh my gosh, what's going on here?
Slowly but surely, I realized that all my girlfriends, who were going through the same thing, were on something, creams, replacements or potions, or someone other than their husbands or boyfriends, wondering if anything would keep them fruitfully playful.
I thought about supplements, creams, extracts, and old fantasies that used to do the trick, and I even experimented with a few visualization techniques, but I never did get the old me back until I realized my libido like my head was still attached to my body, it just was a little slower, a little more subtle.
I would not have affairs, although I admit I only thought about it for a second as I was grasping for solutions for the first time in my marriage. I couldn't go that route, not only because it is wrong in my book, but with who? Noone was desirable at that moment. Even the actors I loved always making my heart skip a beat didn't seem to do anything for me. I felt doomed.
After a few weeks of this new me, I settled down and started feeling a bit relieved that the hunt of the wild was not poking its mad bull ride out at me, and I was able to relax into this new feeling and focus on new interests. Eventually, I would get a surge of the old me, which would be fun for my husband and me. Luckily, he was in the same age group and seemed to be going through some woman-a-pause. We were in this together. In some ways, it was lovely; we could relax without that constant "Do you want to? Do you want to? Well, do you want to?
At 50, it all seemed to be coming to an end, not me silly, not my life, but the tampons, the pads, and the "Mescapades ."I celebrated my 50th in a way that a kid celebrated. It was such a great relief to have no more cramps, periods. I was elated. I felt 12 again. I was free, and that lasted for about four months. Then it came back again. Oh my gosh, is something wrong with me? Yes, they call it breakthrough bleeding. I thought breakthroughs were an ah-hah moment. However, the reoccurrence was a "Yikes" moment. I thought, "what's going on here?" I couldn't remember when I had it last and why it was back? Then just as it whisked in like a Frenemy coming around to be friends again, it was gone again. Whoosh in and then out. Then I achieved eight months free, and then it again peered in as if to say "fooled ya" and then whoosh out again. It was so weird and confusing.
So here is where I am now if I can only remember. I am 52 and have achieved a whole year without the "curse," the worst, and the mess. I have dryer skin, a lower libido than ever (re-thinking the creams, dreams, and whatever, except cheating, of course), and belly fat that I can't explain in a better way than having a new focus in life, whether you like it or not. I have more creativity and focus on my business than I have ever dreamed of, great convos with my husband about improving the myelin in our brains, and how becoming ambidextrous will improve memory.
I must say I now enjoy hanging out with girlfriends and discussing things like the M Word movie by Henry Jaglom, (which I am in by the way) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2187137/ growing out hair and nails because of more patience and serenity. We love talking about the best hair-dresser ever, how we dread the idea of wrinkles, how we will live longer, and of course, the possibility of botox. We also revel in the fact that we have so much more time to do what we love rather than focusing on sex, our period, our men, menses, or even menopause.
My friends and I realize that with every passage of time in life, every stage of life, and every monumental thing we experience in life, menopause is just another one of those things and not what defines us, as long as we pause, allowing it to be just a part of our world and not take over, and understanding it's not all that messy after all.
Look for more articles by Marla Stone, MSW, Professional Organizer, Life, and Business Coach, Décor and Feng Shui Specialist, Actress and Public Speaker at http://www.i-deal-lifestyle.com/