Today I was meditating and I thought about a conversation I had with a client last week about all the kinds of ‘solutions’ that are out there for women going through menopause…as if there’s some kind of solution that exists that means you won’t actually have to go through menopause – or perimenopause as we now call it.
The thing is, we’re all looking for solutions. Of course we are. We’re thinking things like, “I can’t cope with feeling like this. I can’t concentrate. I can’t remember. I’m sad. I have mood swings. I’m depressed. I’m irritable.”
We want solutions.
So here’s my little analogy, which I hope will help those of you who are reading this blog.
Imagine all these symptoms that we experience and just random dots. They’re all over the place but they’re not remotely connected.
There’s one over here, there’s one over there.
Let’s say the one over here there’s anger.
The one over there is anxiety and panic. There’s another one and that’s, say, brain fog.
You know, there’s all these different dots.
As you imagine those dots, you’ve got some options.
Let’s say option one is that you go to your GP and your GP says, “I have two solutions. There’s HRT or there’s antidepressants because you’re feeling a bit low”.
You can take it or leave it, but you ask, “What if I don’t want to take them? What if they’re not right for me? What about these other dots I have?”
(Your doctor may be a bit confused by the dots…but I know what you’re talking about.)
You: ” I’ve got all these dots!”
Doctor: “I don’t do dots. You’re either menopausal (HRT) or are you’re depressed (antidepressants). Which do you want?”
I know I’m paraphrasing massively and I’m being very unkind to many fine people in the clinical profession. There are some great people who specialise in menopause, but nonetheless the most likely solution will be hormones of some description.
For some of us that will work and we’ll say, “Great, thank you, excellent!” And we go away happy.
So we might try to persuade all our friends to do the same thing. because it worked for us.
But I would urge you to stop doing that.
Because what works for you or me, may not work for our best friends or our sisters or whoever.
We all have to follow our own path.
And that’s actually a bit disappointing in this case.
Because when it comes to where we get the best coffee, or where we got that haircut or that dress, or how good that exercise class was, it’s really nice to go to our friends and our family for advice.
We trust their judgement.
But when it comes to menopause and symptoms like anxiety, brain fog, and all of that stuff and drama, unfortunately, what works for one person may not work for another.
So you have option number two.
Let’s say option number two isn’t just one option. It’s a bundle of separate options, that ‘treat’ a bundle of separate dots. (Remember the dots?)
It’s, say, supplements, vitamins, blankets, yoga, breathing – a whole host of stuff.
Some of which is really, really great.
But each one is, potentially, for helping you with a single specific dot or, at best, a couple of dots.
You sort out one dot (maybe) with one ‘solution.’ But for your next dot it turns out you need something else.
Maybe you’re taking a supplement for this dot and you’re learning how to breathe differently for that dot.
And you’re trying to find a solution for all the individual dots, but they’re not all being satisfied.
So you spend a lot of time probably in Facebook groups, asking people what do you do for this dot? Have you got that dot? Is this for that dot?
You’re looking for recommendations again. As if you were buying shoes or clothes.
(I used to love shoes, but I can’t be doing with heels now. Especially when I live in the country. They’re not too useful for walking across muddy fields).
We come back to wanting good advice.
Meanwhile, you’re trying all these different things for all these different dots, but they either don’t work or they work for some dots and not for other dots.
So you’re left with some dots that are not really sorted and some that maybe are.
There always seem to be more dots than solutions.
Here’s my story
Even though I was at that age and I knew that my periods would stop at some point…I had NO IDEA how difficult life would become.
I stumbled into menopause and stumbled through it.
And it was a hellish, hellish, hellish time.
Eventually, through bloody-minded persistence, I began discovering things that worked for me.
You: But hang on, Shirley. Just because it works for you doesn’t mean it works for me!
Me: I know, I know.
At that time, I wasn’t specialising in helping women in menopause. I was working with anxious people and depressed people and panicky people and people couldn’t think straight and couldn’t concentrate and forgot things and got angry.
And I realised that some of those people were ‘women of a certain age’ who happened to have very similar symptoms.
They told me things like, “I’m on HRT, which has helped with the brain fog but it isn’t touching the anxiety”.
Or, “My doctor gave me antidepressants – but I still feel terrible”.
They weren’t dealing with all the dots.
So what have I got for you?
I created an exclusive community, called Menopause Anxiety Freedom for women who have lots of dots. But they’d rather not.
It’s a place where thinking gets turned on its head. And there’s plenty of free video training.
It’s all based on a simple premise.
The simple idea is not to treat any of the dots.
Instead of trying to come up with ways to treat all those old dots that are driving you nuts, you learn how to create a new kind of dot, the kind you’re going to like – the kind that stimulates positive neural pathways.
You start thinking differently.
“Whoa, wouldn’t it be nice if….?” And begin to chart a new path with new dots.
Calming dots. In control dots. Happy and fulfilling dots. Confident dots. Dots that save your job. Dots that save your business. Dots that save your relationship. Dots that save your sanity!
And this can be the breakthrough when nothing else works.
Those new little dots make synaptic connections that serve you. While the old ones become less important.
It has the potential to transform what you do, how you do it, and who you are.
If you’re on the Menopause Anxiety Freedom group already, that’s fantastic.
If not, you might want to join the dots today.
If you haven’t already taken the Menopause Anxiety Impact Assessment, you can access it here. It’s free.