79 In Wellness

My So-Called Perimenopause

Menopause Slider photo

Menopause.  It has always seemed very theoretical to me… something that might happen to me many years from now, if at all.  I know in my head this isn’t realistic, but rather that silly human trait of believing we are invincible, like teenagers. For example, I had a very easy (actually enjoyable) pregnancy and a perfectly healthy child at 43.  I remember the horror that the doctor MUST have gotten something wrong when I read the term “Geriatric Maternal Age” written on my medical file, in red ink, like a danger warning.  It struck me then, that in medical terms, I was just a statistical point on the lucky outermost edge of the bell curve. A good skincare and fitness regime might keep the outside looking youthful and healthy, but ovaries don’t lie. They staunchly refuse to participate in my personal Peter Pan complex.

I’m not in menopause yet.  I’m in that ambiguous stage called perimenopause, which can last for 6 months or 6 years. Usually, perimenopause is much more disruptive than menopause, because your hormones are fluctuating so wildly, whereas everything starts to settle down in menopause (she says, crossing her fingers). Here’s what’s been happening to me…

Several months ago, I started having severe heart palpitations and dizziness.  The palpitations only happened during the night, never in the day.  The dizziness was random; it struck at any time.   I went to a few doctors, had ECGs, wore a heart monitor, was sent to heart specialists, and to make a long story short, there is nothing sinister happening, I just have severe heart arrhythmia at night.  Also, it was discovered during my heart investigations that I have Long QT Syndrome  (an uncommon condition where the heart takes longer to recharge between beats).  This has nothing to do with my night time arrhythmia or dizziness, apparently.  In conjunction with palpitations and dizziness, I’ve also had extreme (for me) anxiety.  Let me tell you, the best way to go straight from garden-variety ‘Anxiety’ to full-blown ‘Panic Attack’ is to have some strong heart palpitations at 2 a.m. on top of a heart condition diagnosis (google Long QT Syndrome, you’ll see why).

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve found it really difficult to get back into my groove.  I chalked it up to being behind after being away for so long at Christmas, but I knew it was more than that.  Now it is February, and my mojo is getting worse, not better.  My brain feels like it is encased in fog. I’m extremely forgetful. I miss appointments which are clearly written in my diary. I forgot to pick up my son from school recently. I lose keys. I lose parking tickets. I can’t remember which day of the week it is (ok, I genuinely never knew that anyway).  In conversation, I struggle to find words, remember names, or I completely forget a train of thought mid-sentence.  Now some of this sounds like basic ageing for sure, but mine seems to have come on quite suddenly in the last couple of months.   I have to write EVERYTHING down, because I can’t trust my brain right now.

This brain fog has really shaken me.  It has affected my confidence and my self-perception.  Being clever, having a good memory, and not doing stupid flaky things is part of my identity.  It is who I am, who I’ve always been.  I am a person who worked on trading floors for 20 years, trading bonds and currencies out to four decimal places and never ever making mistakes.  Oh sure, I made bad decisions or called the markets completely wrong, but in my whole career, I never made a single ‘human error’ kind of mistake.  I’m a details girl. I quadruple check things. Twice. When I had my son, I even had spreadsheets that I (or anyone looking after my son) had to fill in for his eating/drinking/sleeping schedule. Everyone thought I was crazy, but to someone who is comforted by details and data, it worked.  I don’t let anything fall through the cracks. However, my brain is so foggy right now that I don’t know what important thing I’ll forget next, but I know for sure that it will happen.

Another thing I have been experiencing is a bizarre all over physical numbness.  My whole body feels dizzy.  It comes and goes, but it is a weird out-of-it feeling, like my whole body is blurry and fuzzy.  I have this vibrating sensation that there are two copies of me which aren’t aligned with each other and are trying to get in sync.

The last symptom I’ve been experiencing is a seriously short temper.  I’m short tempered by nature anyway, but this is next level.  I refuse for my son to have a mother who loses her shit over everyday events, so I started doing some research into my symptoms so I could figure out what to do about them.

For the past few months, I have honestly wondered whether I was going nuts. Or was developing dementia. Or maybe both.  I’ve had to find very creative excuses for my extreme forgetfulness.  I’ve almost felt a bit fraudulent for making up socially-acceptable reasons to wallpaper over events which I was convinced were the onset of my spiral into insanity.

Last year, my friend Michelle wrote a post about menopause and perimenopause, and I went back to re-read it.  I remembered her mentioning anxiety attacks and describing the weird, fuzzy, ‘out of body’ feeling that I am having. I described my symptoms to her, and she immediately knew that I was in perimenopause.  Once you enter actual menopause, some of these symptoms go away.  Now that I’ve done lots of research and educated myself on this topic, I am so relieved to find that I am just perimenopausal and not going barking mad.  In fact, my symptoms are quite common, they’re just not the ones people talk about, like hot flushes. Here is what I’ve learned:

A drop in oestrogen makes it hard for the body to regulate blood vessels and blood pressure, so that is causing my heart palpitations and dizziness.

A decrease in progesterone (our ‘calming hormone’) causes my anxiety and panic attacks.

Fluctuations in oestrogen and testosterone make it hard to concentrate, wreak havoc on your memory, and influence your mood.  My memory is shot and my temper is short.

Most people have terrible insomnia in perimenopause. I’ve had insomnia since the day I was born, so my sleep is actually better during my perimenopause.  This is because of the fatigue that goes along with fluctuating hormones (similar to pregnancy).  I don’t have hot flushes.  I’ve been hot-natured my entire life, and now I’m cold all the time.

For the time being, I’m going the natural route.  I’ll try the usual recommended supplements to see if they do anything before exploring HRT.  Before I figured all of this out, I cried myself to sleep, worried and anxious about how my son would cope with his mother losing her mind while he’s still so young.  Tonight, I sat at the dinner table with him, feeling happy and content, when out of nowhere, snakes of anxiety start to writhe and constrict in my stomach.  Armed with the knowledge that this is ‘just menopause’, I can exhale and view it as a difficult weather pattern which will pass.  I’m ok with that.  I’ll have several days at a stretch where I feel perfectly normal and then a few days where something shifts and I really don’t feel like myself at all.  I suppose this is my new normal for a while.

The reason I’m putting all of this on the blog is that if it weren’t for Michelle’s post last year, I would have absolutely no idea what is happening to me.  Her post was instrumental to me figuring out where to start looking for answers.  Maybe my post will help someone else with this on their horizon. I love blogs for the support and information that you don’t find elsewhere. Why, when a 48 year old woman presents symptoms of dizziness and palpitations (2 of the top symptoms of menopause), did none of the (many) doctors I saw suggest or even breathe the word menopause?  I can’t remember any magazine article I’ve ever read mentioning it… only more ways to sell products for hot flushes, yet my symptoms are not unusual.  Why does no one talk about it?  None of my friends who’ve been through menopause ever mentioned any symptoms like mine. Maybe there is some fear and shame around the alarming mental aspect.  I mean, who wants to broadcast that they’re becoming a crazy old lady?  Of the lists of menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms that I’ve read, I have none of them other than the ones I’ve listed above. So far, my monthly cycle is as regular as a Swiss train, so I never suspected anything menopausal, but my doctors certainly should have.

