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I don't even know me any more....

Posted by jenny1000 (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 17, 07 at 15:40

Has anyone else experienced this? I don't even feel like myself. At all. I have had the toughest year of my life...bar none. I turned 45 in August and my life sort of began to fall apart. I don't even know how it happened. Up until then I had been a smart, confident, able woman who could usually find the joy in most any situation. Suddenly, I am weepy, sad, and cannot find the joy in anything. I cry all the time. At the same time, my periods began to get very heavy, but not lasting any longer. My 26 year old marriage almost ended in divorce ...that's how bad it has gotten. Can hormone fluctuations make a woman feel this way? Can the depression get this bad? Any insight from someone who has lived it would be welcomed and appreciated. I sometimes just feel like I want to run away from life altogether. And I used to be the "strong" one... can these feelings be traced to pre-menapause? Thanks for any advice. -Jenny.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I don't even know me any more....

In my opinion, yes yes yes. I have been periodically having these symptoms for 10 years. The first time, I thought I had just gone crazy, and had been a happy and confident productive woman all my adult life. All of a sudden, wham! Gone out the window. It took awhile to put 2 and 2 together. I had a partial hysterectomy at a young age, so have no periods to go by, but the second time I had an episode of severe depression and anxiety, I realized in looking back, that I had not had any PMS symptoms in months. That was what clued me in. I had always had regular monthly PMS symptoms, so I knew my ovaries were still functioning. Anyway, yes, for some of us, these symptoms are usual. I have had a rough past year also, but it's finally starting to subside. Usually, these episodes only last for about two months. This time it has been 15 months. I have become the queen of self-help in the search for relief besides pharmaceuticals. Many women do use anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs with good results, so if you need them, get on them. I just prefer to go the other route. I do use progesterone cream, but it has not had any appreciable effect from what I can tell. I wish you the best and hope things get better for you.
Mrs H


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I know exactly how you feel. I can't tell you how many times I just want to say forget it all, quit the job move away and leave no forwarding address. The reality of it is, this menopause thing is supposed to subside. I am hopeful that I will again one day feel like my old self. My kids will be out of the house in 2 years and then it's "my time" menopause or no menopause, you will find me on the beach and only working part time and a job I don't have to use one brain cell for.


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Celeste- I can so relate to the part time job where you don't have to use one brain cell, lol. I think all I have anymore is one brain cell and I don't want to use it for work :)
Mrs H


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I haven't had the depression you guys are talking about but, in the last two years I feel like my brain has been sucked out of my head and been replaced with a melon. I cannot remember anything, even if it was just told to me two minutes ago, it's gone. I can be having a conversation with someone and bam, my train of thought is gone and I'll look at the other person and I can't even remember their name. I'm starting to feel like I'm either losing my mind or it's early onset of senility. I'm feeling like I have waaaay too much stress/pressure or is it just perimenopause?

I'm posting here tonight because I'm feeling 'fuzzy' after 7 days of a very heavy period that so far has no end in sight. I know it's draining the life right out of me and it's not helping the mental stability any either.

So, for me, it's not a state of depression but confusion. And I don't know if I can survive 5 or 10 more years of this and come out sane.


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"I know it's draining the life right out of me and it's not helping the mental stability any either.

So, for me, it's not a state of depression but confusion. And I don't know if I can survive 5 or 10 more years of this and come out sane."

hgtvme- I'm sure that our experiences vary widely, but when I first started this merry trek, I felt hopeless that it would ever improve. I wanted to just literally just vanish from the face of the earth to escape having to deal with it. I had never had any bouts with what I perceived as mental instability, had a college education, a good (albeit stressful) job, a wonderful husband, two kids I loved to death, a nice place to live etc... so I could not understand why the sudden change. As I stated in my first post to this thread, it took awhile to put 2 and 2 together. I have been going through all this periodically for about ten years now, and I suspect the actual cessation of hormonal production is getting near (only my gyn knows for sure, lol). I have found that the symptoms were MUCH worse in the beginning, but of short duration. I had a depressive episode that lasted about two months. Then about three years later, another one of short duration. Then about a year after that, another one, but of lesser severity. The most recent one started about 15 months ago, but has been mild and manageable without getting too freaked out, and has now leveled out to a state of mind I can live with. I don't feel like my "old" self, but in ways, I feel like a better and more complete self.
Your circumstances are very different than mine, but what I am trying to convey is that the symptoms that you are having may ebb and flow, and perhaps will eventually even out to where you can live with the changes more easily, perhaps even find some humor in or some meaning in them. I have read than memory changes are a common problem with menopausal changes, and my memory changes have been short-term. I forget names easily, I can't focus as well as I used to, and I changed jobs to decrease my stress level because stress makes it much harder imo. Then there's "THE LIST". I always make lists of stuff to help me remember what I need to do, what I need to buy, where I need to go.
How old are you? What kind of work do you do? What's your living situation with marriage, kids, etc. You don't need to answer these questions to me (unless you want to), but I am just trying to get a mental picture of what you are referring to and the circumstances surrounding it.
Mrs H


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Hello Mrs H,

It would be wonderful to talk to someone about all this! I'm 45, I have four kids all at home and in school, married for twenty years and my husband has a business and I do all the bookwork for the business.

After reading on a couple of forums last night I'm starting to think that what I'm feeling mentally is a form of depression. I know it's hormonal/perimenopause but that doesn't make it any less real. I'm crabby most of the time and I know it, I can hear myself and I just hate it. Sometimes my kids will even say, geez mom calm down, and then I try to think of what did I just say?

I have to make the lists too. I have a big calendar on my kitchen wall where I write in every minute detail of my kids lives, doc. appts, sports, school activities, everything goes on that calendar or I would forget.

And stress, yes, the more stress I'm feeling the worse I am mentally and I used to be the opposite. Stress never affected me before. Like right now, I could not tell you my kids' cell phone numbers and I used to have to keep facts and figures in my head all day long. Now I can't even remember important phone numbers.


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I had started a thread not too long ago about not being able to remember anything. I realized when I read this thread that recently it hasn't been that bad. Maybe it's just a lucky break and the memory loss will come back but I'm enjoying this time right now.


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I used to be able to handle anything that came my way, was a great multi-tasker and had a ton of confidence. Over the past several years and especially during the holidays, I can only focus on one thing at a time and find that the simplest task turns into major ones, which then makes me not so pleasant to be around. I can't remember what I did 5 minutes ago, I struggle for words just finish a sentence and have become a post-it note queen, if it isn't written down, I won't remember it, can't tell you how many times I've forgotten my grocery list and couldn't recall a single thing on it. Somedays I feel like a took a "stupid pill". I accompany my husband on many business dinners and I panic (which make it worse) that I won't be able to participate in a intelligent conversation or remember someone's name.

My cognitive mishap last week involved me trying to call a friend and using the remote control instead of the phone. I think my dog was even embarrassed for me LOL

My mom nor my grandmothers ever complained of these issues, but then again menopause was something that was never openly discussed. Sad to think how many women suffered in silence.

Cheryl


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Cheryl, I can sympathize 150%!! It's to the point for me that I hate any social function because I'll start talking about something and then I can't remember facts and such and then I'm saying, 'You know, whatever that thing is called"... It's like the saying, "Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool...then to open your mouth and remove all doubt".

I have four sister's all older than me. None of them have gone through this mental stupor like I am. They've all had hot flashes, I have not, yet.

