Magnolia Miller is a certified health care consumer advocate in women's health and a women's freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog and Healthline.com.
Tied up in knots with symptoms!
Magnolia claws her way through the chaos of perimenopause to menopause.
Getting her sanity back!
Magnolia felt certain that her "mental train would jump the track".
Feeling isolated in menopause.
Every woman feels differently, but all of us can benefit from knowing we're not alone.
The attitude of gratitude through menopause.
Magnolia takes stock in the things she is grateful for.
My work here is done.
Magnolia keeps her sunny side up and reminds us that every day is a new day.
I'm Magnolia Miller, a women’s healthcare consumer advocate, and health writer, who blogs regularly about perimenopause and menopause issues at my blog, and also at my regular menopause column at Healthline.com.
I started blogging about perimenopause approximately six years ago, when, like you, perhaps, I had been in perimenopause for a number of years; and was tied up in knots with my perimenopause symptoms: crazy mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, thrashing in the bed at night, unable to sleep, and heavy, flooding, gushing periods with blood clots the size of baseballs.
I was also disillusioned with a medical community that seemed completely unable to help me. Oh yes, they prescribed antidepressants, birth control pills, synthetic hormones, anti-anxiety medication, and a few other drugs. But, by and large, they simply threw at me whatever perimenopause treatment they could think of to see what might stick. Sound familiar?
I like to call menopause the safe harbor, because after years of navigating the turbulent waters of perimenopause, once you reach actual menopause, most of the symptoms have waned, and you begin to feel like yourself again—though some menopause symptoms do linger for some women, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia. While I personally don't have too many issues with hot flashes and night sweats, I do still struggle with not being able to sleep well, which is why I jumped at the chance to (try Estroven Nighttime).
Over the years, I've tried just about everything to help myself sleep. I've taken prescription sleep-aids (which I don't recommend), over-the-counter sleep aids, ice cream and warm milk, which by the way, didn't help me sleep, but did contribute to my ever-expanding mid-section.
I've pulled myself out of bed at ungodly hours in the morning, engaged in exhausting physical exercise (in hopes that I would simply wear myself out), and even relied on nightly glasses of red wine to lull myself into a peaceful slumber. But, nothing helped all the time. So here I am, ready to lay myself down (pun totally intended) at the mercy of Estroven and give it a shot.
Like most women I know, when I stumbled my way through the years of perimenopause, I thought it would never end. I felt certain that my "mental train would jump the track" and I would never get my sanity back – at least, that's how the nursery rhyme went for me back then.
There just aren't enough adjectives in the English language to adequately describe how difficult perimenopause was for me. Many women despair under the weight of perimenopause symptoms. Most expect to have hot flashes and night sweats. Perhaps even a few mood swings and a loss of libido as well.
But no one tells you that you might also experience, panic attacks, intense rages, and feeling as if you are losing complete control of your faculties. And when you're not sleeping? It pushes you to the very edge of your ability to cope.
Now that I am fully menopausal, I am able to look back on those years without the distortion of hormone imbalance, and make sense out of what was happening in my body, and how it was affecting me. Today, I have the clarity that menopause brings. I feel so much better and hopeful about life in general. But when you are in the "heat of the hormone battle" there is no clarity, you do not feel well, and hope is not a word that is in the perimenopause lexicon.
Now my biggest challenges are what most women my age face – weightchange, increased risk for osteoporosis due to low estrogen levels, and of course, sleeplessness. I will likely have to make watching my weight a lifelong endeavor at this point.
I suspect, I will continue to be an Estroven customer. At my age, when you find something that works, you stick with it. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to waste trying this and that, when something gets the job done, you know?
Women often feel very isolated and misunderstood when they are struggling with symptoms of menopause. In fact, it was my own feelings of isolation that drove me to begin blogging and writing about menopause in the first place.
A lot of these feelings are the result of seeking help from a medical community that focuses more on symptoms and devising ways to treat them, rather than simply letting women explain how they feel, and actually listening to them.
I read a statistic recently that said that only about 20 percent of women are heavily symptomatic during menopause. I found the statistic startling because for years I had read that the actual number is more like 80 percent. If you are suffering with menopause symptoms, you are 100 percent suffering, and that’s all that really matters.
If you don't know where to begin, simple changes - such as regular daily exercise; staying hydrated with plenty of water; striving to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of protein, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables; and maintaining a consistent sleeping and waking schedule - can help you get the kind of rest you need.
A network of women friends with whom you can talk and lean on during some of the more difficult times can also be helpful in easing the feelings of isolation.
I don't want to come off as some sort of menopause Pollyanna with all of my gratitude posts. You know, always chirping that you just "be positive!" I don't know about you, but emotionally buoyant people annoy the absolute "H" out of me. I'm just cynical enough to believe that underneath all of that "happy" is somebody who is likely hiding a whole lot of pain.
When a woman is going through menopause with mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, and all of the other 32 or so menopuase symptoms that are possible during hormone imbalance, the last thing she needs to hear is that she should just "be positive!" Even if she wanted to, she probably couldn't anyway. No more so than a woman who is suffering from post-partum depression can turn off the hormonal baby blues.
So when I talk about the "attitude of gratitude" in menopause, I'm not suggesting you have to pretend you feel wonderful when you don't. I'm saying that even when you do feel horrible, the best medicine is to take stock of the things in your life that you have to be grateful for. I mean, truly grateful.
This will be my last blog post for [Estroven] this summer. It doesn't seem like three months have gone by, but they have. Life happens when you're busy making plans, right?
If you've followed my blogs on menopause and menopause symptoms till now, then you already know I'm not going to let this last blogging opportunity pass without reminding you that menopause is like this too.
Though you are likely not feeling very philosophical about all of the crazy symptoms of hormone imbalance (particularly if you are exhausted from a lack of sleep – hello?), as your quasi-menopause-mentor, let me encourage you once again:
This too shall pass.