Am I Losing My Mind, or is it Menopause?

Sooner or later we all experience that sudden onslaught of hot flashes, mental fuzziness and roller coaster emotional mood swings, which generally hit us out of the blue. We don't have to go through it alone.

The year I turned 47, I started falling apart at the seams. I drove around in circles, forgetting where I was headed, becoming confused and overheated with streams of sweat rushing down my face during important meetings. It was embarrassing as hell, especially in business meetings with men I barely knew. I flew into rages at my boyfriend over nothing at all and sex became so painful I avoided it at all costs.

I’d always considered myself a pretty easy going person, but during peri-menopause, which is what I later learned this initial onslaught of symptoms is called, I felt like an out of control teenager, doubting every move I made and at the mercy of my emotions, with my body betraying me at every turn.

One day over lunch, I tearily described my symptoms to my two closest girlfriends. They admitted they were feeling pretty off balance too. None of us had a clear idea about what was happening to our bodies, but we all felt like we were mired in The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Suddenly it dawned on us that we might in fact, be going thru menopause, something we'd always thought was reserved for much older women….or our mothers. Unfortunately, our mothers had never mentioned going thru menopause at all, or clued us in to what we should expect. And because this was in the early days of Google, there was very little information about Menopause to be found.

Realizing this was a passage that would be easier to navigate together, we started meeting monthly and sharing our experiences with a small group of friends.

We called our group, “Menobusters,” focusing on busting the myths of menopause. We exchanged horror stories, remedies, resources and recipes for surviving our mood swings, hot flashes, spacey-ness and dry vaginas.

Some of us tried acupuncture, Reiki, Chinese herbs and essential oils, and felt a lot better. Others felt no relief at all. Several months, meltdowns, and doctor’s visits later, I moved on to Premarin and Progesterone. I felt better so quickly, I’ve been taking the hormones ever since, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend hormone replacement therapy for everyone. According to some of my friends, their symptoms eased up over time without any medication.

We’ll be inviting a range of friends and experts to share their advice, stories and strategies for surviving Menopause here on WHAT NOW WHAT NEXT. Please share your experiences and coping mechanisms with our community too! It's so much easier to get thru this passage when you have the right support.

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Did you start going crazy at the onset of menopause or peri-menopause? What are your survival strategies?