Tag Archives | natural menopause treatment

Stay Cool This Holiday Season With Wicking Sleepwear: Cool-Jams Contest

Flame On © lynette sheppard

In the very beginning of my menopause journey and this blog, I discovered wicking sleepwear by Cool-Jams. Those pajamas saved me and my sanity.

Every night I would drench my cotton nightgown as hot flashes woke me from a sound sleep. Moments later, I’d be shivering in my wet sleepwear. To say that this scenario was not conducive to a good night’s sleep is an understatement! I’d change my nightgown only to repeat the searing heat – freezing damp cold act several times during the night. I was NOT a happy camper.

I got a set of Cool-Jams (I chose the tank capri set) and FINALLY was able to sleep comfortably. Wicking sleepwear does just that. The breathable fabric wicks away  moisture away from you to the outside of the jammies where it dries quickly so that horrible cycle of furnace to ice floe doesn’t interrupt a night’s rest.

I still wear wicking sleepwear, even though the worst of menopause is behind me because these pj’s are just more comfy overall. (I’m wearing them right now as I write this post.) The microfiber fabric is soft and silky; it feels wonderful.

Here’s the really good news:

The wonderful folks at Cool-Jams are sponsoring a contest for Menopause Goddess Blog readers. They will give away a $50 gift certificate for Cool-jams Sleepwear to one of my lucky readers. To enter this giveaway… just visit the Cool-Jams site and let them know which style you like best. You should select” Cool-jams Contest” from the dropdown menu (under Regarding) on the Contact Form and enter which item you want to win in the comment section.

The contest begins today, November 22 and lasts for 2 weeks. The contest ends December 10 and the winner will be chosen and notified on December 11.

Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving! Stay cool, goddesses.

Click here to enter the contest.

PS. Cool-Jams has several pertinent articles on their Resources page: Click here to see the articles.

 

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Finally! Natural Relief for Insomnia

Sweet Dreams © Dewitt Jones

Insomnia wreaks havoc on so many perimenopausal and menopausal women. One woman I met told me that she took HRT just to try to combat it. She said that she felt nearly psychotic from lack of sleep. She didn’t want to take hormone replacement or Ambien, but felt there was no choice. I get it!

Thankfully, my insomnia didn’t last too long. But I know women who are plagued with it still. It’s miserable to be hot, cranky, AND sleepy.

We recently had the chance to try a new, natural product – Sleep Spray. The folks at Verified CBD Oil sent a sample and one of our satellite goddesses grabbed at the chance to test it. She flat out loved it! Slept through the night the first use!

Sleep Spray’s active ingredients are CBD oil, GABA, and Valerian. Stevia helps the taste.

Here’s the short skinny on what these ingredients are:

CBD oil, also known as hemp oil, interacts with our naturally occurring systems, but is non-psychotropic, it doesn’t make you high. This makes it a safer, less controversial alternative than medical marijuana, while still offering significant health benefits.

GABA is a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain. Low levels of GABA have been linked to anxiety, sleeplessness, and chronic pain. Researchers suspect that GABA may boost mood or have a calming, relaxing effect on the nervous system.

Valerian root has long been used for insomnia and anxiety. It even is said to have some benefit in reducing hot flashes. I drank Valerian root tea early in perimenopause but while it didn’t seem to affect my hot flashes, I felt calmer.

It’s super easy to use – just spray it under your tongue right before bedtime. It absorbs and works quickly with no grogginess in the morning according to our goddess and numerous testimonials on the site.

This could be a godsend for menopausal women – try it and let us know how it works. This is how we find out about ways to ease this transition – by women sharing wisdom.

Oh, and I saw that they also have an anti-anxiety spray – boy, I sure could have used that early in my journey! If anybody tries that, we’d love to know how it works for you.

Here’s the website: Verified CBD Oil Sleep Spray. Sweet dreams!

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Get a Perfect Temperature for Sleeping

In the early days of menopause, sleep temperature alternating between boiling lava to glaciated goosebumps as moisture then evaporated from hot flashes. My husband had always slept warmer than I, needing less blankets. Suddenly, he experienced hot flashes of his own as all the covers were flung on top of him. We like sleeping together but that was an untenable situation. Thankfully, the worst is over.

Still, we sleep at differing temperatures even now. I’m variable night to night – sometimes too warm, others chilled. He is usually fine except when I overheat and burn him like a shrimp on the barbie.