Loved your dog comment! lol


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hgtvme- no wonder you have CRSS (short for can't remember sh** syndrome), your plate's too full. By the time I was your age, I didn't have kids left at home, no school functions, no curricular activities to attend, etc. It was just me and DH by that point (got married and had kids early). I can't imagine having to deal with 4 kids at my age now, lol. That's the nice thing about having grandchildren- you play with them and take them with you to work in the garden, then send them home with Mom and
Dad :)
Anyway, just keep making your lists, and try to minimize the stressors. When DH has a business event for you to attend, just dress to the nines and take on the role of trophy wife. Be charming and demure :)
Believe me, there are times when that works just fine. Try to keep in mind that the real you is how you are deep down inside when there is no one else to impress. When you can just be yourself and be quiet. It's the substance you are made of and not the image you portray to others, whether it be intelligence or wit, physical beauty, or any other qualities you desire to portray. I wish there were some words of wisdom I could pass on to you, but we all just have to be present in the moment and do the best we can do. If you need medical attention or help, seek it out. This, too, shall pass as the old saying goes.
Mrs H


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Mrs. H. Your advice is right on the money. It has really helped me to calm down just knowing that I have no control over my hormones so I just have to ride this out. I thought I was suffering a breakdown or panic attacks. It's always worse when I have a really heavy period and it goes on for days with no let up. But now that I can recognize that and know it's a natural occurance I have stopped stressing about my mental condition and just focus on keeping my head about me and trying to not let emotion's rule. And yes, a big coping mechanism has been to just keep to myself and not engage in too much conversation if I can avoid it. I feel better if I can walk away from someone and I've not had a 'stupid' moment during the conversation. That stategy has really given me back some control.

My friends with grown children say the same thing, they would hate to be me with young kids and teens right now. There are plenty of days I would like to be them too! ;)


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I'm so glad you are feeling a bit better. Life certainly has its ups and downs, it just seems that at this time in life, the roller coaster takes a dramatic turn with higher and lower tracks. If it wasn't for my interest in gardening and taking photos of nature stuff, I would have much more difficulty coping at times. Getting more in touch with the physical world seems to calm me down a bit. In fact, I have weeds that are now calling my name to come and pick them, lol.
Mrs H


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Wow, y'all have definitely described my path. I started in my late 30's literally thinking I was becoming seriously mentally ill, because I would just go through bouts of being emotionally out of control, my mental/intellectual capacity would just drop out of sight, and it was very hard to cope with life.

It's been a rough 10 years since then, and I tried about everything - the creams, anti-depressants, relaxation and self-awareness techniques. I have some of the "normal" symptoms, such as occasional hot flashes and frequent insomnia, but it's these mood swings that are killing me -- or, more to the point, too often make me want to kill other people or just act plan evil and awful to the people that I love. And that's JUST NOT ME. I truly feel possessed sometimes, like, who in the world just said/did that awful thing? Oh, $#!+ that was me!!

Finally after years of swearing that I would never in this world take any type of hormones, I finally sobbingly begged my doctor to give me something, anything, just to help me cope through this and she put me on a fairly low-dose BCP, and it has made all the difference in the world to me. Things are 100%, I still have serious "menopause brain" and some measure of monthly mood swings, but the severity of it has decreased dramatically. I recently tried going off of them after a year and it helped to remind me (in a not very pretty way) just how much difference they were making in my life.

Just as a side note - a friend of mine is going through treatment for stage 3 colon cancer, and her husband posted an article on "chemo brain." As I was reading it, I kept thinking "dang, this sounds just like me with menopause" and sure enough by page 2 of the article it acknowledged the clear parallels between women in menopause and folks on chemo, in terms of losing... well, losing our minds!!! I'll find and post a link to the article if anyone is interested.


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I lost it over the weekend with my DH. I think he deserved my being mad at him (he makes remarks about my weight), but not with the degree of my reaction. What can I do about these emotional rollercoasters?


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Wait I am not sure what DH stands for, but if it is someone you are living with, why would they say anything about your weight? Maybe this isnt a good day for me to say something about anything, I could have choke anyone that look at me wrong today, so maybe I should just be quiet and go take my hormone and xanax. :-)


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When I told him I was mad about his weight comments, he said, "but you always complain about your weight". Don't they understand that it's ok for us to complain about ourselves, but we don't like it when others do? Or am I wrong in that thinking?


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Wow, you know sometimes, we think that the "next "thing we say to our love ones, will get them the message. Somehow the other 1000 times just werent the right words. I complain to my husband about my weight, of course he has learned the right answers, but on certain hormonal days, it just isnt enough!The fact,is, that even if he said nothing, it wouldnt be good enough. I AM GOING TO MAKE IT THRU THIS! whomever is with me when I get there will really love me.:-) Today I am getting less salt. That is my goal.


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There was a time I went through such a depression I just stared into space. I know this sounds crazy. I was going through menopause. I had a total hysterectomy. I had had cancer and had my ovaries and uterus removed. I stupidly thought I could go through the hot flashes and menopause without the patch. I went through HE>> and back. I thought my skin and mind were going to turn inside out. I know what you ladies are going through and are going to go through and I feel for you with all my heart. It is the most hellish thing a woman can go through. It is mind boggling. You think you are going crazy and not only that your body is playing tricks on you too. God Bless women. We are not the weaker sex. We are the stronger sex, because we go through so much and are the least understood, but we do understand each other. Bless us all!! You that are just starting into menopause I promise it will get better with time, and some days will be worse than others, you won't go crazy, although sometimes you think you will. If one DR. does not listen to your symptoms then keep looking until you find one who will help you. It took me awhile until I found a DR. who would finally listen and help me. She has helped me more than any other DR. I was going to and is not afraid of my questions. She does not try to intimidate me or dismiss me or my questions. I am glad I found this forum where I can read about others problems and answers, it has helped me and I hope I can help someone else.

Jenny, Your life will get better, I promise. Yes, it probably is hormonal and pre menopausal. Make an appointment with your Dr. and see if you may need something for depression or have a hormonal imbalance. It will get better. I hope for you the best. We can't always be strong, sometimes we need help. I have always been the strong one, but this strong one needed some help and I had to reach out and that was very hard for me to do but I had no choice. God Bless you Jenny.


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I can so relate to all of the above,I just joined this site,and I have to say Thanks to sister 'sufferers',it is such a relief to know that I am not alone, that I am not going insane. Looking forward to sharing this time in my life with ye. THanks.


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Hi everyone. I haven't posted in awhile but came on tonight to get caught up. It's been the same ol'-same ol' for me. This month has been especially trying again...another two week long heavy flow and that always trigger's an emotional rollercoaster. ***stinks***

How is everyone else doing?


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Pretty much the same rollercoaster, one thread I find in common with all us 'meno...'women is 'stress'.I remember when I was younger asking my mom what it was like ie menopause, her response was she was too busy to notice. She ran the family business here in Ireland, from 8am till 11pm seven days a week, except sundays when closed from 3/7pm and xmas morn for about four hours. Yet she never showed signs of stress. Why do we feel so stressed out today?


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Dear Celticgirl, are you in Ireland now? Wow I am jealous! It seemed like my mother was very busy with jobs, she did have her girls to help, but I didnt appreciate how she juggled things until I got to be 53! She is gone now, and I always say she didnt die , she "escaped" lol Life is stressful and thank God for this forum. Make it a good week hotflashes and all..Shotzy


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Hi, I'm new on this forum. It certainly is good to hear others describe similar complaints. Just turned 50 this year, and my cycles are pretty regular still, maybe a miss or early arrival a couple times a year, and a little heavier flow. My gynecologist says I still have a long road to travel before I reach menopause. Oh, boy!