I’ve ordered three things to help me along the perimenopause path.  I’ll read these two books: One by Liz Earle, and one by Christiane Northrup. And I’ve ordered this supplement to take.  From my research, the ingredients in Pukka Womankind are the ones that I most need for my particular symptoms.  They do make one specifically for menopause, but I’m not there yet.  I adore everything the Pukka brand does (especially their teas). I’ll let you know how it works for me after I use it for a few weeks or months and can evaluate it properly.

Since I’ve had to play doctor to diagnose my ‘condition’, I’m going to also write myself a prescription, alongside the Pukka supplement.  Here it is:

Sleep– Good sleep is crucial during perimenopause; I’m enforcing a strict 10:00 curfew on myself, no matter what.  No blog post, no email, or no news item is more important than my sleep at the moment.  One bad night can literally ruin my next day because fatigue opens me up to the panic and irritability that overwhelm me right now.

Gratitude List– I’m going to say, out loud, every day, five things that I am grateful for.  I used to do this as a nightly practice, and I need to resume it.  Gratitude chases away all manner of ills.  Grateful hearts find it hard to be anxious or negative.

Phone a friend– I have been a little withdrawn from some friends because I’ve been fearful of exposing my craziness. I’ve also simply not been in the frame of mind to make plans in advance when panic can descend on me unexpectedly.  Friendship and social connection make happier and longer-living humans, especially for women.

Cutting Caffeine– I’m going to cut down on my caffeine to help with the sleep and anxiety/panic issues.  This is HARD since coffee is my new sugar.  I’ve done this for five days now and it seems to be helping (unfortunately!).

Mandatory meditation– I tend to skip meditating if I go to bed late, but no more.  I raved about the Calm App here. When I meditate before bed time, I have much better quality sleep; right now I have to make this a priority.  My body needs it. The Calm App even has a meditation series on anxiety that I am working my way through.

Therapy Animal– I got a bunny rabbit (or my second child, as friends call him). It is hard to be anxious when you are petting a soft, adorable, entertaining little creature like this.  Some people get a sports car for their midlife crisis, I got a black otter mini-Rex bunny rabbit.

Therapy rabbitBalthazar, the Sequinist whisperer

I do wonder how perimenopause feels to a killer whale or a short-finned pilot whale… they are the only other animals on this planet besides humans to go through menopause (throw that into conversation at your next book club).  Do they swim in anxious circles or have fits of irritation and rage?  As I keep saying, I’m just so grateful and relived to be perimenopausal since I thought it was something much worse.  My usual programming will resume, colour and sequins will be worn.  I may be (temporarily) losing my marbles, but I am keeping my style. If you have any tips or advice on this stage of life, like my bunny rabbit, I’m all ears. xx


linking to: fakefabulousnotdressedaslamb

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  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 1:29 PM

    Lisa, I’m surprised (and at the same time, not) that none of your doctors suggested perimenopause. You are right at “that” age. I had similar issues, then menopause began around 51 for me. I treated myself with OTC remedies, since my mother and her sister both were on HRT and both developed breast cancer post-menopausally. This was with the cooperation of my doctor…I took one soy supplement and one with black cohosh…the combination helped.

    Now I am WAY past those days…most of the symptoms are gone, but, unfortunately, the memory (not knowing words or names) has not improved. Good luck on this new journey!

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 1:47 PM

      Yes, me too. It seems SO OBVIOUS in hindsight. Most of the doctors I saw were men, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for something so fundamental. 50% of the population goes through this, so they should have a basic knowledge. I’m sorry to hear that the not knowing words or names hasn’t improved; I was hoping that would be restored! Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m reading up on soy and black cohosh at the moment! xx

  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 1:56 PM

    Lisa, I’m sorry to hear you’re suffering from perimenopause.

    Over the years, I’ve seen some women get sorted out after consulting with good endocrinologists. Sadly, I’ve also seen others get completely screwed up and wrongly medicated by other endocrinologists, MDs, non-MDs, various witch doctors, and even multi-level marketing sales schemes.

    Unfortunately, perimenopause and menopause don’t present cookie-cutter-style among friends or even sisters. One woman may suffer badly from insomnia, another from hot flashes, a third from depression, a fourth from all of the above, a fifth from auto-immune disease(s), etc.

    In my case (which I throw into your “wisdom of crowds” database, not because I assume you suffer from this phenomenon), while I was briefly taking hormone replacement therapy I discovered that I had an extreme, negative reaction to progesterone. Specifically, within half an hour of taking progesterone (prescribed for several days each month) I went on incredibly bad trips (yes, like those kinds of bad trips). For several hours after taking the medication I was unable to speak. I know how bizarre that sounds, and it was. Needless to say, I didn’t take that medication for very long.

    You’re doing exactly what you must do — listen to YOUR body, which may not respond to recommended treatments in expected ways. Keep researching these issues. Look for smarter, better doctors. Be as kind as possible to yourself. And use your amazing human superpowers — learn, adjust, and adapt. You have those powers in abundance.

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 2:20 PM

      So much good information here, thank you Ann! Menopauase seems to be like a fingerprint, everyone is completely unique and responds so differently to the delicate (and complicated!) levels of hormones in our bodies.

      It is interesting you mention your progesterone intolerance. When I was pregnant, I had a specific kind of migraine that starts with ‘transient aphasia.’ Basically, you can’t process any of the words you’re hearing, and you can’t speak at all. I was told that it is caused by pregnancy hormones, so progesterone may have been the cause of that. If what you experienced was similar to what I had, I know just how disconcerting that is! I’m going to do everything possible NOT to have HRT unless/until I really really need it. My body responds so strangely to medication anyway, so I’d rather try everything else first.

      It will be an interesting journey to see what works for my body and what doesn’t. Honestly, just knowing that I’m not crackers is such a big weight off of my mind that I feel like I can take on anything. I started on the Pukka supplements today, and I’ve been going to the gym regularly, which always keeps my endorphins topped up and anxiety at bay. The extra sleep is also working wonders for the last few days. Love to you xx

      • Reply
        February 28, 2018 at 4:26 PM

        Lisa, wow! I’d never heard of ‘transient aphasia’. That’s exactly what happened to me. So much we (I) don’t know! So much to learn!

        And yes, enough sleep and exercise (in that order) are some of the best ‘drugs’ in the world. xoxo

        • Reply
          February 28, 2018 at 8:45 PM

          Transient Aphasia is a trip. A trip I’d like to never take again! Totally agree about sleep and exercise; I’m rigorous about scheduling both into my life right now. xx

  • Reply
    Suzy Turner
    February 28, 2018 at 2:29 PM

    I’ve been having insane heart palpitation for the past five months or so too. I’ve been to a doctor and she prescribed some horrendous tablets to take for my stomach! I stopped taking them after three days because they gave me horrible stomach ache and really affected my digestion. I sleep really badly too – I wonder if I might be heading into perimenopause? I know I might be a bit young (42) but I have read it can happen at my age. Next time I go to see the doctor, I will ask her. Or, having said that, maybe I should go see someone else!
    This is such a brilliant post for anyone thinking they might be heading into that stage of their lives, Lisa. So thank you for writing it!
    Suzy xx

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 2:36 PM

      Your symptoms sure sound like they could be perimenopause; my first symptoms were palpitations and dizziness. Google some articles with your symptoms and ‘perimenopause’ and see what you can find. I have a friend who started her menopause at age 30, so it varies greatly from person to person. Keep me posted, Suzy! See what your doctor (or a new one) says. I’m so glad you liked the article. xx

  • Reply
    Mithra Ballesteros
    February 28, 2018 at 2:34 PM

    It is a miracle. Between Parenthood, work pressures, post-modern life with all its disturbing accessories, and of course all the destructive self-hatred spewed by our inner voice – I can’t believe the headlines aren’t full of stories of more “mature women” committing atrocities. But no, we suffer quietly, swallowing our anger, hating ourselves, waiting for it to pass. Years go by. Still waiting.