Enter BedJet. This truly amazing innovation lets one of us sleep cool and the other warm. Or vice versa. They sent me one to try and I fell instantly in love with it. So did my husband. Dual temperature control without wires or special pads or mattress toppers! And that’s so important now that I have the perfect mattress – I sure don’t want to change it.

We are able to cool off or warm up nearly instantly. Finally, a blissful night’s sleep for both of us.

Bedjet also has a single zone version for those who just want the same temperature for the whole bed – obviously less expensive.

Check out the video about it:

 

BedJet is quick relief for hot sleepers, night sweats, evening hot flashes, cold feet and cold legs, cold winter sheet shock and memory foam mattresses that trap heat. There’s even a Bluetooth Sleep App for intelligent remote control from your smartphone or tablet. They say that the Bedjet reinvents your bed to become one of the most delightful places in your home. I totally agree. That’s probably why it’s now the #1 customer recommended bed cooling and heating product of any kind on all of Amazon.

Check out their website here:  https://bedjet.com/

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Breathable Bedding for a Toss-Free Night!

We Got Older and My Girlfriends and I Complained about Night Sweats. So What Did I Do? I Launched a Line of Breathable Bedding for a Toss-Free Night!
Guest post by Lana Abrams

You know how a travel memory sometimes sticks with you, bubbling up and making you smile even years later? A while back I had one of those swoon-worthy vacation moments that completely transported me. The day in Shanghai had been busy and I ended the night freshly showered and nestled under a comfy, almost weightless layer of bedding. I rested under those crisp, clean linens. Sigh… just perfect.

It turns out that the comforter was filled with mulberry silk—something I’d never seen in the States. I filed the info away, raised my kids, ran a successful design business, and my girlfriends and I… aged. (Wait. What?!) We chatted about the symptoms that start when you can’t have kids. You know—foggy memory, mood swings and (yuck) night sweats. Welcome to perimenopause.

I turned 50 and wanted to try something new, work-wise. I tapped into that travel memory of the delicious bed dressed with a mulberry silk filled comforter. That was it: my Turning 50 project! Bedding that breathes with you and regulates heat, hot or cold. I took the leap and created a new product for women like us.

Mulberry West 300 tc unbleached polished cotton comforters and blankets offer a naturally cooling cover filled with Grade A mulberry silk— a lifesaver for women who’ve been throwing on and off the covers at night. This porous and pure fiber is known for strong ventilation and moisture absorption, making it ideal for battling hot flashes and hot summer nights. Mulberry silk deters dust mites and mold, perfect for allergy and asthma sufferers, plus it repels bedbugs. And ours is the ONLY silk filled cotton comforter internationally certified for no formaldehyde or chlorine. Made in the same factory where a well-known Seattle-based outdoors store manufactures their goods, Mulberry West is committed to eco-friendly production and international inspections.

The all-white collection includes King, Queen and Twin XL cotton piped comforters filled with silk providing a lightweight, shift-free layer of wicking warmth and comfort. They can be placed in a duvet cover or use as is. The collection also offers generously sized King, Queen and Twin XL cotton with satin trim silk-filled blankets. This is a terrific layering piece or lightweight option to a coverlet. Easy to clean—simply air out in the sunshine for a few hours to naturally whiten the cotton shell and rejuvenate the silk filling.

Menopause Goddess Blog readers are receiving a special reader rate of 25% off any item from Mulberry West, plus free shipping with this code: goddess2017.  Click here to go to the website.

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Maca Root: Natural Support for Menopause

Daisy Chain © lynette sheppard

Daisy Chain © lynette sheppard

In keeping with Ashley’s most recent post about plants and their healing properties, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite remedies: maca. Maca comes from Peru, a veritable paradise of wonderful grains and healing plants. (Including the much maligned coca leaf, but that is a story for another time, girlfriends.)

Originally eaten by the Inca for strengthening and increasing energy, recent studies have found maca root to be helpful in relieving menopausal symptoms and returning our sexual vitality. Side effects? Virtually none, save occasional reports of gas with the raw version. (It is available in raw powder, capsule, or elixir.)

Maca root seems to work by balancing hormones and the entire endocrine system. Believe me when I say that our hormonal systems are interconnected and all of them need balancing after the Pause, not just our estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone.

I took maca root early on in my menopause journey – then I ran out and “forgot” to order more. Menopause brain, I suppose. Luckily, the wonderful folks at The Maca Team contacted me about trying it again. They sent raw red powder, gelatinized powder, and elixir.