Six years ago, I went through a hugely stressful period -- I quit a high-stress job where I had worked for seven years as a social worker; my MIL died (we were very close); then seven months later my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer; and that same year my husband stopped drinking (for this I am forever grateful, but it was a difficult process).

During the six months my father was ill, I travelled back and forth between PA and FL to visit and see how he was doing. He and I were very close, and I am an only child. My mother was not able to help much, as she had had a brain tumor several years earlier which caused a decline in her mental functioning. At this time I also started a new permanent job. When my father was in the final two months of his illness, I was able to take a leave of absence and go stay in FL while hospice was providing support. I can't tell you how hard that was for me. I started having trouble sleeping and felt "wound up" all the time. My doctor prescribed Ativan and Xanax to help with anxiety and sleep. After my father died, I had to organize my mother's move into a retirement community and furnish her apartment. By the time everything was taken care of and I was able to go home, I was a wreck. And I just never bounced back. I continued to have sleep and anxiety problems and I was miserable at my job -- it was a bad match as far as I was concerned, but it was one of the few constant things in my life so I stayed there. I thought I was just going through the normal grief process and eventually things would pass and I would feel better. After a year, almost two, I went on Zoloft for a 10 month period. This helped me a lot and got me over the hump, so to speak.

But I never felt like myself again. In the last couple of years I have talked with my physician, a women's group, my gynecologist, and they seem to think my symptoms are related to peri-menopause. It was also suggested that I may have adrenal exhaustion. I started taking pharmaceutical grade vitamins, as well as some other supplements. Each thing I've tried has helped me somewhat and has improved my mood, but hasn't done much for sleep. Earlier this year I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, and since then I have read quite a bit on that, as well as dysautonomia. I am sure that many of the symptoms I experience, such as the nighttime palpitations and anxiety, are related to this, although it is believed that peri-menopause and menopause can increase dysautonomia symptoms. (Obviously, anxiety is a common complaint of women going through menopause, even if they don't have mitral valve prolapse.)

My doctor had suggested that if I didn't get any further relief from the supplements I was taking, that perhaps I should consider an antidepressant again. She also wanted me to stop taking the Xanax because she feels it interferes with the sleep cycle and can actually cause depression. So, a week or so ago, I finally said "that's it" and agreed to the antidepressant. I'm taking Wellbutrin this time, and so far I think it's helping. I feel more energetic and motivated, more hopeful. Still not up to the full dose yet, and still not weened off the Xanax (doc said to continue during first couple weeks). In a couple of weeks I'll start taking Rozerem for sleep, which is supposed to help by resetting your sleep cycle.

Thanks for letting me share my story. Jenny, the title of your thread says it all. I really can relate to how you feel. This is such a tough process, and sometimes it's hard to figure out what's causing what symptom. Many symptoms can be related to several problems, so it's very confusing. I wish you and the other posters here the best of luck in finding relief to your symptoms. This seems to be a very supportive forum and I am grateful to find it. I normally hang out on the decorating and organizing forums.

Tina


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Welcome to all the newcomers. I don't post all the time, but this forum has slow periods (no pun intended :), and I check in from time to time to see how everyone is. Been doing better here generally, but like someone else mentioned, it seems the old me may never come back. Been feeling a little "explosive" lately, and a couple of weeks ago, popped my cork so to speak, then immediately regretted it :(
Oh well, at least I got some things off my chest that probably needed to be. Sometimes, it's just impossible not to express frustrations. That's one of the reasons that serious heavy gardening helps me. Expends alot of energy. Someone mentioned adrenal exhaustion. My gyn put me on a DHEA supplement for just that reason, and I do believe it has really helped, but it needs to be monitored with blood level checks. Too much of it will make you more irritable and make you grow facial hair (yuk). Anyway, glad to check in and say hi to everyone. Keep on hangin in there guys.
Mrs H


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I am new to this site, and have been looking for something for help with this same feeling. I agree with everyone else, I feel the same way, I don't know who I am anymore. I am 50 and going nuts!!! I cannot go through life daily without tears, and PANIC ATTACKS. I used to be able to do all sorts of things, now I am afraid of everything. I have tried the antidepressents, but they leave me feeling more unlike myself. I have three teenage kids and a husband at home. I find myself hiding from them when I am crying. Does anyone else experiece the Panic attacks. I also get the heart palpitations all the time, and hot flashes continuously. This part of life really stinks.


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cannr- so sorry you are going through this. It's really rough for some of us. I used to have really bad panic attacks and depression on top of it. I have gone through 4 bouts with it. Now, about ten years after it all began, things seem to have leveled out somewhat. I went to a new gyn last year, and she checked all my female and stress hormone levels. My sex hormones were in the low range, but still there. My DHEA level was almost undetectable. She started me on a DHEA supplement which I think has helped tremendously, but it has to be monitored because of adverse side effects if levels are too high. I have also re-evaluated my life and my own experiences and have done alot of reading in the areas of self-help, spirituality, and psychology, and even a couple of good fictions that were particularly appropriate, because I think that we who tend to be highly emotional and/or repress stuff (which I have always done) tend to experience menopausal changes in a much more severe way. Anyway, it's different for each of us, and some things work for me that won't work for you. Good luck and keep me posted on how it's going. Hold on tight :)
Mrs H


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Mrs. H - what is DHEA, and what does it help out with? I'm open to any suggestions that will help my anxiety/depression/mood swings.


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DHEA is one of the stress hormones excreted in the adrenal glands. There are two primary ones- DHEA and cortisol. DHEA levels tend to fall as we age, and cortisol levels tend to rise. Most doctors, in my experience, totally disregard adrenal hormones unless they are causing serious illness. In times of extreme stress (physical or emotional) DHEA levels will gradually start to drop. When you are young, you normally have high enough levels that you can handle stress well. When you age, the levels are already low, and stress depletes it and causes problems. Do a google on adrenal hormones and you can find plenty of info about them. There's also a good book about stress hormones written by an MD whose name I can't recall, but I fill find the book and post it later. As I said, adrenal hormones are nothing to be played with, and taking supplements needs to be monitored by your doctor, so be aware of that.
Mrs H


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Thanks, Mrs. H. I notice at night when I have the anxiety, it feels centered in my stomach first. I wonder if that has a relation to the cortisol. Would it make sense to ask my GYN at my next visit to check my adrenal hormones as well as the regular ones?


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It would make sense, but it depends on how open-minded your doctor is. My gyn is a middle-aged woman, and when I told her I had been stressed lately, she automatically had my adrenal hormones checked (good thinking on her part). On my visit a week later, she told me to start the DHEA supplement and modify my diet (per guidelines recommended by John Lee MD). It took a couple of months before I could tell any difference, but I've been on it for about a year and a couple of months now. I still have occasional low level anxiety, but nothing like I used to, and I can finally sleep at night once again. When my DHEA was so low, my PM cortisol was elevated, and that was causing my sleeplessness. I feel like an almost normal human being again, lol. The book I referred to earlier was Stress Less by Don Colbert MD. He has a sort of religious take and recommendations, which aren't necessarily to my taste, but the book is full of good useful information.
Mrs H


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Thanks so much, Mrs. H. I'll look into the book.


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How do you check your adrenals?


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And will the doctor check them just based on my asking for it.