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 2:51 PM

      It has ever been thus, hasn’t it? xx

  • Reply
    eva@ mesientodeveinte
    February 28, 2018 at 2:41 PM

    I had zero symptoms and yet had to start HRT. When I went to the gynecologist for the yearly visit he informed me that I have a severe case of osteopenia just on the back bone. “You could have 1000mg of calcium a day and your body will not absorb any of it, because you need certain hormones your body is not producing anymore”. I felt then like I had to decide whether to risk developing cancer later on or keep losing bone density by the hour..It was really hard to decide to start HRT because I always said I wasn’t going to take any hormones at all.

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 2:55 PM

      Wow, that’s surprising. The balance of hormones and what they do and how they interact with each other is fascinating… and scary! From what I’m reading, the modern HRT is better than it was several years ago. Apparently Liz Earle (the book I’ve ordered) is a big fan of modern HRT. It sounds like your body made the choice for you; you gotta have calcium. xx

  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 2:47 PM

    I do sympathise. I am way past the menopause now but do well remember the perimenopause stage. I had similar symotoms to the ones you describe. In those days doctors did not have much of a clue and I was finally given antidepressants (not the answer). I think dorctors are a bit more enlightened today and in my experience you have to percevere to get what you need. I finally went privately and got bio identical HRT which solved most symptoms. Arrythmia is definitely scary especially at night. I also found accupuncture quite helpful but it depends what suits you.

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 2:58 PM

      Actually, Josephine, acupuncture is a great idea. I hadn’t thought of that, but it worked brilliantly for me during my pregnancy and I am lucky to have found a very very gifted one in London. I’ll definitely pay her a visit. She knows what is wrong with my by just taking my pulse! I’m glad HRT worked so well for you; it is good to hear so many women have a positive experience with it. xx

  • Reply
    Anastasia Nicole
    February 28, 2018 at 3:23 PM

    The joys of being a woman right. I watched my mom go through this 7-8 years ago and was surprised by how in the dark doctors can be about perimenopause, and menopause in general. One doctor kept pushing her to take antidepressants, which were not the answer at all. Another had her on a soy supplement that was intensifying her symptoms. It wasn’t until she did her own research that she found supplements and strategies that worked. You’d think with all of the advanced in modern medicine they’d have it figured by now.

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 3:55 PM

      The joys, indeed. I’m also surprised at how badly it is handled. Like everything else, you just have to figure this shizzle out yourself, because nobody has your best interest at heart and no one knows your own body as well as you do. I’ve even learned all about ‘nervines’ something I’d never even heard of before, in an effort to address my wacky symptoms. xx

  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 3:38 PM

    Hi Lisa, thanks for sharing. I’m going through the insomnia and at times forgetfulness and feeling tired and suspect that I am perimenopausal but haven’t got around to getting a blood test to confirm it as yet. I guess that is next on the list and then seeing what options are open. I will look forward to hearing how you get on.

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 3:51 PM

      Hmmm, it sounds like you could be, but a blood test would be the surest way to confirm it isn’t something else, like anaemia. I’ll keep you posted, for sure! xx

  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 5:02 PM

    Perimenopause is so frustrating – the brain goes fuzzy and sleep becomes unreliable just when there is a medical mystery that needs to be solved!
    I am on the other side of it now – it was a long haul. At 64 my remaining symptom is a hot flash once or twice a day.
    HRT for a year or two did nothing to relieve my symptoms. In fact, I finally decided they were just teasing out the torture by extending perimenopause.
    I gave up on male doctors early in life and have always used women, but if the doctor hasn’t experienced perimenopause herself, it is still difficult to communicate how confusing and weird the symptoms are.
    Friends in the same boat were an invaluable source of shared experiences and strategies. (Yoga!)
    For myself, it finally came down to mindfulness- recognizing the symptoms as a temporary imbalance and moving through it.

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 8:50 PM

      Yes, exactly! When we need our resources the most, they leave us! My meditation is really helping with the mindfulness aspect like your yoga seemed to… I observe my reaction, and know the impermanence of it. It will ALLLL pass.

      I’ve also been adamant about having mostly women doctors, but my closest and most convenient medical practice is round-robin style. You never know which GP you’ll get. For this issue, I need to insist on a woman doctor though. Interesting that HRT did nothing for you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge! xx

  • Reply
    Heide Villeseche
    February 28, 2018 at 5:08 PM

    Oh my goodness, now I have two very big thank yous for you….first, I ordered the Bitch Perfect lipstick because I’ve been searching for a peachy nude for a long time, IT’S PERFECT <3 . Secondly, I had no idea my dizzy episodes are also a peri menopausal thing!! I know I'm in peri menopause, and it's caused high blood pressure, had no idea that those short bursts of dizziness were also a symptom….THANK YOU!! Wishing you much success with the supplements you're trying, and know that you are making a difference for other women out there too 🙂

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 8:53 PM

      Oh Heide! I’m so pleased you like Bitch Perfect; isn’t it PERFECT?!? The dizziness was one of the first things I went to the doctor about because it was so random. I didn’t get it when I stood up from sitting or lying down, I’d just get it out of the blue, which was alarming. Thank you, I wish you much success in your perimenopause. Let me know anything that you try that works well! Thank you also for your kind comments. xx

  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 5:32 PM

    I’ve had a fingers-in-ears approach to the menopause, but lately I’ve been wondering if I’m perimenopausal. I’ve been quite forgetful at times, but then I was anyway – I blame it on trying to do/remember too many things at once. I am tired a lot though, and certainly have no trouble sleeping. I often have a daytime nap when I’m not working! The menopause feels like a voyage into the unknown, I really don’t know what to expect. I can’t help feeling a little bit sad that it means I won’t have another child, even though we haven’t tried for one. I just don’t like having options taken away from me. Men have it much easier in that respect.

    Emma xxx

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 8:55 PM

      Yeah, I also blamed it on being over-scheduled and having a young child who is a priority over everything else, so my shizzle just slips to the back burner. It is worth checking out, just to be prepared, but keep vigilant for any other symptoms that might arise. Menopause does feel like a voyage into the unknown, especially since it seems to be SO DIFFERENT for everyone. xx

  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 5:46 PM

    Lisa, I can relate to you on many levels. The only difference is that I have to add hot flashes to my experience. I’ve had the air conditioning on full blast in my car in the middle of -5 degree weather. I sweat to the point that my reader glasses fog up when I’m at work. Insomnia, anxiety, short temper and brain fog and extreme fatigue are all a big part as well. Thanks for writing about your woes. Even though it doesn’t change anything, it’s comforting knowing so many are going through the same things.

