Menopause - The Rediscovery of You.
The hormonal rollercoaster that is perimenopause started for me when I was 44. It was only a few months into it, that I realised what was happening, perimenopause can often creep up without us actually realising it's the start of those menopause years.
For me, I started to notice that my confidence was not where it normally is, at the time I was a director in an investment bank for several years and very accustomed to this environment. I started to feel nervous, a little bit more anxious around meetings. The very slow gradual hormonal decline of progesterone and oestrogen manifested in these symptoms - the start of my perimenopause journey.
I remember sitting in a meeting room with senior officials, visiting from New York, and simple facts that I would have known, that would roll off the tip of my tongue just flew out the window, memory loss like that will impact your self esteem and confidence. I guess that was a mix of brain fog and nerves that I had not experienced before.
In addition, I noticed my periods starts to change, I experienced two to three months of extremely heavy periods, which can commonly be referred to as ‘flooding’. This is where your periods can come on extremely fast and heavy. The joy of Premenstrual Tension (PMS/PMT) returned, I had not had PMT symptoms since I was in my early 20’s but back they came….feeling bloated before my periods, tender breasts and changing moods.
I often find the emotional symptoms of menopause, are understated and many women are unaware of how the subtle changes in confidence, self esteem and anxiety can manifest in the early years of perimenopause.
The symptoms of menopause, as we know are many, there are over 40. The key really is understanding what the symptoms are, because every single woman will experience this differently. Knowing the symptoms allows you to understand what is happening in your body. That is an essential part of the journey because it ensures that you're empowered with knowledge, which in turn takes the fear out of menopause.
Now six years later I am in the full throes of perimenopause, I am blessed to have the knowledge and tools to support myself with the ever changing symptoms as they appear. The symptoms I had at 44 are gone, to day I have very few symptoms but I know at any stage that could change again. My personal toolkit is adapted on a regular basis so I adjust to any changes I see happening - the most important lesson is to embrace the symptoms as they come up, if we throw our heads in the sand they will only continue and indeed become more heightened if not addressed. Knowledge is power, menopause is an inevitable life stage for all women - not to be feared but to be embraced with informed choices and the knowledge that this is the dawn of a new exciting chapter in your life. The Japanese commonly refer to these years as Konenki, which loosely translates as ‘renewal years’ and ‘energy’. A rediscovery of who you are and where you are in your life - the key is getting a handle on your symptoms and finding your own ‘personal toolkit’.
Don’t fear your menopause- embrace it!
Catherine O’Keeffe (@WellnessWarrior.ie) is Ireland’s first menopause coach and speaker. She is a contributor to global websites and a professional speaker at health events throughout Ireland, the UK and the US. A former financial services director working across the UK, US, India and Ireland. Catherine regularly works with corporate clients on menopause support in the workplace. She also has a private practise where she works 1:1 with women through menopause. She is a regular media contributor and presents at events throughout Ireland. She hosts menopause events all over the country to discuss all things menopause.
Catherine is founder of the Menopause Success Summit, Ireland’s first virtual menopause event being held in September 2021. Catherine is an affiliated member of the British Menopause Society and a member of the Professional Speakers Association (PSA).
You can discover more about the benefits we offer to help you live a healthier, more positive life during peri-menopause and menopause here