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Adrenal hormone levels are checked like other hormone levels, most commonly by a blood sample. If you want your levels checked, ask the Dr to have DHEA and cortisol levels checked. If your doctor thinks you are nuts for even worrying about it, then maybe find another doctor. On the other hand, your adrenal function may be just fine and the problem is with sex hormones. I just lucked into a new gyn that thinks outside the box, lol.
Mrs H


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I am so happy to find these boards and see what I am experiencing is "normal". But I am only 39 and was not expecting to be blind-sided by this quite yet. My mom had no symptoms and just stopped menstruating and I was hoping that would be me too! No such luck.

My hair is falling out, I can't sleep, I feel so unorganized in my thoughts, my shoulder aches, and my mood swings are HORRIBLE. I can't even stand myself anymore, I am surprised my dh can stand me. Plus I have a 2.5 yr old son who is just being 2.5 but my patience are so not there lately that it is driving me insane!

I am trying progesterone cream but it does not seem to help although my libido has come back. That is great for dh but I care more about my moods and mental stability.

Do you ladies think it is worth bothering the dr with or should I try to ride it out on my own. It seems like each lady has luck with a different treatment which makes sense since we are all different but I hate the idea of trying several different drugs as I am very anti-medication even aspirin or ibuprofun- I have to be in severe pain before I will take anything.

But I think feeling like you want to seriously hurt people that tick you off and run away from your life might qualify as pretty severe! :)

Lisa


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javajane, same here in so many respects. It all started for me when I was your age. Same with my mom- she didn't even know she was going through menopause when it happened, but I called my grandmother (Dad's mother) to ask her about it several years ago, and she said that a couple of my Dad's sisters had severe symptoms with menopause. She said one of my aunts got so bad she wouldn't hardly leave her house, so I thought "bingo!" and it kind of confirmed things for me, lol. Anyway, I'm like you in the fact that I won't hardly take an aspirin, and at age 50, I am on no prescription drugs. It would probably be a good idea to go see your doctor (gp or gyn) just to have a check-up and maybe have some hormone levels checked. Hormone levels can be in normal range, though, and you may still have symptoms. Your doctor will most likely want to put you on an anti-depressant. That seems to be the most common treatment given to menopausal or peri-menopausal women these days. And it may help you tremendously. I can't imageine having a small child, or any age child to deal with at this point in my life, so my hat's off to you. Have you discussed this with your husband? It will help to let him know what is going on, and hopefully he is an understanding man. Mine is, thankfully. If you don't want to take anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs, I encourage you to really get in tune with yourself and get to know yourself thoroughly. This may sound a little hokey, but if you're going to ride it out, some good self-analysis or professional analysis can help. If you are anything like me, you think of yourself as a "strong" woman who can do anything she sets her mind to, and handle anything that comes along. When you are blind-sighted by the emotional upheavals that seem to come along at this stage of life, it causes tremendous turmoil, and makes you doubt everything you have ever believed. It's a tough road and requires a tough individual to navigate it. Sorry to ramble on, and I hope I have not bored you excessively, but I wish you good luck and success at dealing with it.
Mrs H


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Lisa -- I, too, try to avoid taking drugs of any sort. I have found over the years I'm very sensitive to them so I just tend to deal with pain or other symptoms until they go away by themselves. There are plenty of natural supplements you can take to assist with your symptoms. Here are some of the items I've had recommended by my physician, gynecologist and a women's group. (This is not an advertisement for these products and I'm not associated with any of them.)

For sleep problems, I took "Seriphos" by T.E. Neesby (can get it through the Vitamin Shoppe's website), which is a combinatin of L-Serine, Calcium, Magnesium, and Phosphorus. This is taken before bedtime.

For anxiety and irritableness and sleep, I take "5-HTP" (5-Hydroxytryptophan) which supposedly acts like a natural antidepressant by providing the substance your body uses to make serotonin. There are many brands of this in 50 and 100mg. I take 200mg before bedtime and it helps me wind down.

To calm down at night I also take "ProDHA" by Nordic Naturals, which has a combination of Omega-3s.

I also found that taking pharmaceutical-grade vitamins daily has helped tremendously. I get mine through Women to Women, which is a women's health organization which has a variety of services, including a full gynecological clinic, nursing consultation services via phone (I use this), as well as an excellent library of articles related to perimenopause and menopause and a variety of health issues. If you google the name you will find it quite easily.

My physician has recommended a daily exercise regimen, as well as practicing deep-breathing techniques, and stretching and yoga exercises. I have also found meditation to be quite helpful. The books by Jon Kabat-Zinn (especially "Full Catastrophe Living") are quite instructive on how to meditate. I have a set of his CDs as well. He is a medical doctor who heads up the Univ. of Mass. Medical School's Center for Mindfulness which is a stress reduction clinic. This is a secular, non-religious based form of meditation. Exercise and relaxation techniques have been tremendously helpful for me.

Finally, I have to say that while all these natural supplements and vitamins have helped quite a bit, it was never enough to make me feel as good as I would like. I have had to resort to taking Xanax before bedtime, especially during the week or so before my period, because I often have a lot of anxiety in the evening which will make it very hard to get to sleep. Just recently, I finally followed my physician's suggestion and began taking an antidepressant, Wellbutrin. I have to admit I feel much better, better than I have in a long time. In a couple of weeks I am going to try and ween off the Xanax and try a sleep medication that is supposed to reset your sleep cycle (vs. other sleep meds such as Ambian or Lunesta). We'll see how that goes. If I can feel good and get a good night's sleep, I'll be very pleased.

Good luck to you. Everyone is different and finds relief from an assortment of supplements and support. I hope you find relief to your symptoms. It is such an educational experience and journey, learning how to best care for yourself at this time.

Tina


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Thank you Mrs. H and Tina.

Mrs. H you did not bore me- you shared a lot of wisodm that I truly appreciate. I know I need to see my dr. just to make sure it couldn't be something else but since I have about 30 of the 35 symptoms I am pretty sure it's pre or peri - menopause. I was told I was peri-menopausal before I had my son in 2004 but I never had symptoms like this!

I am lucky to have a wonderful husband and I need to sit him down and explain I am not the same woman I was because he expects my mind to be as sharp as it use to be and it just isn't! It does mess with your mind/self-esteem because I was once so capable and I feel helpless. Anyways sorry to ramble...but just finding this board and knowing I am not alone or insane helps so much!!!

Lisa


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Too bad the OP never wrote back...one of my friends went through the exact same thing! She absolutely thought she was losing her mind. She couldn't focus, she became weepy, she felt like a completely different human being. After two weeks of HRT? Back to normal. She's 47 and was in full-blown menopause. I was thinking I would do HRT, but if I get to that point I definitely will.


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Lisa, I have elementary aged children yet so I can relate to your stress with dealing with small children and your heightened perimenopause anxiety/stress. Many days my kids drive me through the roof because I don't have the patience level I had with my older kids. And that's not their fault, it's my hormones going wonky but it's hard some days to just 'deal' with the issues that young children have.

I don't have any words of wisdom...just take it one day at a time and try to keep perspective. When I feel completely overwhelmed with my kids I just tell them...back off and go find something...ANYTHING...to do and leave me to cook or clean or whatever it is I'm trying to accomplish. They know, now, that if they keep pushing I'm going to explode and that situation is best avoided at all costs! ;)


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Just checking back in. It's been another two weeks since I've been taking Wellbutrin (total of four weeks now), and I'm glad to say I'm starting to feel a lot like myself again. My doctor says that antidepressants can be helpful during perimenopause, but I'm just amazed. Most of the anxiety and self-doubt is gone, which frees up energy to enjoy myself alone and with people. I'm motivated to exercise, which in turn helps me feel good and sleep better. By the way, I'm still taking ProDHA (omega-3), 5-HTP, and a 1/2 or whole .25 mg tab of Xanax at bedtime. However, I'm going to sleep earlier and haven't had much nighttime anxiety or palpitations lately. I finally think I'm on an upward spiral! There are other things I would still like to improve (my husband would have a specific request!), but for now I'm grateful to wake up feeling good and hopeful about the future.