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 8:58 PM

      Oh gosh, your hot flashes sound really intense! Poor you. I feel you on the anxiety, short temper, brain fog and fatigue for sure. Let me know if you try any remedies that work for your hot flashes, in case I have those on my horizon. I’m incredulous that I’ve not had them because I’m so hot natured. Wishing you long cool drinks and cold breezes xx

  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 6:02 PM

    I hear you Sister! And welcome to the club of the Crazy menopausal ladies 😉 I have never yelled, thrown stuff or lost it altogether than now at menopause. I don’t mean to scare you but for me it’s been the worst roller-coaster of my life. And I’m sorry to add at this point but there are no drugs that will ease any of this craziness. Not even HRT. Or thyroid hormones. Or steroids. Or maybe it’s just me who’s particular unlucky? Could be. As I write this I’m having the worst Streptococcus infection ever, with super high fever, numb body, dizziness, hives etc. What I noticed is that menopause completely wrecked havoc my immune system, it’s overreacting all the time. I’m sorry to sound so negative, but no matter what people say about menopause there’s just so much more stuff that’s not covered anywhere. I hope Lisa that you’re at the order end of the spectrum with way milder symptoms and that you’ll find a way to adjust your HRT well. …On the positive side, I’m absolutely in love with your bunny. He’s the cutest! I’ve never actually seen black ones, so that’s really special. He’s so velvety, so royal! Missing you and sending you lots of hugs and health above all. Love xx Abby

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 9:04 PM

      Oh Abby, I think you are the High Priestess on this topic, honestly! I remember yours stared so early for you too. You’re right, there is so much more that happens that doesn’t seem to be addressed in medicine. Your immune system has been such a drag on your life; I hope at some point very VERY soon you just age right out of all of this. It seems so unfair. Surely this can’t keep going on forever?!?

      Is the bun bun adorable? We’re all pretty besotted with him at home. You can’t believe how bossy and opinionated he is. Love and hugs and health to you too, gorgeous. xx

  • Reply
    No Fear of Fashion
    February 28, 2018 at 8:03 PM

    I am stupefied. My goodness… little old you, being lovely and sequined, getting a bunny, having a lovely husband and an adorable child. And now this?!? It must be like being hit by a train. I sympathise with you. What shook me most was the diagnose Long QT Syndrome. I did Google it. Oh my. You don’t mention it anymore, but are you taking anything to “calm that down”? I can fully understand how you got panic attacks when you had nightly heart palpitations.
    As for perimenopause, I never had it. Michelle’s posts on that phenomenon really surprised me. I had never heard of it before. And we Dutch do talk a lot about strange subjects. Although… menopause? Hmm not that much. My friend Pat did with me (she was a great believer of taking hormones after she tried everything under the sun).
    I only had about 4 hot flashes every day (daytime, not trouble at night), which lasted about a year. Then a year of nothing and again half a year but only 1 or 2 hot flashes during the daytime. No forgetfulness, no tantrums, no swing moods. Now I realize how lucky I have been.
    I hope you can find a good balance, stuff that works for you. Apparently you are already finding remedies. And yes, it must be very relieving to know you are not going mad.
    PS, coffee does not disturb my sleep. Strange right?

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 8:44 PM

      First, I am SO jealous that coffee doesn’t disturb your sleep! It disturbs everything about me, but it also provides a big hit to my dopamine receptors (ridiculously addictive) but after going off sugar, I didn’t care much… that is, until this recent issue.

      Yeah, it was all pretty upsetting, and I know I’ll get it sorted, even if that means I just get through it as best as I can. Since I won’t be in the nuthouse, I’m pretty grateful. I’m not too worried about the Long QT syndrome, either. I am being closely monitored, and according to a top heart doctor here, I’m just that one unlucky person who has it but isn’t affected badly by it. It doesn’t seem to run in my family. Still, before I knew that, I stopped going to cardio classes at gym. There isn’t really a medication to take for it.

      You’re so lucky you never had any drastic symptoms from perimenopause… very lucky indeed. xx

  • Reply
    melissa williams
    February 28, 2018 at 8:37 PM

    A thousand times yes! Thanks for putting this out there Lisa and if I ever get my act together again, I’m going to piggy back on this post with my own update. I’m sorry you have been suffering with this, I’m right there with ya. You’ve gotten some great advice here, and I’ll throw what has helped me into the pot as well. I have gone the herbal route and so far so good. I take DIM supplement (used by body builders for ages because it removes EXCESS estrogen from the body. Progesterone cream- 1/4 tsp daily rubbed into the skin (I still can’t believe this works for me- but the difference is night/day) and a handful of really good, high quality vitamins and supplements (Dr. Weil and Goop both have good quality supplements that are prepackaged into daily doses for peri-menopausal women). And of course, the whole exercise, nutrition piece but I know you’re all over that. This is such a great post- and I’m so happy that you have Michelle! (And I’m happy that you’re both writing, so I have you BOTH!, lol Many thanks.)

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 9:36 PM

      Yes, I’d love LOVE to hear more of your experience on this; you and I are such kindred spirits in our viewpoints on health and beauty, that is for sure. I’m googling your supplements now and I’ll discuss the cream with my doctor. I miss your posts! xx

  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 8:50 PM

    It strikes me as really unfair that women’s bodies go through such huge changes. We need more stamina, strength and restful sleep, and those are the very things our bodies deny us. Worse? All the symptoms I’ve had in perimenopause and since my hysterectomy are identical to symptoms of other health problems. Getting proper treatment means weaving through a labyrinth of other possible causes and treatment options before anyone suggests that it’s all interconnected and hormone related. Sigh.

    Thanks for speaking up, every little bit helps. I do hate this vibrating feeling I get. On top of everything else, it’s so annoying not to just rest.

    Oh, and your advice on Bright Line Eating has helped me lose and keep off more than ten pounds so far. I’d begun to think that extra weight would never budge. Thanks for that too.

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 9:16 PM

      The WHOLE palaver feels unfair. Do the killer whales feel this? I NEED TO KNOW! You’re so right about the symptoms being identical to other things. It leads to so much confusion, and not getting the right treatment, and having to do even MORE trial and error to get to the bottom of things. Lord, that vibrating feeling is THE. WORST. I was reading my son a bedtime story tonight when that started. I’m glad to know what it actually is now, but it is very very unsettling.

      I’m thrilled the Bright Line Eating is still going so well for you! From everything I’ve read, cutting out sugar, flour, and booze are great for us in perimenopause, so I hate to think what my symptoms would be if I weren’t. Hugs to you, Anna xx

      • Reply
        March 3, 2018 at 2:56 PM

        Oh, and my OBGYN assured me that the vibration feeling wasn’t due to the estrogen I take. If not that, what? Ugh. So uncomfortable. Still, life is better since I got to quit progesterone. Whew.

        • Reply
          March 3, 2018 at 8:49 PM

          Well if it isn’t oestrogen, I wonder what it is? Maybe just fluctuations rather than actual levels of oestrogen? Hmmmm. Whatever causes it, I sure have it. Interesting that the progesterone just didn’t work for you, while many love the progesterone cream. xx

          • Anna
            March 6, 2018 at 4:02 AM

            My OB-GYN’s original advice was to take progesterone and estrogen at bedtime, but I figured out that the progesterone was the culprit keeping me wide awake for at least five hours after I took it. Never tried the creams, though. Now? I’ve figured out that taking estrogen too early in the evening means I wake wide awake in the early hours. I’ve been experimenting with it right at bedtime, and so far so good.