Two of our goddesses have tried the powder and both are reporting better energy. One was suffering hot flashes again after losing fat and adding muscle mass. (Yep, fat is a great place to store hormones it seems.) Her hot flashes have decreased using the maca root and she is once again sleeping through the night.

I opted for the elixir and love taking it – I get lazy when it comes to powders. I know, ridiculous but true. A couple of droppers full three times a day and my vitality has definitely risen. Placebo effect? I don’t know, since I can’t split myself in two and conduct a controlled clinical trial, but any way I can feel strong and healthy works for me.

So many reports are anecdotal (stories by women like us) but more studies will likely bear out maca root’s health benefits.

Synchronistically, just as I was working on this post,  I got a note from ethnoherbalist Kevin Curran about maca and its role in relieving menopause symptoms. To learn more about this wonderful plant medicine, please visit Dr. Curran’s site .   It’s fascinating!

For more information or to order maca root supplements, visit The Maca Team website. Let us know how maca root works for you. We learn by sharing our wisdom and experiences with one another, so don’t be shy.

Interesting side note: Every time I try to type ‘maca’, autocorrect changes it to ‘mama’. A message or sign? Maybe not. Then again, maybe.

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Managing Hot Flushes & Night Sweats

Flame On © lynette sheppard

Flame On © lynette sheppard

One of our goddess sisters from across the pond, Lucy Teear, shares this terrific book review with tips for managing hot flashes and night sweats naturally. And do check out Lucy’s blog at Embrace the Change.

Book Review: Managing Hot Flushes & Night Sweats  By Myra Hunter & Melanie Smith

by Lucy Teear

Whoa…. My usual chick lit abandoned for two nights in favour of truly engrossing and informative read about the menopause, not something I ever expected to say! The menopause seems to be such a taboo subject, something to be suffered in silence and ever so slightly embarrassing, but this book provides balanced informative which changed my preconceived negative thoughts and the four week self-help guide shared techniques to help manage symptoms that are uplifting and positive.

The Finding of This Holy Grail….

I discovered Myra Hunter and her wonderful book in October whilst attending a “Managing menopausal symptoms following breast cancer treatments” (bit of a mouthful) held by “Breast Cancer Care” support – a fabulous support network that saved my sanity whilst going through chemo.

Having had breast cancer the possibility of HRT is ruled out for me, so resigned to the fact I’d have to go cold turkey and the impact of chemo can make the symptoms more severe than a natural menopause… Explains the hell of the last 3yrs, major hot flushes up to 10 – 15  times plus a day at its peak, then the flooding where my period would last weeks and be so super heavy I’d be jacked up on tampons and pads giving me a cowboy stance!! All in all leaving me feel drained and incredibly miserable. Happy to report I’m in a much more manageable place but still attended like the majority of the women in the room full of hope of discovering a new medical breakthrough, a pill, a drug that would magically alleviate the suffering of the night sweats and hot flushes (now at about 2 a day), but what we covered and discovered was far more powerful and enlightening, resonating with me….

Including:

What is the menopause
Symptoms
Pharmacological approaches to alleviating symptoms
Non-pharmacological approaches (natural remedies etc.)
Cognitive behavioural approaches
Self-help strategies

All the above is covered in detail in a readable and engaging format in the book.

So, we didn’t get the pills and drugs but instead  CBT.

So what is “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)”:

CBT is a therapy that helps manage problems by enabling you to recognise and ultimately change the way you think and behave in connection with the problem. Combining a cognitive approach with a behavioural approach, CBT encourages you to notice how your thoughts and actions influence one another.

It was clear that most of the women in the room felt the menopause was a taboo topic, something viewed negatively by society and therefore a source of great embarrassment… This is where CBT kicks in, as how we think will ultimately have an effect on how we experience the symptoms – makes sense right?

The below slide highlights the negative thought cycle:
hot flush cycle

My personal experience with hot flushes are they tend to arrive at the most inconvenient times, an example being a business meeting I had with five guys in a very small room, knowing it was going to be a challenging negotiation I was pretty pumped up and as soon as we started, it started… heat building, sending my pulse racing, panic rising along with the heat “My god they’ll notice” was all I could think, just intensifying the whole darn experience! In reality I’m sure it looked like a normal stress related response to the situation, and had I read this book then my perception would be just that and I’d have handled differently, controlled my breathing and had a very different internal dialogue.