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Tina, so glad things are looking up :)
Mrs H


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Thanks, Mrs H!

Tina


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Hi-- anyone else out there ever feel like unzipping your body and stepping out of it? I'm 43 and I feel as if I've lost total control of my emotions! I started having hot flashes two years ago, and my doctor thought I was too young to be starting menopause.(Because my periods were still regular). Finally, after much coaxing, he put me on hormone pills. That helped with the sweats, but now my periods are coming every two weeks, and each time they do, I get migraine headaches that last for days. I'm very forgetful (I really thought I was losing my sanity) and I get so irritable! But the worst has to be the absolutely stupid stuff I come out with-- for example, I was calling a store to find out their store hours, and instead of asking the clerk "will you be open tomorrow?" I said "Will you be awake tomorrow?" Needless to say, the clerk laughed at me and I wanted to go through the floor(did I mention I was in a room full of people at the time?)
Anyway, just thought I'd share my symptoms with you gals, if any of you have said or done something embarrassing, I sure wish you'd tell me so I won't feel so dumb!! Thanks for listening-- it helps :)


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Frabee: We could be twins, except I'm 52! Seriously, though, I can relate to you. This past week I definitely wanted to unzip my body. I've had a terrible migraine that was longer and more intense than the ones I used to have. Also, I have times where I want to say a particular word, and another word comes out. I find the forgetfulness to be particularly embarassing since I prided myself on having a good memory. Mood swings and hot flashes are commonplace. I hope this stops sometime soon.


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cheerful, I forgot to mention one other symptom that I haven't heard too many admit to-- but I will-- gas!! It's so embarrasing,especially if I bend over. I never used to have this problem, so it must be menopause :( It's hard to be a dainty little dewdrop with this affliction, LOL.


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I too suffer from memory loss from time to time. I'm 45 and have just recently had some minimal signs of pre-menopause, but even minimally they are a pain in the &*%. At this point, the memory loss comes and goes. I am fortunate to have a girlfriend who is a physician and pointed out to me that it was just one of the side affects of menopause. So, I don't stress about it too much. I have enough going on in my life that requires as many cylinders as possible to fire as rapidly as possible. I also learned by giving birth to 3 children through C-Section that I have no dignity left. Therefore, if I have one of these lapse in memory I put it out there and say "Oh, don't mind me. I'm pre-menopausal". Most women appreciate the comment and have a good laugh. Men, well they are usually so stunned that I have a good laugh. This tactic may not work for any of you, but if you are lucky enough to find one that does, throw proper etiquette out the window and go for it!! Whatever gets you through!!!


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Frabee,

Are you taking a lot of soy supplements or have you added soy to your diet? Soy is notorious for generating a lot of gas.

Bullsigh


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Bullsigh, As far as I know, I'm not ingesting any soy. The only supplements/vitamins I take is vitamin B-12 shots. Could there be soy in my diet that I wouldn't know about?
Luvnola, I guess you're right-- after childbirth, we don't have too much dignity left! ;)
Oh, well, things will eventually get better-- til then, thank God we have each other to commiserate with.


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Frabee,

There is a lot of soy additives in processed food--but for me it was actual soy products like soy milk, soy shakes, and soy pills. It affected my mother that way too. When we stopped the soy--the gas problems went away.

Bullsigh


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I've been on Celexa for about 2 years and wellbrutin before that. When you see shows on tv that say "don't know what happened to her...she got off her meds"......I DON"T get off my meds. Don't know what I would do without them.

Rosie


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Well, gals, I did it again! Yesterday I was in the grocery store at the check-out, putting all my groceries (almost a full cart) up on the check-out belt. The clerk was ringing them in and I was chatting away happily with my sister when all of a sudden it hit me--- I forgot to bring money, cards, anything to pay with. In my purse was my empty wallet, car keys,etc. My sister didn't have enough money with her either, so I had to put everything back in the cart and tell the clerk that I would be right back with some money. (Good thing I don't live very far from the store.) She was very nice about it, and even helped me put the stuff back in the cart, but if looks could kill, the woman behind me in line would have terminated me right then and there. I was so embarrassed I cried going back home. Thank God for my sister, she was very understanding.But it goes to show just how forgetful I have gotten to be. To be honest with you, it scares me :(


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Wow, what a great thread! I can't even tell you guys how much of your stories sounds so familiar.

The sad thing is that I had to come to a message board to find people who KNOW what I'm talking about. I've been through three gynos so far, and they're clueless. My regular doctor was great with my husband, but with me, it's like forget it.

I'm tired of feeling like a whiner; the reg. dr. makes me feel that if I'd just stop complaining and haul myself up by my bootstraps, I'd be FINE.

I'm almost 43. I'm tired of being treated like a hysterical woman. I guess the thing that gets me is when I was younger, it was never hard to get a dr. to listen to me. Now that I'm no longer a girl, I guess I just don't count.

I know this will sound stupid, but it's like if I'm not a hot babe, I just feel like I don't exist anymore. When I was 20, I had already figured THAT out, but I had also determined I wasn't going to let anyone make me feel like I don't matter because I'm not young. I mean, if I live to be 80, I'm just slightly over past HALF my life - I've got another 40 years to go, and to be made to feel old and ugly and worthless?

Sorry for the rant...I should also explain my husband died last year, and his illness and the drs. who killed him pretty much dominated my every moment of existance for the past two years. I'm just getting out from under that horror, now to realize I'm a widow and old, ugly, etc.

So my stress levels the past two years have been as HUGE as they can be without keeling over and dying myself. My period stopped last year. None of the drs. I talked to seem to think it's IMPORTANT. Isn't it a little early for a total cessation?

I'm on a waiting list to see a gyno who is supposedly an expert on perimenopause and menopause. Only problem with that is the next appt is in freaking FEBRUARY!

I'd love to hear what anyone has to say, part. with my certainty that my life is over. And why women in this stage of life are treated like crap (including, unfortunately, by other women who apparently aren't in this horrible menopause pit.)


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Blairgirl, so glad you found this thread. Just want to share a few of my thoughts with you...
First of all, I'm so sorry that you lost your husband, and at such a young age. Second, you are NOT old, ugly and worthless. When I sometimes feel like that, I quote this to myself "...I am fearfully and wonderfully made."(Psalm 139:14). I am not preaching to you, just telling you what helps me.
Third,you have had enough on your plate to make anyone feel exhausted, physically and emotionally. I don't think you have given yourself enough time to recuperate. To become a widow and begin menopause at the same time-- older women than you find that hard to bear, just ask my Mother, she was 53 when my Father passed away, and she began her change of life too.
I know first hand what you mean about doctors not understanding women who begin the change in their early forties. My doctor kept insisting I was too young (I was 41 at the time, I'm 43 now). Finally, after much begging and coaxing, he started me on HRT. The difference with these meds is like day and night! That is not to say that I don't have my days (just read my previous posts), but at least I know that there are many others going through this right along with me, and that helps me a lot.
Don't worry that you sound like a whiner; you don't, and you can feel free to rant all you want, that's what we're here for...just knowing that there is someone out there who cares can help :)
I hope that I have been able to help, even if just a little bit. Hang in there, things will get better, but for goodness' sake, give yourself time to heal, and don't expect too much from yourself right now.