          • Lisa
            March 6, 2018 at 1:01 PM

            That’s very good information, Anna, thank you. I bet someone reading this will have exactly your issue with sleep and hormones! I’m glad you figured out something that works for you. xx

  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 10:22 PM

    Apparently killer whales are one of the few other animals that experience the menopause as humans do,don’t know how they feel about it though!There was a very good programme on radio 4about this a few months ago don’t know if it’s still available as a podcast.

    • Reply
      March 1, 2018 at 3:02 PM

      I’ll definitely go look this up, thank you Kathy! I love Radio4. xx

  • Reply
    Virginia Daffron
    March 1, 2018 at 3:31 AM

    Lisa, I hate to hear about this for two reasons: 1. It’s happening to you; 2. That means it could also happen to me!

    I don’t think you should totally discount the having a young child/facing challenging personal decisions/working hard to be a successful social media thought leader stresses. Even losing weight is a big stressor. It seems like there are lots of factors that could contribute to your body struggling to be in balance, especially at our age.

    One symptom you mention that I’m certainly experiencing is the losing a word phenomenon, which is quite inconvenient in my newish career as a newspaper editor. Argh! Words are my thing and I love them. I really don’t like not being able to find the one I want.

    I had to cut out coffee (and caffeine of all kinds) after my one and only morning cup. That did it for the insomnia problems that had been worsening for me.

    To use a British-ism, the symptoms you describe sound pure rubbish. I’m hoping for changes large and small that bring you relief. Have you tried or considered CBD oil? I take it and generally feel it is doing me a lot of good (for sleep, mood and digestion).


    • Reply
      March 1, 2018 at 3:06 PM

      Yes, I’m sure you’re right. Maybe my symptoms are more pronounced because of my stress profile, but maybe I’d still be losing my mind even without those, who knows!?

      The losing words issue is just horrible. Like you, I’m a lover of words, and when I can’t find the right one it really frustrates me. It is a awful for a blogger as for a newspaper editor, I’m sure!

      CBD oil is such a great idea; I hadn’t considered it, but I will definitely add it into my handful of daily supplements. Hugs back to you! xx

  • Reply
    Heather Harja
    March 1, 2018 at 5:13 AM

    Thank you for your post. It’s sad that women don’t share this experience with others. They keep it to themselves. I’m an odd one in that I started peri-menopause at 33 with hot flashes, palpitations, tachycardia, insomnia, odd abdominal pain like being punched in the stomach, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, memory problems, and fatigue. But I’m 49 and still not done yet. Periods are still super regular. I was tested for everything. Diagnosed with a ton of BS diagnoses. Given drugs for heart, depression and anxiety…only to have them make things worse with side effects. Even ended up with surgeries I didn’t need.

    I finally gave up on docs. Started tracking my symptoms on a period tracker. Started googling odd symptoms with ovulation or PMS. What I found was very reassuring. There is nothing physically wrong with me despite docs telling me I had things I didn’t because they didn’t know anything about peri-menopause. I now do. I now know for me, sleep is a must. And I need more than usual because my hormones make me feel like I have to pee several times a night. Or I just wake and get up to stretch and figure, WTH, I guess I will pee and go back to bed. I moved to the mountains for calmness and serenity. I ski and snowboard for exercise. I don’t see docs because I know my blood pressure and heart rate will be high and I don’t want them overreacting and trying to throw drugs at me. I eat right. Take simple vitamins. And most of all, I listen to my body.

    Somehow we all will get thru it.

    • Reply
      March 1, 2018 at 3:18 PM

      Yes, I’m really fascinated by WHY women keep it to themselves. On a private Facebook fashion page I post in, the idea of shame came up. Men, and other women who aren’t in that phase of life, are often very insensitive to the issue.

      What a pity you were misdiagnosed with so many things, and SURGERY too??

      Your approach really seems like the way forward. As much as people scoff at the idea of diagnosing your medical conditions with Google, it SURE HAS BEEN helpful to all of us, hasn’t it? It helped me put so many of the pieces together. We’re all smart and grown up enough to be able to figure out what is quack science and what is helpful or rings true for us. I’m so inspired by your intuitive knowledge of your body and the lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms and happiness. Thank you for sharing what is working so well for you. xx

  • Reply
    March 1, 2018 at 7:43 AM

    Oh, perimenopause is the worst! It was like adolescence all over again for me. The good news is that menopause is a huge improvement; you just have to get over that hump. And doctors really don’t recognize the weird symptoms – I told my doctor that along with hot flashes I was having burning-hot FEET. (I mean, I’d be sitting at the computer with my bare feet on an ice pack!) If not for the internet, I’d never have known that quite a few women have that symptom during perimenopause. So sharing your experience is a good thing!

    • Reply
      March 1, 2018 at 3:23 PM

      Oh yes, I’ve HEARD of some people having burning feet with perimenopause! Gosh, poor you. I really don’t know where we’d be without the internet to figure out perimenopausal health for ourselves. I keep hearing that expression “Heaven helps those who help themselves” in my head with regard to digging for answers on this issue. We all get through it, just less quietly now that we have the internet to form communities and tribes online! xx

  • Reply
    Amanda Bonds-Carmon
    March 1, 2018 at 12:05 PM

    You symptoms and mine are alike. Mine started with night sweats, however, a few years back. May 2017 the anxiety set in and has been kicking my butt. Heart palpatations, dizziness , out of body feeling, everything else you said. I go from hot to cold then hot again. The nights are the worst, I stay hot most of the time. I got 2 birds, we already have dogs 🙂 2 birds have now turned into 8. Love them. They help with my anxiety so much. I’ve been to the emergency room and even had a stress test done, and they found nothing. I am only 38, however my mother had completely stopped at the age of 40. I am also have issues with my monthly. I was going 40ish days btwn my monthlys, now I’m down to 20ish. Sometimes I will have 2 in one month. Last month it only lasted for 1 day and I stopped. Perimenopause is hell, but we will SURVIVE. KEEP ON PUSHING ON LADIES. BEST WISHES TO YOU ALL!!! HUGS!!!

    • Reply
      March 1, 2018 at 3:29 PM

      Yes, except for the night sweats, our symptoms sound the same. My husband is worried my one bunny (and another on the way) will also turn into eight, like your birds 🙂 You’re having the typical erratic monthly cycle. My cycle has become slightly shorter (24 days instead of 28) but is still quite regular. Since you’re only 38 and your perimenopause started so early, perhaps you’ll be free and clear of all of this soon, like your mother? Here’s hoping! Wishing you cool and restful nights ASAP! Thank you for sharing your experience. xx

  • Reply
    March 1, 2018 at 12:48 PM

    Oh no Lisa, it sounds like you’re having a hellish time! I’m lucky in as much as being arty I didn’t really notice being any more forgetful, seeing as I’ve always had several things on my mind at once and am prone to jumping down the odd creative rabbit hole. I was lucky too with the hot flushes – none of them – and haven’t been short-fused.

