When I turned 40, literally on my birthday, everything I knew about my body changed.
I had no clue what was happening to me. Over the next five years, I began having severe cystic acne all over my jaw, neck, and back.
I also became allergic to any soap, lotion, makeup remover, or cream. My eyes and ears began turning red and blistering, and I later came to find out this was eczema.
My periods became inconsistent & irregular to the point where I thought, “should I go to the emergency room?” Can you relate?
Then the itching began. Non-stop itching. This itching was like nothing I had ever experienced; nothing made it stop, and it was only on my arms and chest – so weird!
It was maddening.
I also had trouble sleeping, began to feel very tired, and didn’t have the stamina I used to. My joints began to ache, and my skin was tender to the touch.
I went to all kinds of specialists. I had allergy tests done, bloodwork done, and all my doctors said, “you are perfectly normal and healthy.”
This is normal? How could it be? I did not understand how all of these symptoms were being blown off as “normal!”
This might sound dramatic (and believe me, it felt dramatic), but when I turned 45, I felt like I was the walking dead. It was as if all the electricity and energy that made me who I am was gone. It was wild.
I had eight weeks of a final period (yes, you read that right) and then began my official menopause journey.
The good news: my acne cleared, and my eczema went away. YAY! The bad news: a whole new set of symptoms began to arise: Hot flashes, night sweats, bloating, and weight gain. BOO!
I now had to figure out this new normal,
which wasn’t easy, to say the least, but I’m here finally feeling better than I have in 8 years. It feels like a miracle at this point.
For some reason, menopause is a taboo topic. I know, it’s not sexy or fun, and it has a certain stigma that makes me feel “embarrassed” to talk about it, but that’s okay. I can push through my uncomfortable feelings if it means that other women out there won’t suffer alone.
Ladies, I promise you are not crazy.
If you are relating to any of this, I want to validate your experience.
I know I felt crazy for many years. Living in a house with three men, I felt no one understood what I was going through. I guess, though – How could they?
I really can’t stress the importance of self-care. Many of us spend so much time caring for others that when we get to this stage in life, it’s hard to find time for ourselves, but we have to!
Here are a few things that helped me:
Daily walks 20-40 min (zone 2 cardio)
Reducing stress – Yoga & Mediation
Reducing saturated fat from my diet
Cooking at home (instead of going out to eat)