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Frabee, thanks for your insight. You've no idea how much better it makes me feel that someone who's BEEN there knows what I'm talking about - and you don't think I'm nuts!

I'm really not ugly (I just look kinda used up by all the stuff with my husband); I just FEEL ugly as if no one will listen to me if I'm not gorgeous. So now I'm putting some work into trying to lift myself out of this pit of despair I've been since my husband died.

Today wasn't a great day. I'm going to post a thread on it, but what I found in a nutshell is that I've got an incredible loss of bone density AND now I've got periodontal disease! The dentist keeps asking me if I'm diabetic or if I have AIDS (no to both.)

I don't know why I'm suddenly losing all my bone mass, and there may be a connection between losing bone mass in your bones and losing it in the bones that keep your teeth in place. What do they recommend? Actonel! Gawd, I MUST be old!


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I haven't read all the postings, but I think it might help you ladies to investigate meditation.

I have started doing this in the mornings for half an hour.

I think it has helped me to have more clarity in my thinking, become calmer and more positive.

I have to be disciplined with it, and I do a lot of reading.

I am 46 and in a topsy turvey state as well.

Hope this helps some people.

POPI


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Hello ladies.

Frabee...I think I'm experiencing the same problem with *gas* as you. I don't eat soy either. I'm also dealing with just plain ole stomach upset often, sometimes to the point of voiding the previous meal. Something else to discuss with the doctor at my next visit.

I've been having a tough month perimeno-wise. Yeah, the days I have overwhelming anxiety it just feels like my skin is too tight and I need to unzip it. I've not had any pip or vigor all month. Most days just doing the daily household chores is too much. I start doing dishes and I get distracted with something else. I start vacuuming and I end up cleaning out a closet or mowing the grass. I never seem to finish anything anymore and I feel like I'm walking around in a fog.

Popi, I've done yoga for years and it's not helping me one bit to cope with my mental state. The only relief I get from my symptom's is playing my violin. But of course even then I get disrupted with everyday life issues. I have had times though where I can't even concentrate to play and I just have to give up and put it away.


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RE: more.

Mrs. H...your post about your one Aunt sounds just like me. I'm to the point now I don't want to go anywhere, I don't want to see people and have to make small talk and be pleasant. I know I'm avoiding seeing people but I really don't care! I've had alot of anxiety this month and I've literally had to force myself to attend social function's that I couldn't avoid. One kind of funny thing though is I'm an ex-smoker and I haven't smoked for 20 years. Lately I constantly have the craving for a cigarette...it's a taste in your mouth that won't go away. The only thing that helps me get rid of it is to drink strong hot tea. But it's curious why this would happen now. It must be the constant onslaught of anxiety. I'm not tempted to smoke, not at all...just that nicotine taste in your mouth all the time is another annoying thing to deal with.


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hgtv, there have been times that I had to literally force myself to get out of the house because I didn't want to deal with anyone. I haven't really had much of an anger problem, probably because I was raised to keep it all in as a child, lol. Expression of anger was not allowed or encouraged in our home. Maybe dysfunctional, but true :) I'm not knocking my parents, because they are truly good decent people, but I learned to stuff my emotions, and still do to this day. It's part of that German stoic-ness, I suspect. Anyway, I remember reading something a couple of years ago that depression is just anger turned inward. I suspect that anxiety is related to that as well, or at least for me. I have had to work hard at trying to understand myself emotionally and mentally to come to any kind of resolution in all this. I don't by any means think that everything will be "okay" from now on, but I certainly feel better than I have in ten years. My journey through this, so far, has been one of self-discovery and self-examination, and complete re-evaluation of my values, goals, and beliefs. It took me 50 years to realize that it's okay if I am p*ssed off or don't like something or someone, and it's okay if I don't agree with anyone in a group of people. I spent all my life as a "pleaser", and there is certain value in being gracious and pleasant, but there is also value in standing your ground and looking at things from your own point of view and not feeling that you are inferior just because you are having an off day or don't feel like being perfect. Perfectionism is a trap that I lived my entire life in. It greatly contributes to anxiety, imo. I don't know if you enjoy reading, but I happened upon a book that I absolutely loved a few months ago. It is a fiction book (rare for me to read fiction), but it struck a resonant chord in me, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The title is "The Mermaid Chair" by Sue Monk Kidd. When you see it on the shelf, it looks like a children's book, but it's not. It's about a woman and her mid-life crisis, and the insight she gains from it. If you happen to see it on the shelf, and you enjoy reading, I recommend it highly.
Mrs H


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Thanks for the book recommendation, Mrs. H. I will definitely seek it out.

Thank you also for your very supportive words. I just hate that the anxiety I have too often turns into meanness. I have to fight it back or remove myself from the situation that's making me lose control. The worst part is I often open my mouth and say something extremely rude, that I wouldn't ordinarily say, and then of course I regret it as soon as the words are spoken (and stew about it for days afterwards) but it's like I'm possessed and I can't always keep control! I have absolutely no patience with people anymore and that's not like me. I'm usually a pretty easy-going person and can put up with alot of annoying behavior from people...boy...not anymore!

It's embarassing to say the least.


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It's so hard to fight the anxiety/meanness. I don't want to say these things, but I really do feel like I'm possessed sometimes. I normally have the patience of a saint, but it's getting rough around the edges.


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Feeling really lousy today. Had a fight with DH last evening; feel like hyperventilating and crying right now. If I could run away from home and everything, I would.


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Those of you who are having heavy periods, get your iron levels checked. Not just hemoglobin, but the more advanced iron tests. I had heavy periods for about 2 years. I realized I must be losing iron but thought, well, I eat meat, I must be making it up adequately. Was I wrong! I had symptoms such as heart palpitations, exhaustion, memory loss; that I attributed to menopause; they turned out to be caused by my severe anemia. Sure; I AM in perimenopause, but the anemia made it so much WORSE. After 7 months of iron supplementation the palpitations are gone (they actually stopped after 2 months of iron), and the memory is slowly improving. I'm still exhausted, but my doctor says I had been so anemic it could take a year to recover.

I had assumed that with the approach of menopause that my periods would gradually taper off. I never realized they would become really heavy instead, and that it would take such tolls on my health. Don't attribute everything to menopause! There may be a simpler answer, like anemia, that is more solvable short-term and will help take some of the load off..leaving you more resources to get through the rest.


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I have to call my GYN for an appointment for my annual. I need to do something about the hot flashes, depression, mood swings and constant crying. My husband thinks I'm using menopause as an excuse for my behavior. Don't know if he's right, or if the "change" has taken such a hold on me that I'm just spiraling downward. This has been going on for way too long. I don't know if HRT will help, or if I need some other kind of help.


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cheerful1, what kind of behavior does your husband think you are using menopause as an excuse for? Is it the crying, or other things? If you are constantly crying, I would be really concerned about that. I have occasional moments that I cry suddenly, but it's usually short-lived and I return to a more functional state. Do you work? Do you have hobbies that you enjoy? I don't mean to pry, but constant crying, at least to me, indicates more than just hormone changes. What's going on?
Mrs H


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Interesting title the OP wrote. I've been saying that EXACT SAME thing for a few years now!
I am NOT the same person as I once was. I don't know who I am, but I remember the old me, and I am not 'that' person anymore.

I read this entire thread earlier, but FORGOT most of it by now...(I will refer back again later).

I have been having a multitude of problems for many years now. Long story, but I can relate to MANY scenarios here.