    What did happen was I broke my collarbone while out cycling. That was three and half years ago – I’m 52 next month – and so all the preparation I was making went out of the window for nearly a year. I had to wait for it to heal, the bones didn’t meet so then I had to wait for an operation which was cancelled once. And then the recovery. So my fitness suffered and for me st least that seems to be the best way to deal with menopause and its blessed warm-up act.

    I asked the doctor to put me on HRT three years ago and she prescribed the lowest dose patch. Last week I went to speak to a specialist about changing it as I’m a stone and half heavier than I was and want to get the stone off (the extra half I needed!). So I’m starting with an oral dose soon which the specialist says she recommends for my bone health. But the extra weight is par for the course, she says.

    I must add this info to Michelle’s post as I said I would report back. But definitely a trip to your GP is a good idea and they should be aware that this it’s that time. Good luck and let us know how it goes. X

    • Reply
      March 1, 2018 at 3:35 PM

      You’re lucky that your day to day didn’t present you with too many menopausal symptoms. I totally agree with you that staying fit and exercising is one of the best ‘medicines’ for perimenopause. I’ve always been pretty good about the gym, but I need it more than ever (daily) for my frame of mind to stay positive and not get overwhelmed with anxiety. Such a pity that your injury took so long to heal, because that keeps you away from what you need to make you feel better. I also read that women our age are more prone to injury because of the decrease in collagen; apparently ligaments and tendons are affected by this as much as our skin, so my personal side note to myself is not to push myself QUITE as hard as I normally might in gym.

      Very interesting about your HRT. Thank you for sharing that information. I will definitely report back as I progress a little further into this journey, and I look forward to seeing how your progress too! xx

  • Reply
    martha a bailey
    March 1, 2018 at 4:31 PM

    maam. GOD bless you. i can not express how your heart, these words are a tremendous blessing to me. i am 43 now and this is describing me to the exact. i too had all kinds of tests done in the beginning-wasted money!!! no dr considered it was peri. i felt like i was on a wild goose chase concerning my self. but it was a lady at my church that said listen dear, you are beginning meno and you need to research it so you can know how you need to care for yourself NOW. i was like wait, what??? but i was blown away when i began to study and find info. you are sooo right in women dare not share all of the particulars because of fear of judgement. but i speak right up because i want to learn from the next woman such as you! thank you again. you are a blessing to me.

    • Reply
      March 1, 2018 at 8:04 PM

      I’m so glad this was helpful to you, Martha. That really makes my day to read that. And see how many women have our same symptoms who commented on here? Amazing, I just wish people talked about it more; there is nothing to be ashamed of, it is just a fact of nature that ALL women have to contend with, to a greater or lesser degree. I’m glad you started finding the right information and know what is happening to you. Maybe we’ll make it easier on someone else who reads this. Thank you for your kind words. xx

  • Reply
    Little Red
    March 2, 2018 at 4:15 AM

    I hear ya. For me, so far, my most prevalent symptom has been a sporadic menstrual cycle. Some months, it completely skips and one time I bled for a month straight. There has been some weight gain as well. I experienced some hot flashes last spring. Otherwise, it’s been okay so far. I hope that since I only suffered from serious cramps but no other PMS symptoms, that my perimenopause experience will go relatively smoothly.

    • Reply
      March 2, 2018 at 9:52 PM

      It sounds like it is all going really REALLY smoothly for you, Little Red! Lucky you; long may it last. xx

  • Reply
    Ashley Burke
    March 2, 2018 at 1:50 PM

    Thank you so much for this post. I’m 33 & have checked off almost all the symptom boxes for perimenopause but I thought I was going a little crazy thinking I was “out of place” with myself at times. As if I was 2 people for just an instant. Will definitely read more of your work. Thank you again for making me feel like I’m not alone.

    • Reply
      March 2, 2018 at 9:54 PM

      Oh, Ashley, you’re so very welcome. I’m glad it gave you a bit of relief; you can see from my experience and all the commenters that you are definitely not alone. I promise to share anything I try that is particularly helpful (like supplements or information I find). Thank you for your kind comment 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    Lazy Daisy Jones
    March 2, 2018 at 6:19 PM

    Hi Lisa Im not good at commenting on blogs of people I dont know (apologies in advance)

    But I so feel your pain. For me perimenopause was worse than actual menopause.

    At least thanks to Michelle you have ahead start on recognising what’s happening.

    The worst thing for me was becoming very sensitive to others, I took everything personally! Short tempered OMG I was a dragon. Brain fog I still have.

    Take very good care, always remember you are special and unique and dont be too hard on yourself. Take lots of time out and avoid pressured situations.

    sending love, remember it will pass!

    best Ashley xx

    • Reply
      March 2, 2018 at 10:00 PM

      Isn’t it strange that perimenopause is worse than menopause for most people? Why do we have to learn this the hard way?! I’ve often heard of the sensitivity; I don’t suffer from that on any level, fortunately or unfortunately 🙂 I’ve also heard exactly the opposite, that sometimes women feel very liberated that suddenly they don’t feel the same empathy that they used to (there is biological reason for this, apparently).

      Your advice to avoid pressured situations is something I’m taking on board immediately; I needed to see that in print to clarify it… this has been bubbling in the back of my mind for a few days. Small things are so overwhelming right now, so avoiding pressure gives me the space to cope. Thank you for your wisdom and your very kind comments, Ashley xx

  • Reply
    passion fruit, paws and peonies
    March 3, 2018 at 7:51 AM

    A great read Lisa. I had visited the doctor over a few years and they kept suggesting I was depressed. I knew I wasn’t. I felt crazy and was terrified I was getting alzheimer’s (both my Nan and my Great Grandfather had it). It was only when I got a bladder infection I couldn’t shift – low oestrogen does this to you too – that I was told it’s because I am in my Perimenopausal stage. Before then I thought it only happened to women in their 50’s! Like you, I’d never read an article explaining perimenopause and my aunties never really spoke about it. My case is a little complicated because of a hormone related disease I have so I have paid to visit a hormone specialist. I’m now on hormone replacement and it has made significant improvements. I had the most terrible brain fog – and for a intelligent woman it felt so debilitating. Testosterone cream has made a huge improvement in that – when I first got tested it wasn’t traceable in my blood at all! Latest research (I’ve been told) has shown no connection to breast cancer. But to be honest, I felt so ill and crazy I was happy to take the risk! Like Ashley I avoid stressful situations and people as my blood pressure is so high right now. So, HRT hasn’t put everything right. I never thought I’d be longing for my menopause so much! I read Michelle’s post months back and thanks to you ladies writing these posts, it feels less lonely xx

    • Reply
      March 3, 2018 at 9:03 PM

      Yes, depression seems to be the catch-all diagnosis if they don’t know what else to say and you’re of a certain age, isn’t it? A few of my friends even suggested that to me, only to have me scream “I. AM. NOT. DEPRESSED!!!!!” at them! I’m so glad the HRT has worked reasonably well (even if not perfectly) for you. I’m making a note of the testosterone cream being helpful for brain fog; I may need that at some point. VERY interesting information about oestrogen and the bladder infection too; I’ve not heard that one before.

      I’ve made myself go to gym every single day this week and do really intense classes… that has either worked wonders OR I am simply in a phase right now where the hormones are so nuts. I don’t know. All I know is that this week has been an easy week compared to the last few months.

