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The Meaning of Menopause: Part Of My Identitiy

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Over the course of our adult lives, women get somewhat attached to our cycle. It's part of us; we operate our lives on this cycle. At some point this cycle changes and we know what it means for our bodies but what does it mean to our identity?

It takes us a few years to learn how to live in harmony with our cycles and many times wish we could get rid of it. It does, however, remind us that we are the life line for the next generation. It reminds us of what power we hold.

It's also part of our identity sexually. I always identified myself as a powerful, sexy diva. I very much embraced that as part of my identity as a woman. I had no idea how much my hormonal balance was a big deal and made all that possible.

When I entered into menopause at 43, I wasn't ready to give up that part of my identity. Rather than feel like a sexy diva, I felt like a wreck. Not only did I feel like a wreck, but I felt cheated. I was supposed to have another few years before I entered into menopause...right? I felt like a young woman in an old woman's body. I saw the signs of rapid aging, my skin was different, I put on a few pounds and things were operating differently sexually.

For a couple of months I felt depressed about it. I wasn't prepared mentally for it. I was physically drained and it was physically painful. I acknowledged the change and came to the point where I decided that my body doesn't change my identity. I drive my health and I decided to do something.

I had aligned myself with some good people who were interested in a natural approach to health. Yoga was a good place for info and so was my chiropractor. My chiropractor told me about a compounding pharmacy and I started from there. I educated myself on what was happening to my body, I found Web sites like EmpowHer.com, I found some good books and I went to seminars.

Once I got everything back in balance physically, I could sort out the emotions and the meaning. I could have let this event take me out. I couldn't change the event. I couldn't change the outcome. What I could change was how I felt about it and what it meant. Rather than feeling depressed and old, I felt totally energized. When I got my physical energy back, I realized how free I was. I felt released from this cycle that drove my life. That was so powerful for me.

I am now in a season of discovery. I find that I am able to take care of my own needs without guilt and I am more willing to do things for myself. I still take care of the things my family needs but I feel like I have myself back. I can focus on things in life that I love and haven't touched in years. I started writing; I have two blogs. I also bought myself a sketch pad and started drawing again, and I have started learning golf. I'm also getting out and meeting other women. I have a message for women and I aim to show them how wonderfully free I am now.

In life, when an event happens, we get to pick what it means. Menopause could have meant I was old and past it, and I could have stayed depressed about it, but I chose for it to mean freedom and a whole new life and vitality. My body doesn't determine my identity. I do.

Add a Comment12 Comments

I loved what you said about the renewal that comes with menopause. I still feel like my body is integral to who I am, since I live a great deal through my senses. But now, instead of being a fertile woman, I am a witch, with all the magic that implies.

March 22, 2011 - 8:37am

'Surgical Menopause' is a drastic situation. It makes natural menopause seem like a dream. For those of you women who have gone through this process or change the way God intended; thank him. Thank God that you escaped the 'hysterectomy mill'. There are over two million women in the U.S. walking around with their female organs amputated. These women know the meaning of hell on earth. I should know. I'm one of them.

July 11, 2010 - 6:50pm
(reply to Jiggaz31)

I am so sorry. Can you explain more what you are going through, both physically, mentally, emotionally, to describe a hysterectomy as your "female organs being amputated" and that you know the "meaning of hell on earth"?

July 11, 2010 - 8:13pm
(reply to Alison Beaver)

I was a happy healthy 46 yr old woman who looked and felt 35. I was hysterectomized and castrated without my consent in September 2007. I had no female problems. I have learned that many women end up with their female sex organs removed without their consent so my story is not unusual. I woke up from surgery a different person. I developed cataracts within five month of my surgery; losing much of my vision. I went from having the eyes of a 40 yr. old to having the eyes of a 70 yr. old according to my eye doctor. Our lenses have to have estrogen to see. My bladder, bowels and intestines have all become displaced since my pelvic support is gone. The bladder sits in front of the uterus and the bowels sit behind it. Once the uterus is removed, all other pelvic organs become displaced. I urinate at least six times an hour if I'm lucky enough not to urinate on myself which does happen because I have lost all feeling in my vaginal area. My vagina was shortened and sewn into a closed pocket as is done with all vaginal hysterectomies. I have no sexuality whatsoever now. I am completely dead sexually and was very sexual before my surgery. My vagina completely atrophied within eight months and began turning inside out. I have chronic fatigue and terrible lower back pain, muscle and joint pain. I have thyroid problems because our thyroid gland has estrogen receptors. I have memory loss because our brains have estrogen receptors. I now have very high blood pressure due to loss of hormones from uterus and ovaries which protect our heart. I have had insomnia for three years now. I have suicidal depression since the surgery. I have attempted many times to kill myself. I could go on and on and on. There is no end to the mutilation, destruction and devastation to the body, mind and soul due to hysterectomy. Over 600,000 women a year are hysterectomized in the U.S. and 74% of those women are castrated (ovaries removed). I am now sick, disabled and homeless. I recently testified in Frankfort KY about proposing legislation that would truly inform women of the consequences of hysterectomy such as heart disease and Parkinson's disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of American women (more than all cancers combined). A Cardiologist in NY recently went on the record saying "Doctors who remove a woman's female sex organs are giving women heart attacks". This is very serious. I have a web site at www.hysterectomyconsequences.com if you want to read more information about menopause and hysterectomy.

July 12, 2010 - 7:17pm

I recently was prescribed Neurontin for nerve damage to the right side of my face. I was shocked to read that it has been reported to help hot flashes. Effexor XR had run the gamut with me. My husband takes blood thinners and is cold all the time. You can imagine how it goes every night. I always bring an ice bag to bed with me and put in on the small of my back.

Since the start of Neurontin no hot flashes. Knock on wood. I only have one fan on low on my side of the bed. It's hard to balance everything with my family, but we will get through it.

July 11, 2010 - 2:40pm

I highly recommend the bioidentical. Do a saliva test, it's more accurate.

July 7, 2009 - 7:41pm

I wonder what sort of HRT you went with alysiak. Did you get your adrenals tested? Taking an adrenal supplement did a world of good for me and the hot flashes.

July 7, 2009 - 6:04pm
(reply to CharlotteSal)

Thanks for your input! I did have a test done, but that was years ago. I also tried a soy-based product, but that didn't bode well. My doctor thinks that I should try again, perhaps with a bio-identical, this time. :))

July 7, 2009 - 6:52pm

I actually looked forward to menopause. The only trouble I've had is that I haven't responded well to HRT. My DH's trouble has been with my hot flashes, LOL! Sometimes, though, that can be a rather funny experience.

July 7, 2009 - 5:23pm
EmpowHER Guest

We agree that menopause does not mean that your life is over. It simply is a natural part of life and there are plenty of ways of dealing with it. At BodyLogicMD we believe that a combination of bioidentical hormone therapy, nutrition, and fitness are the perfect way to help a woman get back to her old self.

[personal website removed by Moderator per posting guidelines]

July 7, 2009 - 2:51pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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