Although a complete rookie yogi, I’m a newbie fan of mediation/mindfulness and often use it to help with the stresses of work (Construction industry is a hive of stress), and hadn’t thought to apply it to menopausal symptoms but having read the book I now see the correlation between the reduction in my flushes and the reduction in stress since practising meditation daily. At the seminar Myra guided us through a paced breathing exercise and calm spread through the room, even the most skeptical looked more relaxed and chilled out!

Right, lets take a look at this book….

Managing-hot-flushes21

Firstly the authors credentials:

Myra Hunter (the speaker above) is professor of clinical health psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. She’s worked in the area of women’s health for over thirty years and her research on menopause has established her as an international expert in the field…. Knows her stuff for sure.

Melanie Smith is a clinical psychologist who has specialised in helping people to manage physical health conditions through the use of cognitive behavioural therapy. She is currently working with the Manchester and Salford Pain Centre.

The format:

The book covers in more depth what we touched on in the “Breast Cancer Seminar” and is divided into two sections:

Information about the menopause, hot flushes and CBT explained
CBT Self-Help Guide

There’s also download link which provides an audio recording guiding you through a relaxation and breathing exercise, which I love  listening to first thing in the morning to set me up for the day, as feel amazingly refreshed and positive after – Also great just before going to bed if you need to let go of the days fuzz buzzing around the mind!

Although both academics this book is clearly written by women for women, the first section shares current knowledge based on really accessible and easy to understand research data, along with the latest information on why we experience hot flushes and night sweats – It’s not all about the hormones! It looks at how different cultures experience the menopause which is fascinating, and makes you consider if society was less judgmental about the ageing process then maybe as women we wouldn’t judge ourselves so harshly and feel the embarrassment quite so deeply!

It covers the principles of CBT, the theory behind how it works and the relationship cycle between: Thought – Feelings – Behavior – Physical reactions and how this cycle impacts on menopause symptoms.

I found it a compelling read and I’m usually more of a fiction gal! Even reading aloud parts with much excitement to Teear (my husband for those who haven’t read my intro)… not sure how much he took in but feigned sufficient interest!

The second part of the book sets out an interactive four-week programme using CBT, exercises and worksheets designed to enable women to develop strategies for managing symptoms. This approach is based on the authors’ research and has been shown to be effective in recent clinical research trials.

The main components of the self guide include:

Being informed about menopause symptoms;
Understanding what can help you cope with your symptoms
Learning steps to use relaxation and paced breathing
Taking steps to reduce general levels of stress
Identifying and modifying triggers of hot flushes
Dealing with negative thoughts and behavioural reactions
Practicing relaxations and breathing at the onset of a flush
Dealing with hot flushes in social situations
managing night sweats and sleep

We’re now embarking on the four week self-help guide, Diane (who’s also reading the book) and I are doing this part together so we can compare notes and we’d like to invite fellow suffers to join in, feeding back your experiences and reviews – If you fancy giving it a go you can buy the book on: https://www.routledge.com/products/9780415625159.

Available also in the US at Amazon: click here.

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Feel Fab After 40: A Webinar for Menopause Goddesses

Flame On © lynette sheppard

Flame On © lynette sheppard

Health and wellness company Root Fitness across the pond is offering a free webinar with help for menopause goddesses on Wednesday 22nd Oct. at 13:30  (1:30 pm) Pacfic Time.  To sign up, just click here.

This ‘Feel Fab after 40’ webinar gives ladies the opportunity to understand what causes and exacerbates menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, weight gain around the middle, poor sleep and irritability.   They then follow up with NATURAL solutions to keep these exhausting symptoms at bay so that women can go back to gliding through life with energy, vitality and confidence!

For more information about their program, Hot Flush Free  visit https://www.facebook.com/hotflushfree or www.hotflushfree.wordpress.com

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MenoPower: Menopause at Twenty Six Never Looked Better

Kaleidoscope Rose © lynette sheppard

Kaleidoscope Rose © lynette sheppard

Menopause usually happens around early autumn of a woman’s life. Erin Kaiser’s guest post gives us a glimpse of menopause in the spring of her life. Her story is inspiring – she embraces change with all the verve in her being. I’ve often said that wise women come in all ages – please enjoy Erin’s wisdom and encouragement.