      I’m so glad that my post and Michelle’s post have been helpful to you; it IS nice to feel a camaraderie over this shared experience which is confusing, alarming, maddening, and ongoing! There is an end, and we have each other to share information with until we get there. Hugs to you, Maria xx

  • Reply
    March 4, 2018 at 1:21 AM

    Sorry to read you are struggling Lisa. I’ve been in peri-menopause stage for a while now and on the whole it hasn’t been that bad. Unlike you I knew about the condition as I had read several articles about the condition. However, what struck me in your article was this phrase: “Another thing I have been experiencing is a bizarre all over physical numbness. My whole body feels dizzy. “. I have that! And I never really connected that with peri-menopause. I could never quite explain this and sometimes it lasts for days and I thought it was due to stress, lack of fitness, too much work, feeling overwhelmed etc. Now I still think all those play a part but now I realise it is actually a hormonal thing too. I think that during that time we need to look even better after ourselves. Not work too long, make sure we get good sleep, keep stress under control, regular exercize and then sometimes accept that we need to rest. So hard for me as I have a million thing I want to do but you just can’t fight the body. I also struggle with eyepain and headaches but no idea if that is (peri)menopause related. (probably too much computer use). I think I’m moving into menopause stage now actually as I haven’t had my period for a while…. Wishing you lots of success coping Lisa. Sofar I’m just going with the flow and am not taking any medication or supplements….

    • Reply
      March 4, 2018 at 10:17 PM

      You’re so lucky that your perimenopause hasn’t been bad… some really lucky people don’t have it at all! I would imagine that the weird fuzzy dizzy feeling that you’re getting is perimenopausal. SO many people have that. It is SUCH a weird feeling, and quite hard to accurately describe it to someone who hasn’t experienced it. Sometimes I feel like I’m almost vibrating. The headaches sound perimenopausal as well; I get them more frequently than I ever did. I don’t know about the eye pain, that’s the first I’ve heard that symptom. Thank you for your wishes, Sylvia, I’m better now that I’m figuring all of this out for myself! xx

  • Reply
    March 4, 2018 at 12:19 PM

    Oh Lisa – I feel your pain! I think it’s so important for us women to talk about this subject. I started perimenopause aged 41 and am now 3 years in! In that time I have developed an autoimmune issue (Postural Tachycardia Syndrome) which I am sure is related. I am now on a low-dose betablocker which has given me a new lease of life and massively helped with the brain-fog. I also now suffer from restless leg syndrome (which again, I am sure is related to my hormones). I sometimes get 2 periods a month! I too, am not keen to go down the HRT rabbit hole. I’ve heard good things about sage being a hormone stabiliser but need to do more reading. The things that have really helped me so far are Ferrograd C (high dose of iron) and something called MegaMag Calmeze (magnesium and B vits for relaxing muscles, sleep and nerves). I hope we all manage to somehow find things that can help us through these years of ‘madness’, even if it’s just a shared sense of humour! X

    • Reply
      March 4, 2018 at 10:09 PM

      I totally agree, Emma. It is SO important to talk about. There is so much shame and fear and confusion and misdiagnosis… if we all don’t talk about it and help each other, who will? Restless Leg Syndrome seems to be a real theme, I’m hearing this a lot on blog comments and private emails. Like you, I’m on a high dose of iron (I’m a vegetarian, plus these perimeno heavy periods are dreadful!) and magnesium with B vitamins. I’m convinced the meditation and the shatavari supplemts (in the Pukka womankind tablets) are what is helping me the most so far. Your autoimmune disease sounds really upsetting too, what other effects does it have? What a relief the beta blockers are helping you… the brain fog is so frustrating, isn’t it? I’m going to research sage now too, thank you for that! Keep me posted on how you’re getting on with it, I promise to do the same! xx

  • Reply
    March 4, 2018 at 2:28 PM

    By God you can write my friend! Absolutely enthralling read that obviously will strike a chord with many women for years to come.
    This is an excellent piece of work Lisa, brava…
    Reading over the comments I noticed (as with my own Menoposts) the common misconception of age for symptoms. In my experience 40 plus is quite normal to start experiencing perimeno. This could explain why so many of us are blindsided when they start. Keep sharing darling girl, we all benefit from the insight xxx

    • Reply
      March 4, 2018 at 9:59 PM

      Thank you so much, Miss MT. You helped me SO much, and I am hoping that I can in turn help some other women out. I’m still amazed at how much stereotyping and misinformation is out there… and how many people WHO ARE NOT DEPRESSED get prescribed anti depressants. THAT is depressing! Love to you xx

  • Reply
    Brenda Pierro
    March 4, 2018 at 3:06 PM

    Hi Lisa. I don’t normally post comments, but this blog really got me. I just broke down when I read it because I felt like it was me writing it. I pray that what your doing works for you. I am 48 yrs old and was told about a year ago I was in peri menopause,although I know it’s been much longer than that. My periods started becoming irregular about 4 years ago ( I should mention I also have endometriosis and get ovarian cysts). But the last few months have been a nightmare. All the symptoms you are experiencing plus my restless leg syndrome is back with a vengeance. I started getting the panic attacks about a month ago (just figured out last night what they were).I have had about 3 bad ones so far, and they were so scary,I thought I was dying! I wasn’t stressed out at the time,just in the middle of baking a cake, when I started to feel like I was dreaming, then my heart started to race and my extremities and especially my lips started going numb and tingling. I wasn’t dizzy,it was almost like an out of body experience. One of the scariest things I’ve ever felt. Sat down and my husband took my bp with I thought would be low but was very high instead. Anyway, saw the Dr a few days ago for pains on my side which turned out to be a cyst that burst and 2 more endometrial cysts. Went through all the anti depressants that did nothing, now he wants to put me on low dose of estrogen.My mom had breast cancer post menopausal but he said it was still safe. I’m still a little Leary but am desperate to feel better.My husband and kids don’t quite understand what I’m going through and miss the old me ( which upsets me more). They try to help by telling me I just need to get out and do more things like I use to, but it’s not that easy. I’m so anxiety driven that sometimes just the thought of going out is stressing enough. Sorry this is so long, but it fell good to get that out to someone who understands lol. I would love to know how those supplements work for you so please put an update. Thank you and I pray you get relief!

    • Reply
      March 4, 2018 at 9:57 PM

      Oh Brenda, I’m so sorry you are going through the same thing I am. There are moments where it truly is terrifying. I KNOW what is happening now, and that makes it so much easier. I am doing four things right now. I don’t know which one is helping the most, or if it is just coincidental, but here is what IS definitely working and making me feel (mostly) normal again: 1) I’ve cut back to one coffee a day. 2) I’m taking TWO of those Pukka Womankind tablets that I mentioned, daily. They’re full of Shatavari, which is great for us (Google shatavari and anxiety or shatavari and stress… you’ll see what I mean). If you can’t get them where you are please send me an email and I’ll send you some. My gut says these tablets are what is making the biggest difference so far. 3) I’m going to gym every single day just to get my endorphins going and to wear myself out so I’m less prone to anxiety and panic. 4) I am meditating DAILY, no exceptions. The Calm App I mentioned before is life-changing for me. The Anxiety series (7 days) teaches you how to name feelings as they come up, which really helps you see patterns. It also has the effect of turning a light on to see there are no monsters under the bed, if that makes sense?? You learn to stand outside yourself and see that these waves of panic will pass, you just have wait them out. The meditation is really helping me a lot.

