*Discretion* Aging issues discussed with medical perspectives as well. May upset some readers/listeners.
Hi and Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson Author Blog Post and Podcast. I’m your host, Jean coming to you from the beautiful Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada!! The blog post and podcast is an opinion piece and only reflects this author’s opinion and not that of any other entity. I hold no designations in politics, economics or medicine. I am retired from the mental health field and I am a humanitarian and speak from that viewpoint only. Whether you agree or not, at least I hope it makes you think. This is a little discussed phenomenon that most women will, if they live long enough get to experience…I call it “Mental Pause”. If you want to find out more, then stay tuned!
The one thing I stand by is that one can learn a lot by paying attention to the more experienced people out there. They call them seniors. One of the things that you can learn from women over 50 is about an age old phenomena that all women go through. Men have their own thing…which I’m not able to elaborate on for obvious reasons. I can only speak from my experience and I’m a woman. Males don’t seem to elaborate on their thing much, and women do a bit more. I call it “Mental Pause” because honestly, it sometimes gives me pause and it makes me wonder if I’m mental. Most women refer to it as “menopause”. As Ursula K Le Guin said, “…menopause is probably the least glamorous topic imaginable; and this is interesting because it is one of the very few topics to which cling some shreds and remnants of taboo. A serious mention of menopause is usually met with uneasy silence; a sneering reference to it is usually met with relieved sniggers. Both the silence and the sniggering are pretty sure indications of taboo.” Let’s explore this topic in a little more depth with some life experience situations.
It’s not that I totally didn’t know what I was getting into when I started menopause or Mental Pause as I like to refer to it. My mother had it a long time before me. I knew peripherally that it was not exactly fun and came with strange and weird symptoms. Like something I’ve heard referred to as brain-o’s where you say something and it’s entirely wrong like a typo but in life (https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Braino) or something to do with brain flatulence (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/brain-fart). The latter being the worst of the two as one doesn’t catch it until it is long gone. It is the latter one that gave me pause the other day. See, I don’t often have computer trouble. I generally can get it fixed. This time, it required a call to the service provider. Of course, I always try to trouble shoot first because I’m sure they are doing constant tech support over the phone. This time, no dice. So I called tech support. The nice tech support person ran me through the processes…and then in a last ditch effort, asked about where things were plugged in (literally wires plugged into the modem). As I viewed the back, started listing off stuff, it began to occur to me that it didn’t look right. I don’t know how or when I got them all in wrong sockets, but apparently, I must have. I switched everything back where it should be…after all the tech work I did and they did…it popped right back on. Welcome to the problem of brain flatulence. But, try to consider yourself sane after a few of those. I’m considering after that, requesting for a change of name from menopause to “Mental Pause”.
If people don’t talk much about menopause, I guarantee from experience that they don’t talk about surgical menopause at any greater rate. When I had my total hysterectomy, I had no idea what to expect. My medical conditions made it harder as cancer is a potential danger…so I chose not to go with hormones which has its own risks. No one talked to me about it in any way. No one told me what to expect. I was left floating on my own. I can tell you, from the perspective of someone who had to go through it for medical reasons, when I woke in the hospital, I felt like I had hit a brick wall. I had a sudden removal of hormones. I spent a long time trying to get past it, get over it, understand what was happening, how long did it last and would I always feel like I was in a living hades. So, ladies out there, I hope that there is more information out there than when I went through it. You don’t have to pretend you’re ok. You don’t have to wonder if you’re insane. I want you to know that eventually it will all even out and you will be able to feel somewhat normal. You can make it through. I did. It does take time. If you’re lucky, you will have a medical person who will explain the whole thing…not just the, you’ll be fine, we’ll take out your reproductive organs…then it’s done with. Let you know the options and whether hormones would or would not fit for you. Talk to you about feeling like crap, which most people are ashamed and confused to begin with. Talk about the potential of perhaps needing medication until things even out a bit. Let you know there are options.
I followed tons of online chat stuff…I definitely saw other people were going through the same thing and were going through heck. What you don’t see is, that when things are dealt with and the hormone thing settles a bit, you can get back to something approaching normal. I wonder how many people think they lost their minds instead of understanding that they had a sudden removal of hormones and it can have an effect. I will never know what actual menopause is like. I’m on the other side now, so it makes no difference. I still get the brain-o, hot flashes sometimes and flatulence of the brain…but I am more at peace with where I am in life. I can laugh at myself.