MenoPower: Menopause at Twenty Six Never Looked Better
By Erin Kaiser

In August 2013, I was a twenty five year old Austin, TX transplant, wildly reveling in freedom, madly in love, and newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After months of severe symptoms, ranging from constant vomiting, weight loss, fatigue, and abdominal distention, I was finally given the medical attention I needed in order to receive an accurate diagnosis. Without health insurance, I tried to go about finding medical help without expensive measures, such as ultrasounds and CT scans, which inevitably prolonged and worsened my condition. After finding a team of doctors to work with, we decided to remove the tumors, while leaving as much of the ovarian tissue as possible in hopes of preserving my youthful fertility. Little did we know, this decision would lead to the gradual removal of my entire reproductive system over the course of the next two years.

Fast forward to March 2015. While at the beginnings of a month long Costa Rican backpacking trip, I began to have symptoms, yet again. By this point I still had my uterus and right ovary intact; the left ovary had been removed during my second surgery 7 months prior to the Costa Rica trip. I was fortunate to have family in Costa Rica who got me into a private hospital, where I received the scans to detect the tumors, and was urged to have emergency surgery to remove them, along with my remaining ovary as soon as possible. My month long adventure of spiritual healing in the rainforest quickly morphed into a much more immediate and physical path to wellness. While in the midst of the surgery, the doctors found many lesions throughout the abdominal cavity, including the uterus. It had to be removed, without my consent.

I awoke from surgery in a foreign country, with just my parents by my side. I knew as soon as I came to that my uterus was no longer with me. I was heartbroken. My beloved fiancé had to hear the news over the phone before I even awoke from surgery. Worst of all, I had not been afforded a proper goodbye to a part of myself that I very much respected.

I’m a Licensed Massage Therapist with specialty training in fertility and pregnancy massage. Over the past four years, I have formed a profoundly deep connection with my feminine essence. I’d been giving myself regular uterine massages and keeping herbal tincture and supplemental regimens just for my reproductive cycle. I literally had conversations with my uterus, and then she was gone. Sure, I had already come to terms with the imminent possibility of infertility, but I had not prepared myself for (gulp) menopause. What were my options? Freak out in hysterics, flail my arms around and scream over something that cannot be taken back? No, I knew all I could do was accept and grow. Of course, there are still tears shed. Tears will be shed for years to come, but with all that has been taken from me, much has been given.

So, here I stand! Twenty six years old, still madly in love with an endlessly supportive partner, thriving in a loving and fully accepting community, and enjoying the freedom that comes with a life centered around the potential of each new day. Indeed, I am just now starting to feel the pulse of menopause as its presence becomes more apparent. The hot flashes are REAL. I thought that term would always be some sort of fictional character looming in the latest chapters of my life story. No, it’s a truly daunting feeling, like I’m temporarily morphed into a tea kettle 5 times a day.

My tumors have proven to be estrogen sensitive, so any kind of HRT is out of the question. This brings on quite a challenge both physically and mentally. However, I see this dilemma as yet another opportunity to break the mold of the great doom of menopause that society has held over our heads. I have become the only regular with dreadlocked hair at the local University athletic facility where my fiancé attends graduate school. My physical upkeep focus has shifted from animal friendly eating and leisurely activities such as yoga, biking, and hiking to weight lifting, paleo/alkaline diet, and strict supplemental intake.

I started incorporating the color red into my earth tone privy wardrobe to increase a subconscious focus on my vibrant sexual nature. I continue to thoroughly enjoy my sex life, no way that’s going anywhere. I refuse to read anything negative or self loathing about menopause because I absolutely believe in the power I hold as a woman; in ALL stages of my womanhood. I connect with the ancient beliefs that the end of fertility in a woman’s life marks a time of greater wisdom and elevated state of consciousness. I feel my womanhood more now than ever before, because I’ve fought for it.

I am elated and filled with excitement for my future and the opportunities now afforded to me. I can’t wait to keep learning about myself and my feminine power as my journey continues. I hope to share a message of pride and empowerment brought with this stage of the feminine nature. This is not a time of mourning, but of celebration! Please join me, as our journeys are surely not ending. If we move through this passageway with a step of ambition and wonder, we have only beautiful beginnings ahead.

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Ladycare: Innovative Treatment for Menopause Symptoms

 

Back in early 2011, I wrote about an innovative device called

Star Burst © lynette sheppard

Star Burst © lynette sheppard

Ladycare. (Click here to read that post.) It treats menopause symptoms with no side effects. It basically is a magnet that you wear attached to your underwear.

