Imperfect Me is Just My Perfect
"There is nothing stronger than a broken woman
who has rebuilt herself"by Hannah Gadsby
As I tumble along in middle age I'm realising more that you make the best of your life. It's not a dress rehearsal and it's up to me to make it the best and that goes for you too. I'm full of facial lines with dealing with illness and gut issues and high stress that could've been avoided if there was only the expert help at the time. Way too many times I was fobbed off.
When I now know that entering menopause in my mid to late 30s I so wish the internet was awash with perimenopause help that I so desired. I spent years trying to go down the medical route to get the help I wanted. So often I was told basically there was nothing wrong with me and that you're just stressed. It appears to be a difficult concept for doctors to accept that a patient can be stressed over an illness etc. That stress isn't the route cause, it's the symptom. I so long for doctors to work with me. They are supposed to be the experts in health and then I use my nutrition and lifestyle expertise to optimise my wellness. All good, if only they'd work with me. I now think I've found a very knowledgeable and friendly helpful GP. This is especially important as the consultant that looks after me enjoys verbally abusing me every chance he gets. If the GP works out it'll be the first relationship with a doctor that may just work for my health and wellness. Well of course there is one exception of the fantastic bone consultant who helped me heal my broken arm using natural methods. Both he and I were scared to use the pins so it worked out perfectly as I healed quicker and better and got full movement back according to my medical team.
Over the years I kept asking if my health concerns were menopausal but told no. I remember one doctor telling me I was too young to be menopausal but had no answers to what it could be. I lost the chance to have our baby born, yet again there was no joining the dots. What was the cause of the spontaneous abortion, how could they help. No talk about would you like to try again. I was just left to my own devices in shock and pain over the loss. My husband too was heartbroken, but no help.
I remember in 2006 and onwards for years I blew from a dress size 10-12 to 18+ within weeks. I couldn't handle it and didn't know what was happening to me. Now I know it was hormonal. What did doctors tell me, "Eat less & Exercise More". One of the most stupid things anyone can say to a person when there are so many factors involved with weight.
Nothing worked, the stress was unbearable, I hated the way I looked and the hassle of buying clothes, as I kept buying my size 12, only having to go back and change them. There were so many issues I needed help on I was so ill. I tried everything to lose the weight. If only I managed my hormones, stress and dealt with childhood truama plus all the other self-care strategies so vital in menopause. The weight eventually fell off itself. I was grateful that I had kept mostly eating healthy. There was times though I lost my appetite and the gut issues were severe. I did all I could so I was definitely lacking nutrients. No wonder I had hot flushes, night sweats, ballooning weight, sleepless nights.. Also this weird anxiety that would creep in for no reason, so frustrating.
Finally around 2011 I told a doctor that I was post menopausal and he told me I couldn't be, that I might just be starting perimenopause! I told him to explain to me why I wasn't given the fact that my periods had stopped for just on 2 years.
This lack of expertise and failure to look after me was a major factor in my becoming a qualified nutritional therapist. It's one of the main reasons I went off to college and studied holistic nutrition and lifestyle. There had to be a better way and given the way doctors have let me down so much throughout my life I wanted to be more equipped to help myself and others with nutrition and lifestyle tweaks at least.
When younger your competitive streak is the front runner. But some blows knock you so back that you don't realise you are still holding on to them. I was certainly knocked back.
If only I knew at 35 what I know now!! From then I spent the next decade and more trying to get answers from GPs, physios etc. I kept changing GPs in the hope that I'd find one that would help me find the cause. I suspected that I was perimenopausal but whether it was a GP, consultant, I kept being told I wasn't.
All this is no longer good enough, women deserve better treatment from their doctor, be they female or male.
Points to take away
Yep, I've lost my own kidneys, I lost a baby both while studying so couldn't finish my accountancy degree & then my IT degree. With the loss of our baby I was carrying I had hours to live. I've been so ill at times that if it wasn't for my resilience & Tony's love I don't know where I'd be now.
Despite the lack of support I did my best, learnt new skills, even if it took me longer than others due to illness. My husband and I have done our best in the face of adversity.
It's very easy to blame ourselves for blocks, ignorant people who really lacked the expertise to help eventhough you pay them for it. You are made to feel it's somehow your fault.
I'm beginning to use the principes of IKIGAI & Logotherapy as a way to find meaning and purpose for my life. I want what is left to be the most rewarding I can make it. Challenges will always be there but I'm building my resilience to master stress, build other tools to help with nourishment and lifestye tweaks so I sleep better, stress less, nourish me, move more and build a nuturing community. Life is too short not too.
Looking back and reviewing my life I've learned to go easy on myself. I did mammoth work to help myself, along with my devoted husband. If only I'd got the help I so desired I wouldn't be spending so much time and effort fixing issues in my health and wellness. I'm glad I'm a nutritional therapist as I can optimise my wellness continually.
So menopausal women
- Stop and take a breath and give yourselves a clap on the back. You are doing great. You are on a journey, respect that.
- Learn breathing techniques (I can help with that too!), to help you in stressful, anxious situations and build resilience.
- Be grateful for your life, see the good and work to change, where you can, the crap parts. Look around you and take in all the wonders already in your life. It doesn't have to be perfect, just right for you at right now.
- Be mindful with how you approach your life going forward. A lot of my dreams and hopes were smashed into smithereens, for most of my life, so if that's you then you're not alone. Take stock and plan for a better life and the midlife you want for yourself. Ask for help from your loved ones and friends. Seek the likes of me out to help with nutrition and lifestyle. Find a good doctor who is caring and listens and more importantly helps you. It's all optimising your wellness as best you can. It doesn't mean you won't get ill but hopefully you'll be better equipped for a speedy recovery, where possible.
- Most importantly of all, remember to have fun. Build wonderful memories.