A friend is going through menopause and instead of facing it, she wants to talk about it.
“I mean,” she said earnestly, “Why do we even have to go through it in the first place?”
“Uh, why do I walk into walks before my morning coffee?” I said. “Life’s a mystery.”
Believe me, I’m not criticizing her. She’s in denial and so was I—for years. Her approach to menopause is to hope that what naturally happens to the body during menopause can, well, be ignored since eventually, things will, sort of, hopefully, self-correct.
Said self-correction being facilitated, of course, by the power of one’s mind. We’re talking positive thinking, being in the moment, or failing all that, a miracle.
Hmmm, nice try.
You see, back on the ranch, the hormones are out of the barn and all hell has broke loose. The body is on a downward spiral and nothing can bring it back.
You can knock yourself out with talk therapy, visualizations, or meditation (and I tried). You can follow weird diets, go on vision quests, or travel the world (and I did). But in the end, the old adage holds true, one kind of repair (getting your head together) can’t fix another kind of damage (menopause).
You fix the body by fixing the body.
Menopause Is a Physical Change with Emotional Consequences
The only reason I know this is because I held to the notion that the right attitude can cure anything as tightly as my thighs hold onto cellulite.
It took me years of hanging out with denial and its best friend, physical decline, to finally get that the body has a mind of its own. That “mind” is controlled by hormones, especially estrogen.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not making a case for you taking hormones after menopause. You’ll need to figure that out on your own.
I’m only saying, just because the mind and the body are two sides of the same coin, doesn’t mean you can tend to your mind and trust the body will be okay, too. The body needs its own kind of care.
Okay, I know, I’m repeating myself. And you’re probably thinking, ‘Well, duh, Pam.’
But here’s the thing: with all the negative news and controversy out there about taking hormones after menopause, a lot of women ran screaming from them.
And for the most part they haven’t come back.
That means that the one thing that might actually be able to help them (hormones) is not even on their radar. In fact, it’s forever banished from the universe of options.
Many women today have this mindset of, I’ll try anything but hormones. When the “anything” (usually some bogus supplement or therapy) fails to help, they blame themselves for getting fatter, crazier, more depressed, or what have you. Which is as crazy as losing your voice and then wondering why the hell you can’t sing.
Stalking a Scientist To Find the “Truth”
When I finally hit a wall after years of this kind of thinking, I did something I don’t recommend you try on your own. I stalked a hormone scientist for two years. I was determined to get to the bottom of the hormone controversy.
Eventually, I found the answers I needed and got myself on hormones. That’s a whole other story—one that you’ll hopefully be able to read about one day since I wrote a book about it.
All I’m saying here is the next time you find yourself sobbing uncontrollably in your closet, or standing in a puddle of your own sweat, or wondering how life suddenly got so dark and confusing, consider the hormones.
They helped make me normal. Well, at least physically speaking.
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