Erratic periods, extreem mood swings, no focus/concentration, forgetting words or mixing words up, the whole wad. The ONLY thing I haven't had is 'night-sweats', which I DID want! LOL! (I figured I WANTED the sweats - would help to 'clean toxins out of my system' (?)) So far, no deal...

What I thot was odd...after ALL these years, I only started recongnizing any PMS symptoms while going thru this mess!
I started getting 'realy deeply depressed' and 'angry at the world', actually packed my bags one day to 'run away'...(kept them packed for many months!), ordered a train schedule to get somewhere else, HID it from my S/O, and so on and so forth. Took me several months to notice a pattern...and finally recognized that THAT ONE or TWO days of really bad depression was onset of period.
I also noticed breast tenderness, bloating, my uterus discomfort (swelling?), etc...which I had NEVER had before. My cramps progressively got worse (had tests done...nothing wrong).

Anyway, it's been a VERY long haul for me, and I'm tired.

Speaking of tired...I have zero energy most times, insomnia, (then when I DO sleep, it's a LOT!) Totally fatigued, etc.

I have a LOT to say in response to many of these threads - which I may get around to...or not.

BUT, I think it STINKS that all my life, all I ever heard about was "hot-flashes" and "night-sweats" and, more recent years "vaginal dryness".

I do not take any drugs except Xanax for the persistant anxiety/panic disorder I've had for - since I was about 36 or 38 yrs old. (I'm about 52 yrs old? I don't even know how old I am, and to do the math is a 'PROJECT' which I don't feel like wasting my brain on.)

I am anti-drugs as some here are. I've been trying to 'tuff-it-out', but I see no end in sight.
I see SO MANY commercials on TV for various drugs, & if you listen 'really fast', you MIGHT catch a PORTION of the long list of potential side-effects - many worse than what you're taking the drug for! (Then, eventually, the drug is pulled and law-suits are filed, etc. OR, the drug is 'shifted' to another group of individuals. OR, the drug is the SAME, but 'renamed'! lol!)
Whatever...I am glad that some people benefit from some of these potions. But, I personally feel like WE WOMEN and our KIDS are human guinnea pigs.

Case in point: Remember how POPULAR it was to give kids "rittilan" (however it's spelled...) because any kid that didn't sit still was ADD or ADHD? This (I call it a human guinea-pig study) went on for YEARS! We don't hear much about that TODAY, do we? NOPE! NOW, they decided to give it to ADULTS - people over 18!

The big new idea NOW is "AUTISM" or "AUTISM DISORDER"! (In fact, I just now did a search to get spelling correct, and first thing I clicked on was a 'Clinical Research Trial' for KIDS btwn ages of 6 and 17!)
https://www.autismclinicaltrial.com/index.aspx?SITE_ID=YAHOO&CAMPAIGN_ID =TITLE_5&CREATIVE_ID=AD_2&TC=55595

It's sad in our day with all the technology that is out there, we are having such a (tough) time in the medical field.
What's worse...having to go thru a miriad of tests and Docs to get something FINALLY diagnosed. Docs who are clueless and just brush things off. Docs who are 'brainwashed' (to make more money for the big companies).

OK, I must stop for now - I'm getting irate again...(and off-topic)
...But then, isn't that what all the menopause/peri-menopause is all about? Loss of concentration and confusion? LOL! (OK, It's not funny)


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THese have been great posts! I needed some validation this morning. As I was drinking my Breakfast BLend Starbucks, which I have to have to move this 53 year old body. FIrst I want to address the autism, I read yesterday where they think it is related to the shots kids get when they are little. Maybe so, but they have been getting them for decades. So I dont know about that one. It does seem more prevelant, but we have MANY more people on this planet than before, the odds always go up with numbers. Communication is better, we hear news as it happens (not always a good thing) For sure the commercials for drugs are almost every other one on tv. I know that drugs and therapy arent always "acceptable" But talking to someone that isnt emotionally connected to you can be a HUGE help. We (men and women) are controlled by our hormones. You know the wave at football games, thats what my hormones feel like on a daily basis. Now I do have good days. I am anti drug dealer durgs!. I think the Tylenol box has as many side effects and warnings as my Wellbutrin does. So much of that is the drug companies covering their butts. Does my rant sound like my coffee is kicking in yet? I love xanax but they treat it like cocaine in my city, you would think I had asked for morphine. I have been thinking about how miserable my mom was, she pretended she wasnt on her good days. I was just so self absorbed to notice how she was suffering. Cant ask her now, but I respect her alot more now. Do I have a point yet? Yeah, if there is something you can take to make things better for you and your family take it. Explain to the kids it isnt about them and they arent responsible for your happiness. Ask them to give you the wide berth I am sure you give them when they make mistakes and are emotional. We will all get thru this, who we have by ourselves when it is over will be forever friends. Peace, Shotzy Faith isnt faith until it is tested.


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I feel the same way. I've been so "not myself" for so long, I don't even know if the "old me" will ever come back. I feel the mood swings, hot flashes/sweats, no focus/concentration, forgetting words or mixing words up. Sometimes when I'm answering a question, the wrong word comes out. My husband has been on my back lately about different things, and I don't think he understands just what I'm going through. I want to run away and just be alone. I have no one I trust to talk to, except for this forum, which has been such a big help. Can you tell I'm having a bad day?


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Part of my problem is I don't think before I speak (I get that from my mother), and I tend to argue even when I'm wrong because I feel like I'm being put on the defensive. I hope that the HRT I've just been put on will relieve some of my anxiety (got a lot of it) which in turn should make me less impulsive/defensive.


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I've been on the HRT since November, but the anxiety is as bad as ever. I don't like arguing or getting mad at people, but I feel like I can't help myself. I used to be a lot calmer and relaxed, but I'm at my wits' end.


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RE: I don't even know me any more....

Hello all. I came across this site this am b/c I needed to know there are others out there that are going thru the same thing as me. I'm 41 and had my first hot flash at 33. Regular gynos are NO HELP! I see a Dr that specialized in women over 35 (perimenopause/menopause) and she is wonderful. I recommend a specialist to everyone as the typical family dr or regular gyno just don't know how to help. All they want to do is put us on THE PILL. I'm sure it works for some but I'm one of the ones that can't take it, not to mention it causes your leg veins to weaken and I have already had one surgery to remove horrible horrible varicose veins. (I'n not ditching on the Dr's its just this topic has been hush hush for the previous generations and therefore not completely understood by the average dr)
Anyway, I've been having symptoms on and off for the last 8 years... but since my 40th birthday things have gotten noticably stranger! I turned 41 in Sept and can I tell you I thought turning 40 was interesting- oh my! I have started mixing up my nouns- I really thought I was losing it till a friend told me she did the same thing. I'm weepy, and actually was chatting with my husband online a few mins ago and told him I had found this site- that I have been feeling OFF lately, and was crying right that min. He wanted to know why ?????and couldn't get over the fact that I was crying RIGHT THEN. hahahah- told him no reason just feel like it.
Anyway, the nightsweats, hotflashes and trouble sleeping are common in my life- as a matter of fact I will have "nap jerks" all night long unless I take Valerian Root. The jerking will keep my husband awake so its either take the herb or he sleeps on the sofa... so I take the herb. It seems to help alot. (I am also one of the anti-drug people. I don't like prescriptions and will do anything I can to avoid them)
Not only are the mood swings like riding the Flying Dutchman at the fair, but I have started to have aches and pains and stiffness. PLEASE I'M ONLY 41! I'm adopted so I have no family history or blueprint to help me navigate this minefield.
My husband is always telling me I should workout- due to the fact I am of small stature and "at risk for osteoporosis". I HATE to lift weights and I have to be so careful of what I do with my legs- alot of stuff causes them to ache. I do go regularly to a horse barn and work around there- I figure that counts! LIfting 40lb hay bales, and scooping manuer(sp?) Oh and my spelling has gone downhill too! As a matter of fact I'm having a hard time typing up this post! I keep mixing up my letters. AAAHHHHHH!
I have one daughter that will be 20 next month (Jan) and my younger daughter is 16. All I can say is bless those with small children cause I don't know if I could handle it. I'm so thankful my girls aren't small. And actually the teenage years have been very fun. A little challenging at times with attitude, but overall I think definitely my favorite stage in child rearing. OH man- here I go getting off topic- did I mention being fuzzy in the brain and as far as concentration, its out the window. It takes me longer to get anything done, I forget stuff so easily and go overwhelmed over things I used to could do with one hand/eye tied behind my back! Speaking of eyes- mine don't focus as easily as they used to- any advice about that??? I guess I'll stop for now- I really need to get my daugther up and doing school- we homeschool and have for the last 14 years. (This is our last year- not sure whether to cry or jump up and down).
Thanks for reading my post and for posting yourselves- it really helps to know I'm not crazy! I have wanted to be like sleeping beauty (of course!) and be able to sleep thru all of this and wake up on the other side.
If I can offer any advice I'd say find something you enjoy doing, and do it. Take the time for yourself and allow yourself to say NO. I find a great de-stressor for me is petting/holding my dogs and birds and taking care of the horses. When I can spend some down time just doing that- I can be more relaxed and peaceable around my family.