I used it and it really decreased my hot flashes. Now four years later, more studies have been conducted and it seems that it has been of significant help for many women.

Dr. Nyjon, an integrative medicine physician in the UK,  prescribes it for his menopausal patients. Although medicinal uses for magnets have been around for decades, he postulates that it works by balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system (which can be horribly out of balance during perimenopause and menopause.) As a nurse, this satisfies my scientific curiosity, although anything that works is fine by me even when I don’t know the mechanism of action.

Because this site is dedicated to women sharing wisdom with one another, I want to share this personal video. I really resonated with singer Belinda Carlisle’s personal story of menopause hell and how Ladycare helped her. Yep, women are speaking up loud and clear. We share what works for us and hope it helps our sisters. Of course, not every remedy works for every woman, but we appreciate knowing our options.

For more information, visit the Menopause Marketplace, Natural Remedies section or visit Ladycare’s website: ladycareusa.com

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A Change Is Gonna Come

Comedy © lynette sheppard

Comedy © lynette sheppard

Lisa Hartman generously allowed me to reprint her fabulous, funny essay about the Big M. It reads like she was at our first Menopause Goddess gathering. Enjoy!

Open Letter to Women
A Change is Gonna Come
by Lisa Hartman

You are not, or were not, prepared. It is likely that your body, without your knowledge or consent, will, or already has begun to, upend your perception of yourself and the universe. It will, or already does, suck.

They prepare you for your driver’s test, your SAT. There is a plethora of relationship and sex advice. How to cook, garden, use your computer, parent. Classes and books, whole sections of libraries and bookstores devoted to unraveling the mysteries of life. Why, then, the dearth of guidance and information when it comes to mid-life – the “change” – that more than half the population will face? Oh, sure, it’s out there – books, articles, even talk shows will address peri/menopause – but the event, rather, the slow unfolding process, is a sneak attack in our youth-obsessed culture. You don’t seek information or educate yourself before the fact, when it could help you. No, you seek it at 3 am, in a panic, and devour it in the hope that something, anything, can save you now. No one will prepare you, and on the eve of your commitment, your mother will say, “Now that you mention it, it was difficult at times. I do remember crying for days on end.” Thanks for the heads up, Ma.

The female body is an amazing piece of work. It has ferried you this far, with its cycles, its ebb and flow. Perhaps it has given you children, the miracle of life, and nourished them. You have nurtured and loved, children or not, and built a life on the foundation of this body. A brilliant machine – I get it. But what is all this noise about “intelligent” design? Really? There is intelligence in these screaming, chaotic hormonal fluctuations? Intelligence in the crippling of my sanity? Sometimes, it seems more like a freshman design project. At a party school.

Here is what will happen:

Your teen daughter will look at you, hand on cocked hip, head in that “Girlfriend?!” tilt. Eye rolling will increase, as will stomping and slamming. You can’t blame her, of course – she is having her own design issues at the moment and you are useless.

Your young adult sons will also look at you, as if you have sprouted a third eye. Then they will leave. You will weep and gnash your teeth, like a madwoman, in spite of the fact that their departure makes your life much easier. All reason has fled.

Your husband will be a rock. He will shop and cook and still love you. You will catch him, however, muttering, rolling his own eyes and blowing air. It will really piss you off.

You will wake in the wee hours, drenched in sweat. You’ll strip, towel off and sleep again. In the morning you’ll recall this and think, “Hmm… must’ve been hot last night.” In February — in the northern latitudes.

There will be nights when you don’t sleep at all and you feel madness creeping in. Or maybe rushing in. You will drink Rescue Remedy and chamomile tea and toddies and you will somehow survive, but you will never forget just how close you were to the abyss. It will temporarily cripple you.

You will make appointments and say “yes” to parties and dinners, calm and lovely, but you won’t make it to half of them. 11:00 Friday morning? We don’t know what that looks like yet.

You will weep over everything and nothing. You will feel sad and silly, hopeless and giddy all at once. It will make not a lick of sense.

Your doctor will look at you, a 45-year-old woman with night sweats, insomnia, anxiety and crazy eyes, and say, “No, it can’t be perimenopause if your cycle is still regular.” She will be wrong. You will hate her.

You will see the world, by turns, as a glorious Eden full of unlimited possibility and a dark dead-end hell full of worst-case scenarios. You’ll be right on both counts.

