Mindful being for me is a daily state. It is my nirvana, my end goal. When we are living totally mindfully we are present all the time and in complete control of all our emotions and senses.
In reaction it is far from a daily state for me at the moment.
My brain is currently being hijacked by hormones. My emotions are all over the place. One minute I am crying with joy, the next I am crying with fear and then every so often insecurity pops in for a cuppa.
I have been here several times before. When I was in my teens my hormones ruled the roost. I all alone battling the sea of adversity.
The reality of course was very different, and for the most part I was fully aware how lucky I was, but there were times when it felt that no-one understood what I was going through.
Then there was the time in my early thirties before my acromegaly was diagnosed when I was once again returned to a hormonal, eating sleeping bag of nerves. It was like going through a second puberty.
Hormones have a lot to answer for!
Many, in fact I think MOST, women have a complicated relationship with hormones. Mine has been particularly interesting though. It might sound like I’m complaining. I’m not. I’m actually very grateful (most of the time!) for the amazing insights that my illness have given me. It has made me much more compassionate towards my children when they have had hormone related challenges from potty training to puberty.
What it has done though is made this latest rollercoaster a little harder to ride.
You see because my condition is hormone based a lot of the symptoms I had when I was ill; fatigue, short temperedness, aching joints, headaches, night sweats, sugar cravings, weight gain, irregular periods… are also the most common symptoms of peri menopause.
I was managing to keep a lid on my fears really well until I had a migraine last week.
I have only ever had one migraine before and that was when I was pregnant with my daughter (before my diagnosis but I suspect around the time that my symptoms really started to be evident). Most of my family suffer from migraines so I knew what it was, and thankfully it wasn’t a bad one, but it did take me 3 days to shift the headache. Not helped by the niggling fear that all these symptoms were just too similar to my pituitary tumour returning. The tension in my shoulders and neck resulting from these fears was giving me a secondary headache and just adding to my worries.
Was I able to find a state of mindful being?
Yes, well, most of the time.
Honestly though my heart was starting to rule my head and I was getting more and more panic stricken until I had to turn round half way to taking my son to school because I had a strange sensation in my head and ears and it all just got too much. I broke down in tears and rang the doctor.
The doctor of course confirmed my peri menopausal symptoms and she completely understood my fears. She was very patient and looked back through my most recent MRI results and blood tests, which I have so regularly that she was able to set my mind at ease about my tumour. As always though she daren’t prescribe anything to ease any of my symptoms without checking with the doctor.
Now I am determined not to be ruled by my hormones any more than is necessary but as much as I would probably have wrestled her to the floor for HRT last week, I’m glad for this cooling off period to look at other alternatives. So I am reading Andrea Maclean’s book “Confessions of a Menopausal Woman” (which I highly recommend if you are in the same place as me!). I am going for an acupuncture session this morning, am looking into essential oils, magnets, diet… you name it!
I will rediscover my mindful being.
It is important to remember when we are being hijacked by our hormones that we can regain control.
We also mustn’t beat ourselves up for giving in to those very basic urges sometimes. We cry, we shout, we eat a whole packet of biscuits or drink a whole bottle of wine.
It is good?
Do we feel proud of ourselves?
But sometimes it happens. Just by being aware that we feeling this way and acknowledging why puts us ahead of many people. Having the ability to stop, take a deep breath, acknowledge our thoughts and feelings and keep doing is a powerful and liberating thing.
So until I have ridden out this hormone storm I will continue to be imperfectly perfect. I will do everything in my power to keep in control of my moods and my behaviour. I will strive for mindful being as often as I am able, but I won’t beat myself up for crying in the supermarket or shouting at the laptop irrationally.
I will be me. All day, every day. I will be real. I will be kind hearted with an occasional temper and frequently leaky eyes. I will embrace my wobbly bits and not beat myself up for brain fog. Most importantly I will be happy in this transition. Few of my fellow acromegaly sufferers ever experience this because their treatment prevents it. Most patients don’t discover they have this illness until after they have been through this change. I feel privileged to be able to experience this next phase and am looking forward to life post menopause.
We must talk about this more though. I have learned more about this time of life in the last few months than I could ever have imagined. Only by talking about all these enormous challenges faces by women can we start to make life easier for those experiencing them. The world needs to be more accepting of this amazing metamorphosis. Yes it is a sign that we are ageing, but what a huge privilege that is, and I’m sorry but I’m not ready for the care home just yet (despite what my son thinks!), I’m not 43 yet!
Let’s celebrate this amazing transition and stop hiding away and trying to keep going through whatever adversity is thrown at us! We are women, we are incredibly strong but we are also best when we share our experiences and support each other.
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