Have I Found a Surprisingly Simple Way to Get a Second Chance in Midlife?

I thought I would take some time to fill you in on my HRT journey, seeing as I have dragged you all through the misery of getting it with me!

It’s been six weeks since I started using Oestrogel and I have now been on two rounds of Utrogestan (progesterone tablets), which I take before bed from the 15th through to the 26th of the month. I have definitely noticed an improvement. I still get the odd day where I don’t feel great, but it’s just a couple of days here and there and I think there are some things I can do to help with this, but more on that later.

Despite this, I haven’t been very easy on myself. I feel like I am not getting as much done as I should be, with the constant thoughts of all the things I “need” to do and creating endless to do lists in my head. Thanks to therapy, I have cut back on making actual lists on my phone, which caused me so much stress.

One thing I noticed was that I was feeling more sociable. I was seeing friends and making lots of plans with people and enjoying every minute, then as soon as I started taking the tablets, that feeling rapidly disappeared and I wanted to retract all of those plans.

I noticed that the first day after taking them, I was exhausted. I could barely move off of the sofa. The following day, the rage returned and I went to bed feeling concerned. Perhaps it isn’t working? Perhaps it was all a placebo? I felt my emotions begin to snowball. I was panicking at the thought that I had not found the solution to my problems. I was anxious that I would have to go through the whole rigmarole again. I felt depressed because I just wanted to feel normal and of course, there was good old comfortable anger because it’s just not fucking fair!

But the following day, I felt better, I wasn’t feeling like a social butterfly, but I didn’t feel sad and I didn’t feel angry, I felt, “stable” I suppose is the right word, not up, not down, just steady and the tablets were definitely improving my sleep. I later read that this is typical of a woman’s cycle, and the particular phases I was in, so I tracked all my symptoms and decided to prepare myself for the next month, hoping that this would indicate when in the month I would be feeling sociable and when I needed to hunker down with a gigantic bar of chocolate.

Of course, as soon as I had the capacity to think clearly again, I was back to having a go at myself about all the things I “should” be doing, like going for my morning walks, which had fallen by the wayside and despite me planning my week the Friday before, my calendar was constantly being rejigged, making me feel like a failure.

Now I know that I can’t do it all at once, so after speaking about this in therapy, I decided to focus on one thing per week, rather than try and change my life in a day. I knew my first focus had to be getting back to my morning walks. Anything else I did on top of that would be a bonus.

So, on Sunday night, I prepared my walking clothes and made sure my Apple watch and ear pods were charged so I had no excuses to not just get up and out on Monday morning. It worked. I got myself out on my walk and thoroughly enjoyed it.

During that walk, I realised how hard I was being on myself. I was doing a lot. I was working and each job is different, so I have to put a different hat on for every company I do projects for.

Each week, I also write a blog post for my business, this page and my midweek newsletter. Each post needs editing and scheduling on the various platforms, with each task taking at least an hour per post.

Thats without the everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning and seeing friends and family. I’m not having any free time because even if I am not physically doing something, I am mentally doing something. If I do get a spare moment, I find myself scrolling on my phone because my brain needs something mindless.

I have realised that I have to make some changes to my lifestyle, not just the scrolling on my phone, which may seem mindless, but really, my brain is constantly taking in information and isn’t resting. I want to take a look at my diet and get myself back into some sort of a routine.

This, of course, is going to take some time, but as my therapist often reminds me, I have already made so many positive changes. There is a definite domino effect of changes that have gone on over the last few years and after many months of moaning about menopause, I am going to list some of the positives that I have personally found

In my fortnightly therapy sessions, I have learned not only how to take on board what we talked about in those fifty minutes but also how to work on those things outside of my sessions.

I have made an effort to be open and vulnerable, which does not come easy and am addressing some old wounds, which in turn is having a significant impact on my self-esteem. I am starting to feel more comfortable in my own skin and give less f*cks, which is very freeing.

I have learned how to put boundaries in place and have removed a lot of things and people that had a negative effect on me from my life.

I am slowly learning that “No.” is a complete sentence.

I honestly believe that perimenopause is responsible for me leaving my career of 20 odd years. I simply could not cope with the toxic working environment I was in any longer and I needed to heal from that. Although I didn’t realise it then, this was a massive positive because it allowed me to do the job of my dreams and become a full-time writer.

I have started to learn about my body. I genuinely find it fascinating and once I was over my anger at the medical profession for not knowing enough and myself for not looking after my body as well as I could have, I have found that I want to learn how I can work with my body to improve my life and hopefully the lives of others by sharing what I have learned.

One of the best things that perimenopause has given me is the fantastic community of amazing women. I have never had so many conversations with strangers who are so kind in giving their time and energy to others and ask for nothing in return and it has not only been strangers. I recently had messages from old school friends I haven’t seen in over 25 years!

We have arranged to all meet up, but I did met with one of them for dinner last week and we fell back into our old friendship instantly. I had such a lovely evening and I can’t wait for our next catch-up. I am so grateful to perimenopause for bringing these friendships back together.

One last thing, I was listening to a podcast recently. A woman was being interviewed and she was about 80 years old. She was so positive and happy. I started wondering if I would feel like that when I was 80, and then I realised that 80 was almost 40 years away. I’m 42, so basically another lifetime away.

I have another 40 years of life! Providing all goes well of course, but that means all of those things I wish I had done in the last 40 years, I still have a chance to do those things and so much more!

There is still time to look after my body and if I do that, what’s to stop me from doing just about anything else? I had spent so much time being told by society that I was getting old, but I don’t feel old. Who defines old anyway? Then a realisation hit me like a party bus.

What if menopause isn’t the end of something? What if it’s actually the beginning?

2023-11-09 12:28:00

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