Continued from earlier.
Suicidal thoughts? But I’m happy…
In the first couple of years of Peri(or pre) menopause, I did not notice much difference in my body, mood or my moon phase. I went along living as if nothing was brewing inside. Then one day in 2007, I suddenly started feeling extreme anger, sadness and I was even haunted by suicidal thoughts. The last time I even had a thought of ending my life was a very brief period of postpardum depression after the birth of my son.
As a result I thought I might be losing my mind. I truly thought I was becoming clinically ill. I kept my thoughts and feelings to myself, only hinting at it to my partner. I was still grounded enough to realize I had to reach out and get some help somewhere. But, where could I get non clinical help and advice? Well, from other women going through the “change” silly. I really did feel silly for not doing this sooner.
My sanity and some help!
I started a detailed online research project to find my way back to sane. It did not take me long to stumble across an herbalist and women’s advocate by the name of Susan Weed.
...encompasses herbal medicine, ethnobotany, pharmacognosy, psychology of healing, ecoherbalism, nutrition, and women’s health issues and her venues include medical schools, hospital wellness centers, breast cancer centers, midwifery schools, naturopathic colleges…
I posted in the Susan Weed Forums, telling my story and asking if I was losing my mind and if I would ever get it back. Several wonderful and supportive women answered my questions with such care and gentle guidance. I felt safe again.
One of the most important things that came from that forum discussion was the encouragement to buy Susan Weed’s book “New Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way: Alternative Approaches for Women 30-90. This $13 book ($17 at her site) is, in my opinion, the encyclopedia for women going through the change of life. Susan discusses the entire spectrum of treatments from yoga to hysterectomy. Not only does she give you a primer on how menopause works in our bodies, but she structures each chapter by symptom and a hierarchy of healing, so each individual woman can find a place on the spectrum where they wish to start and stop the process so it suits their own situation:
Step 0: Do nothing
Step 1: Collect information
Step 2: Engage energy
Step 3: Stimulate/Sedate
Step 4: Nourish and tonify
Step 5a: Use supplements
Step 5b: Use drugs
Step 6: Break and enter
Susan is a Goddess worshipper. As a woman with my feet resting firmly on the Red Road, our Mother Earth is my foundation so this resonates with me. The strength that this approach offers us as woman is the ability to see menopause, not as an attack on who we are as women, but as a celebration of the sacred phases of our lives.
Armed with this new knowledge and supporting way of merging the physical and the spiritual in a pragmatic and concrete way, I have been able to navigate this new road in a much more healthy and balanced manner.
“Flushes, Flashes and Chills”
After 5.5 years on this new path, I am now transitioning into reading the chapter “Flushes, Flashes and Chills”. About 2 weeks ago I was standing in my livingroom on a day when it was only 70* outside. I was wearing shorts and a tank top. In one moment I went from comfortable to feeling as if someone had set my skin on fire. The fire came from deep inside my muscles. This hot flash, my friends, is just a small taste of what I have to look forward to.
What else do I have to look forward to? With this phase of life comes greater wisdom and centeredness. Hopefully, if I can stay on the path of managing the symptoms with food and herbs I will continue to enjoy a rich and fulfilled mid-life. If you do choose to gift yourself with this wonderful book, I hope it can do the same for you.
Thank you for letting me share this with you all. I hope I can continue to learn from the collective wisdom of my fellow female bloggers out there.