As Cybill Shepherd has said, “It’s okay to talk about birth, okay – then menstruation. I first started my advocacy for women’s health in the field of reproductive freedom, and the next stage would be bringing menopause out of the closet.” Myself, I’m opening a whole new can of worms. There are less of us out there, we are the few, we are the survivors, we are the uninformed and discouraged to talk about it by society. We find ourselves hiding out on online forums which tend to be a revolving door. Now, this was several years back so, maybe things have gotten better. But, the thing I remember is not being able to find any information. I just remember it being difficult, feeling I had to work toward survival and I was crazy. The hospital to be fair, I was sent on emergent basis as they thought I had cancer. It wasn’t. I wonder if this might be a situation where one gets better information when there is a bit of time.
So, now I have broken another barrier. As with all people with hysterectomies and all woman who live old enough to reach menopause, there are various different reactions and different experiences. Tsing Loh has said, “The literature of menopause is the saddest, the most awful, and the most medical of all genres. You’re sleepless, you’re anxious, you’re fat, you’re depressed – and the advice is always the same: take more walks, eat some kale, and drink lots of water. It didn’t help.” Then others like Kim Cattrall says, “I see menopause as the start of the next fabulous phase of life as a woman. Now is a time to “tune in” to our bodies and embrace this new chapter. If anything, I feel more myself and love my body more now, at 58 years old, than ever before.” So, if you are having a hard time going through menopause, you are not alone. If you are feeling on top of the world, congratulations!
I was somewhat reluctant to delve very much into the mental health aspect of this, but then I remembered that a lot of women suffer in silence and that can create harm in and of itself. So, toward that end, I am adding a few articles with a brief description. Starting with, https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/menopause-and-mental-health which talks a bit about some of the factors that need to be examined. The problem is a lack of information and resources for menopause which just compounds the lack of wellness in women’s issues. An article from menopause org https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments/going-mad-in-perimenopause-signs-and-solutions also suggests that there is a need to evaluate family history as part of the methods of dealing with menopause. The biggest issue I find is the working at cross-purposes that happens with regard to medicalization as they call it of women’s issues. There are people who see this as a way of making women’s issues into an illness. There is a complicating factor to this idea. It only adds to the stigma. Not everyone will have an easy menopause and not everyone will have a bad menopause. If we close our eyes to the population that has a hard time, we are keeping them from being helped and we are telling them that it is not OK to acknowledge they are having a hard time. We are telling people that it is not acceptable to be women who have a difficult menopause. The results of that are just as damaging. So, whether you agree or not with the medicalization of menopause, you have to understand that not everyone gets through this stage easily. To tell people don’t medicalize the life stage is just another way of saying, what you feel and what you need don’t count…because you shouldn’t feel the way you do…and so you’re abnormal. I sometimes cringe when I hear about the medicalization of women. It’s not all women that have issues. Just like it’s not all men who have issues. I dislike the “we need to shush you because people will think that we women are less capable” attitude that pushes away getting help for issues. Capable and menopause…if you have been through a rough one, I would think as far as capable or strong go, most of us could figuratively bench press a Buick!
So, when looking at any issue in life, it is important to understand that it isn’t about medicalizing anything. It isn’t about finding problems with being a woman or a man. It’s about making sure that you get good information, that you can find good information and that you can get help if you need it. That is what mental wellness is about. That is what moving forward in life is about. If you have an easy time, that’s great. If you have a hard time, then you aren’t alone and you don’t have to hide it. There is help available. So, now take that, “Mental Pause” part of life, and I hope that I made you think.
Thanks for listening to my podcast and/or reading my blog post and thanks for your interest in A & J PEI Treasures!
Keep watching for more e-books and more formats! We’re always working on something. Thank you! The podcast that matches this blog post can be found on Anchor FM: https://anchor.fm/a–j-pei-treasures/episodes/Mental-Pause-e1l9f92
Mental Pause* – E Jean Simpson, BEd, BA, MA Author A & J PEI Treasures
Our Blog Posts are available on
WordPress: https://aandjpeitreasures.wordpress.com/ and
Podcast are available on:
Anchor FM in a variety of formats: https://anchor.fm/a–j-pei-treasures
All my e-books can be found on:
Smashwords (my Affiliate link): https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/?ref=ejstoo or https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ejstoo
You can also find us on: