I often hear the complaint "my wife suddenly lost interest in sex, she is bitchy and doesn't want me near her", "she is not the person I used to know!"
I now understand why.
The inevitable has happened and as much as I thought I was prepared, I was still extremely unprepared for it. Menopause has struck with a vengeance. I am the kind of person who never had problems with periods or hormones, my body adjusted and carried on. I am, however, inclined toward chronic depression and migraines, so I feel as if I have been doubly attacked in those areas.
For those that still have this to look forward to and the men that, hopefully, will be supporting them. I am putting my thoughts and feelings down in the hopes that something here will make it slightly easier for the ladies - and, perhaps, help the gentlemen to be more understanding.
I finally have the hot body I have always wished for - but in this case it is definitely a case of "be careful what you wish for" . With a body temperature that sometimes makes me feel like I could fry an egg on my hands or cheeks, accompanied by a sweaty, clammy feeling, it is no wonder I am uncomfortable being held or touched.
Firstly because I am so hot, I feel I might either overheat or literally burn my partner to a frazzle.
Secondly, being so sweaty makes me feel smelly, so having someone close is uncomfortable, yet this is what I long for and need the most , talk about contradiction...
Then there are the lovely aches and pains that accompany this delightful time of a woman's life. The joints that ache, making me swear the floor is getting further and further away from my hands. The fingers that wont grip anything and the head that hurts almost constantly, as I mentioned I get migraines so for me to complain about mere headaches is a big thing. The frustration and anger I feel at my body's inability to do things I used to do so easily, is inexpressible.
Not to mention the endless sleepless nights, where I wake up so hot the bedding is soaked, my head is throbbing from the heat and my tongue cleaving to my palette. I get up, gulp down water, spray cool water over my face and body, then back to bed, sans the bedding.
Breathing a sigh of relief as I start to cool down and finally doze off, only to be woken up freezing cold, blankets on again and so the cycle continues. I wake up drained and weepy in the morning where I have to face the day and people with a smile.
All these put together help to bring about depression and irritation (bitchiness to put it mildly), which in turn lead to more pain, less sleep, deeper depression and aggressive irritation. Like a vicious cycle this drives me deeper and deeper into the hole. I start to question my sanity, my body's ability to keep going, my minds tendency to forget the simplest things.
The depression draws me deeper into its spell and I start to withdraw, both as a protection for myself (after all what my mind tells me, I don't need to hear repeated by those around me) and protection for those I love (my irritation makes me irrational and I pick fights for no reason, ending up hurting those closest to me) Ironically this is when I need them the most - I need to know I am not going insane, that my body is still attractive. I need to know I am loved in spite of the ugliness that is coursing through my body during this time.
The only way I am getting through this with some semblance of progression is due to my friends and family's support and understanding and through an acceptance, by myself, of this inevitable journey.
I take regular doses of Cal mag, Evening Primrose and Salmon oils along with healthy amounts of Vitamin B - so far I feel I am improving - time will tell.
For you men out there, I have this advise (from personal experience I have found it to go a long way toward easing things).
I know it is hard for you to stand by and be a "punching bag" but once you realize that we (your partners) are just as confused as you are (maybe even more so) by what is happening to our bodies, then perhaps you would be able stop taking it personally and just love and hold us.
Allow us to cry if we want to, your shoulder gives us infinite comfort.
Allow us to rage if we want to, sit with us as we vent and rant - don't belittle or laugh, to you this might be irrational (and, to be honest inside we know it is) but at the time it is real and all we need is your arms and acceptance -don't humor us, just love us.
Let us know it is okay to feel these things it is okay to let them out - if we have a safe place to vent or cry then we will get through this quicker and with less impact on ourselves and those around us. If we bottle this up or feel unsupported by our partners there is a real chance we will begin to feel unloved and resentful - this is the start of communication break down between partners - don't allow this to happen.
For you ladies I need you to know this.
It is not all about you at this time - even though it does feel like it.
Your partner has needs too, he needs to feel loved and wanted just as much as you do - and I know that sex is not high on your agenda, nor is patience and logic. Even so, if you want to get through this with your relationship on an even keel you need to make an effort and tend to his needs, use lubricant, touch him, anything to let him know that he is still attractive to you.
Fight to tone down your irritation, take the necessary supplements to help your body through this and talk to him, tell him how you are feeling, let him know you love him, you want him and emphasize that this will not last long - it is a stage and like all stages (good and bad) this too shall pass.
When we grasp all these and understand (as much as is possible) what is happening to us, our minds and our bodies then perhaps it will be easier for us to accept love and support through this.
I firmly believe that any relationship that can weather this with love and compassion will come out the other side stronger and more beautiful than ever before.