And now a word about menopause. According to Christiane Northrup's The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical and Emotional Health During the Change, women with emotional issues they haven't faced yet often have more uncomfortable physical symptoms during menopause. She tells story after story of patients of hers who came in with physical symptoms, who turned out to have marital problems they were ignoring or an unhealthy family relationship they weren't dealing with, etc. Women with unresolved emotional pain seem to struggle the most with unpleasant physical symptoms in our middle age.
This gives me yet one more reason to work on my personal problems and painful emotions. I'm perimenopausal now, at the age of 47, and the big change is coming. I'm guessing it's maybe four or five years away. Menopause is the time at which someone STOPS menstruating. Perimenopause can last any number of years leading up to that, during which a woman can feel her body changing, but still gets her period.
For three years now I've been in perimenopause and for me it feels like this: I feel too warm all the time. They aren't hot flashes because I constantly feel this way. My apartment -- where I live alone fortunately -- is permanently several degrees cooler than most people would want. I keep the temperature in my bedroom below 68 degrees (Fahrenheit) when I sleep and in the morning as I rush around to get ready for work, I throw open windows and doors, trying to bring in the 50- or 40-degree (F) air. As I type this I'm sitting in the crossbreeze of two open windows, with windy 44 degree air blowing through. And I'm naked. I'm not kidding. I just took an AM shower and no matter how cool I make the water, I always come out of those perspiring. And no, I never get sick from doing this kind of thing.
With various kinds of therapies and support groups, I'm constantly working through personal issues, improving my relationships with others and finding the routines that make my body as healthy as it can be. I feel confident that my menopause will be quite comfortable, except for maybe this perspiration problem. It's annoying and embarrassing (everyone I know is used to me wiping my face and waving a handheld fan around), but I can live with it. There are far worse symptoms to suffer through, so I'm grateful for mine. It means I have to be careful about not offending others, but at least I don't need a winter wardrobe yet. It's autumn in Chicago, but I'm still wearing my summer tops and feeling perfectly comfortable.