You may find previously mundane tasks, like driving and waiting in checkout lines, maddening and nearly impossible. And you must not venture, too often, into the depths of brightly lit, big-box stores. I am noticing now, when I dare to peek, that these places are filled with young parents, retirees, and men. Where are my sisters?

You will look at the people in your family and wonder, “Who are they? Why are they here? What do they want from me?” Keep this to yourself.

You will want to be alone and you will want to do nothing. Chase it. You will also want to turn the world upside down with the creative storm in your head. Chase that too.

You will reconnect with old friends and you will overshare. It will be a relief and a delight when they do the same.

You will see another doctor who, after an hour wait and a 10-minute visit, will hand you a prescription for an antidepressant. You will hate him.

You will find sex alternately mind-blowing and non-existent, emphasis probably on the latter. This is because your brain vacillates between two messages – “Take me immediately,” or “Touch me and die.” – emphasis probably, unfortunately, on the latter. Your body may scream, “Take me immediately!” when, and if, you ovulate because biology wants you to propagate the species. Clearly, there is no real link between biology and common sense – I have propagated the species four times now and am currently just trying to keep everyone alive, myself included.

Your joints will be like those of a crone. Your hips, thumbs, knees will all complain. You will Google this and read entirely too much.

You will begin reading obituaries, which will remind you of the great sport you had, years ago, ribbing your Grandmother about this same activity. You will feel guilt and remorse.

Your good dog will sense your new vulnerability. She will place a gentle paw on your lap and gaze into your eyes. Your bad dog will crank up the stress with his incessant barking and toxic stench. Note the genders.

You may, for a time, ignore the messages from your body. You will cook, clean, chauffeur, cater large events, stay up too late, and nurture everyone’s happiness. And then you will fall down. Your body will stop asking, suggesting. It will keep you down until you tend it.

You will sniff rose oil and tape dried beans to the acupressure points on your wrists. You will drink foul Chinese concoctions and slather wild yam cream everywhere.

You will, at times, hear the voices around you as a cacophony and you will want everyone to shut up. Don’t tell them.

You will become unhinged. You will suddenly, bizarrely, love all romantic comedies.

You will want to drink. A lot.

Here is what you do:

Read Susun Weed. She’s odd, but she’s right.

Go easy on the caffeine and the alcohol. Drink tea and a glass of wine with dinner, if you must. Leave the espresso and the tequila to the grad students.

Find a fabulous acupuncturist with supplementary degrees in nursing and nutrition who happens to be married to a guy who does cranio-sacral massage. Do everything they tell you.

Eat fish pills. My acupuncturist said so.

Walk. Don’t stop. Everyday. I have recently noticed, now that I am one, the hordes of middle-aged women walking, everywhere. Mostly alone. This isn’t the chatty stroll with friends and strollers of days gone by. This is a purposeful, “walk to save my sanity”. You can see it in the eyes, the set of the jaw. It works, better than anything else.

Have your Vitamin D levels checked, especially if you live north of the 40 degree latitude line. Supplement accordingly, immediately.

Keep a journal of the madness. You’ll see how it tracks with your cycle, somehow, and at least be able to anticipate the worst.

Eat really well. You know how. Just do it.

To those of you on the early side of this ride, those in your 20’s and 30’s, take heed. This train is runaway and headed straight for you. If I knew now what they should have told me then, I would’ve armed myself. If the body is in great shape when this design flaw kicks in, it will be a much easier wave to ride.

I have spent almost three decades building, birthing, nursing, and nurturing four children –and I’m still not done. I’ve earned my crazy pants and deserve a break, some respect, and some space. Our culture doesn’t know what to do with us. We need a mid-life version of the “Red Tent”, perhaps a year or so of escape, where the women who have made this journey can lend a guiding hand, maybe a lantern – or a drink. I’m told that there are great things on the other side of this bridge. Until then, keep in mind the positives:

Menstruation will eventually stop. Looking forward to that.

Your family may remain a bit wary of you. This can be useful.

You will, hopefully, prepare the young girls and women for the ride. If we don’t, who will?

I hear that there is a calm, present power that comes after menopause. We learn new things about ourselves, and our priorities shift, supposedly. It is a rich, complicated thing, this mid-life journey. Meet it with a smile and drink it up – or just kick its ass.

For more of Lisa’s writing, click here for the essay and she assures me that it will be easy to navigate to more from there.

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