Do you have difficulty finding your keys, phone, purse, wallet, your favorite shoes, the dog leash, that bill or an important 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 look at? Have you gone into a room and forgot why you are there, only to pause for moments in awe that you can't remember why you are there, even after really thinking about it? Are you having difficulty grasping for names of people you have known for years or your whole life? Is it difficult to find the correct names for objects that 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 was going 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 melt down of all, which lasted about a whole minute, and brought on an audience from every aisle, I had an out of body experience, and 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 episode, only to discover that I was the ripe age for pre-menopausal symptoms. Pre-menopausal symptoms? Yes, you can start to have Pre-Menopausal symptoms as early as mid 40's, 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 serious of these "Mescapades", some more humiliating than others. Break through bleeding had to be the biggest faux pas. I would be in the most public or private of 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 was a whole new twist on bleeding 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 possibly 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 a big "parvo" like shot. My solution after some research, liquid iron, and large doses of calcium and magnesium and that worked.
Next was the biggest shock-a-roo of my life. My libido dipped into an unknown territory. I was always, oh and how I hate to admit this, interested, or should I say fixated on sex. I know, 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, but I just really never did get the old me back. I would not have affairs, although for the first time in my marriage I admit I only thought about it as I was grasping for solutions, but just couldn't go that route, not only because it is wrong in my book, but who with? No man seemed to be that desirable any more. Even the actors that I loved, always making my heart skip a beat, didn't seem to do the trick. Hugh Ugh, it was real, I was doomed.
After a few weeks of this new me, I settled down and actually starting feeling a bit relieved that the hunt of the wild was not poking it's mad bull ride out at me and I started to relax into this new feeling and focused on new interests. Eventually I would get a surge of the old me, sort of, and that would be fun for my husband and I. Luckily he was in the same age group, and seemed to be going through some sort of woman-a-pause. We were in this together. In some ways, it was nice, we could just 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, no more periods, period. I was elated. I felt 12 again. I was freeeeeeeeeeeee! That lasted for about 4 months. Then it came back again. Oh my gosh is something wrong with me? They call it break through bleeding? Yikes, what's going on here? I couldn't remember when the last time I had it 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 was able to achieve 8 months freeeeeeeeeee, then it again peered in as if to say "fooled ya" and then again out. It was so weird and confusing.
I am now 52 and have actually achieved a whole year without the "curse", the "worst" and the mess. So here is where I am at now, if I can only remember... oh yeah, dry skin, lower libido then ever (re-thinking the creams, dreams and whatever, except cheating of course), belly fat that can't be explained in a better way than having a new focus in life whether you like it or not, more creativity and focus on my business than I have ever dreamed of, great convo's with my husband about things like how we can improve the myelin in our brains and how becoming ambidextrous will improve the memory.
I must say I really now enjoy hanging out with girlfriends and discussing things like the The M Word movie by Henry Jaglom https://g.co/kgs/8TLb7P, and how we can grow our hair and nails out longer than ever because we have more patience. We also love to discuss how we finally found the best hair-dresser ever, or how we dread the idea of wrinkles, or how we live longer. We also revel in the fact that we have so much more time to do what we love rather then 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 actually 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, Retired LCSW, Professional Organizer, Life and Business Coach, Décor and Feng Shui Specialist, Actress and Public Speaker at http://www.i-deal-lifestyle.com/
Marla earned her BA in Psychology and a Master's in Social Work and is the founder of I-Deal-Lifestyle, a Self and Space Organization Service.