      Poor you with restless leg syndrome… the sleep disruption from that will make your anxiety and panic much worse. I think you should definitely speak to your doctor about how to address that. I know exactly what you mean about the panic striking you when you least expect it, and when you’re not under stress. Keep me posted how you fare on the low dose of oestrogen; let me know if it helps you at all.

      I know it IS NOT that easy to go back and just do more things like you used to. You’ll get back to the old you, it will just take some time. We’re all here to help each other figure this stuff out. I honestly mean it, let me know if you can’t get your hands on those Pukka tablets and I’ll gladly send you some. Keep me posted, and please, know that you are not alone. xx

  • Reply
    March 6, 2018 at 9:09 PM

    Goodness . I got off lightly . Hardly any symptoms. I hate to think how those payroll figures would get you on an open position! I’m in that business still but really should retire.

    • Reply
      March 6, 2018 at 9:40 PM

      You are one of the lucky lucky lucky ones! I’m pretty tough physically, so I am really surprised by this craziness. xx

  • Reply
    Heidi L.
    March 9, 2018 at 3:00 AM

    I am sorry you’re going through this.God preserve me from it for a few more years(I hope), but super good move getting a rabbit. Especially a Rex as they are awesome and so good with people. I’ve had one(Betram T(he), Bunny) for 7 plus years and I loves him. Hope it gets better soon.


    • Reply
      March 11, 2018 at 9:31 PM

      Thank you Heidi! I hope you DO avoid it for as many years as possible, or have the luck to evade it entirely, like some women seem to. Hi to Bertram from Balthazar! My midlife crisis bunny is a blessing 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    March 21, 2018 at 5:48 PM

    GOSH……….I’m a little late as I do not get your notifications but HANG IN THERE GIRLFRIEND!The BUNNY is a REX!!!!He is ADORABLE. I use to have an 8 pound BASIL running around the CASA!FOG………I’m getting that too but went through this all at age 40.A long time ago!!!
    “THIS TOO SHALL PASS”……who said THAT?

    • Reply
      March 26, 2018 at 12:04 PM

      What a pity you don’t get my notifications by email! Maybe I go into Spam or something? Isn’t the bunny a beauty? I love mini-Rex buns; they’re so sweet. Soon he’ll have a girlfriend.. I’m looking forward to this passing; the fog is so annoying; I don’t know what is worse, that or the anxiety. Sigh. xx

      • Reply
        April 8, 2018 at 9:35 PM

        NOT IN SPAM I WISH!!!!!!
        AT least I would know to check there…………….just bear with me as I might be LATE but I’ll catch UP!!!
        A GIRFRIEND……..YOU will have TONS of BUN BUNS!!!!!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2018 at 3:26 AM

    Hi Lisa,
    I rarely comment on blogs but I’m an avid follower of yours and the Over40Collective. This post struck a cord. I’m 48, but my symptoms started when I was 42. I ignored a lot of symptoms that came with hormone fluctuations until one day my body decided it had had enough and I had a massive panic attack while driving on a highway. I’ve since had all sorts of weird symptoms you describe, and when it first started to happen it was outright frightening and no one had an answer. I had what I like to call ‘systems gone berserk’.

    I spent a truckload of money going to doctors, naturopath, physios, psychologists, supplements. Until someone said ‘you’re most likely perimenopausal’. What a huge relief! I wasn’t going mad or dying of some weird illness.

    Then I started reading and educating myself. I wanted to see if I could do this without resorting to HRT. I’m not against it, but I’ll leave if for when the Big M finally hits.

    Some of things that have helped me. Slowing down. This was the hardest as I’m the full throttle kinda girl. But seeing a psych who introduced me to mindfulness meditation and Jon Kabat Zin was invaluable.

    Sleep hygiene. This was tough too but my circadian rhythm was like a rave party!

    Moderate exercise that doesn’t overload my central nervous system. Yoga, pilates, walking, swimming. I never truly liked gym anyway, but i need to start more weight bearing excercise to prevent bone erosion.

    Chiropractor. Mine does trigger point therapy and for some weird reason his torturing is my remedy.

    Magnesium, turmeric and probiotic. My holy trinity.

    Learning about human and female physiology. This was an eye opener. Our ancient bodies are out of sync with our post modern lifestyle and they have brilliant mechanism for alerting us that we’ve gone too far!

    A couple of books I’ve read recently that may be useful “The Period Manual” by Dr Lara Briden (not specifics to peri, but a lot of info in there about hormones) and “The Female Fat Solution” by Dr Beth Westie (how to eat in sync with hormones, as my weight keeps yoyoing).

    Sorry for the long post.

    I’m deeply grateful to you and Michelle for writing about this and getting other peri-warriors to open up.


    • Reply
      March 26, 2018 at 12:14 PM

      Hello Maja!

      Thank you for your VERY informative comment! For someone who doesn’t comment often, you do it very well 🙂 You say so many wise things; moderate exercise that doesn’t overwhelm the system, slowing down, and sleep hygiene that you mention are all things I’m implementing. I’ve not tried a chiropractor yet, but I do have a brilliant acupuncturist who I’m certain can help. I’m going to explore the books you recommended too.

      Turmeric and magnesium are both something I take daily too. I can’t believe what a difference those Womankind capsules (with turmeric and shatavari) are making. I can definitely feel a difference if I forget to take them for a day or two!

      I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the post, but I’m sorry that you had such worrying symptoms like I did. I wish I had known what was happening to me. Michelle’s post was so very helpful, so I hope that mine will be as well. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. xxx

  • Reply
    Allison McCaskill
    March 26, 2018 at 11:15 PM

    A friend posted this in a private Facebook group, and clearly it’s helped more than just me, but a profound and heartfelt thank-you. At first I felt kind of stupid and ashamed that I hadn’t done this research myself, but hey, that’s one more thing I can chalk up to the brain fog, right? It’s another example of how when you’re sunken deep in something like this it’s really hard to find your way out or assess it from the outside by yourself. The biggest reason I’m so happy to have read this is that I’ve had a blog I love writing for years (tiny, small following but extremely rewarding) and I’ve just felt like the words aren’t flowing at all the same lately. I was blaming it on my antidepressant, and when I tried to lower my dosage it wasn’t pretty. So I’m going to keep trying to write my way through it, missing words and all, and hope it passes.

    • Reply
      March 27, 2018 at 9:38 PM

      I’m so glad that this helped you, Allison, you are SO very welcome. You’re absolutely right, when you’re sunken deep in the fog it is very hard to have any kind of perspective and use your usual ‘tools’ that you use to help yourself. My initial heart issues started last summer, and the anxiety went on for months, so although the sequence of events seems ‘condensed’ in the post, it was actually quite a long drawn out thing. It took me a WHILE to figure it out… and it was only the really unusual panic attacks that rang a bell from Michelle’s post that allowed me to figure it out at all! Don’t worry that you didn’t do your research; no one seems to even know that these are menopausal symptoms. If you don’t have hot flashes, no one talks about it!

      As for your blog, all I can say is keep reading and keep writing. If I don’t read enough to feed the words into my brain and write enough to practice giving them a way out, I really can’t think of the words I need. Words will lead you through the fog, just relax and let them come to you. Keep me posted, and thank you for your kind words. xx

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