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RE: I don't even know me any more....

Hi everyone, I can definitely relate to all posts! I am 43 years old and been going thru this since I was 36, with no end in sight! Though I haven't had many hot flashes, the mood swings are horrendous! I really wouldn't be a bit surprised if my husband and kids aren't plotting to knock me off it's been so bad. I find I no longer have any interest in ANYTHING I used to love to do, I'd rather do nothing! If I'm not up all night because I can't sleep, then I'm in bed by seven because I feel constantly exhausted. As for a sex life, what is that? I have absolutely no interest, which isn't going over well with my husband, and it's been this way for six years now, he doesn't understand that I have NO desire! I no longer have the emotional energy to listen to my children's life upsets, it's like it is just to much of a bother and I'd rather not hear it, which means I can't even give them decent advice as I don't feel an attachment to what their saying. I feel either mad, sad, or just want to be left alone, I cry at the drop of a hat for no reason. I've tried Estroven, which did nothing, St John's Wort, yet again nothing, was on 100mg of Zoloft for over a year, still had panic attacks and felt no different in my mood, (unhappy all the time). I've even gotten to the point that I feel what is the use in doing anything, cleaning house, etc., I find myself going for days at a time without even brushing my hair and teeth, I don't try to fix myself up anymore, walk around all day in my PJ's, don't care to go anywhere, even going to the grocery store is a chore now. My periods are on again off again for months at a time, sometimes months without, then wham, bleed for three weeks. Life has no joy in it and I'm tired of this peri-menopause crap! One good thing though, I'm not suicidal!


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RE: I don't even know me any more....

I have been a lurker on bathrooms, cleaning, and organizing forums for a couple of years, but this forum has inspired me to actually join up and participate! How relieved I am to find this discussion!

I am a 51 year old stay-at-home mom, am menopausal, married at 38, adopted a baby at 42 after unsuccessful attempts to overcome infertility caused mainly by endometriosis, took Yasmin birth control pills prescribed by my OBGYN "to ease me through menopause" for I can't remember how many years --- maybe 5.

I cannot tell that the BPC did much good. I managed to lose my libido, my temper, my memory and focus anyway! Intense headaches would rob me of several days a month. A good night's sleep eluded me, and I had night sweats nearly every night. About 6 months later, the hot flashes began in earnest. After a lifetime of sharp wit and wordplay, I could not complete a simple request for my husband to set the table and empty the trash --- everything came out wrong, backwards; I couldn't call a person's name, think of just the right word, etc. I was certain I had early stage Alzheimers.

Looking back over the last ten years, I am haunted by my extremely angry outbursts directed at my husband and child. Occassionally I have "run away" for a few hours - so scary for my family. I have had moments of intensely hating myself, guilt over outbursts of anger, regret over mean words, and NO patience with a child. Guilt over mistakes LONG past and forgiven began to resurface and overwhelm me. I did not know what the dickens was happening to me, but after reading your posts, I am guessing it was peri-menopausal stuff. Finally I asked my OBGYN for Zoloft which had helped me once in my late 20's. After 6 months on Zoloft, I was easier to live with, but there was more of me to love --- 30 pounds more! I switched to Cymbalta and have stopped gaining the weight. But am having episodes of "lite" depression still.

Concurrently, I was diagnosed with higher than average risk for breast cancer, entered a breast wellness program where I was urged to stay away from all estrogen (fuels some breast cancers). It took time for my OBGYN and the breast specialists to agree on my treatment, but when I finally did quit BCP, the sweats, hot flashes, etc. all increased, but Halleluia! the headaches disappeared!! The breast wellness people recommended Vitamin E for the hot flashes and night sweats. Generally I am skeptical about miracles wrought by vitamins, but, by George!, it worked!! They are greatly diminished.

I so, so sympathize with everyone who has posted here. I, too, thought menopausal symptoms were limited to sweats, flashes, and moodiness. I was clueless about the memory loss, the fuzzy-headedness, the loss of focus, the depression, the sleep disruptions, and the extreme nature of it all. My heart goes out to those who have lost their self-confidence ---- while I don't feel competent to work for pay again --- drilling 2nd graders in subtraction and singing in the church choir, caring for my elderly mother, tending our pets, housework, etc. is about all I'm up for. But to not be able to leave the house, wow! I agree with the poster who copes by reminding herself she "is fearfully and wonderfully made." We all are, and need to remind ourselves daily.


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RE: I don't even know me any more....

I was looking at some of my older posts, and not too much has changed. I miss the old optimistic me, and hate the always tired, anxious, depressed me.

According to my GYN, I'm post-menopausal. She lowered the dosage of my HRT, which is bringing my hot flashes back.


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RE: I don't even know me any more....

I'm amazed that nothing has changed over the years that I've posted. My husband tells me that I'm "putting on my nice act" for people, but he knows the negative, judgmental person I really am. A far cry from when he used to call me a Pollyana. I still hate the "always tired, anxious, depressed me".

As I said in another thread, if I had a lot of money, I'd quit my job, leave my marriage and go somewhere to be alone and re-assess my life. I really feel lately that I've wasted my 57 years of life, and the next 20, 30 or whatever years I have left, I'm not looking forward to.


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RE: I don't even know me any more....

This is a very difficult time in our lives. I think the only people who can truly understand the physical and mental challenges we are going through are other menopausal women. Many of the doctors seem to feel we're exaggerating the situation, some act like the symptoms we're describing have nothing to do with our hormones, and most have little in the way of information and help to offer. So we really have to stick together. This forum is a God send. I wish more ladies would post, as we can draw so much comfort from knowing there are others who care. Having said all this, I know how serious the depression part of this experience is, as I have struggled with it for many years. My advice -- medication may be necessary to help you get through this mentally draining, depressing place. I've been taking Welbutrin as it does not cause weight gain. Everyone is different, so you may have to try different types of meds to see which one works best with your body's chemistry. Second, if there is any kind of women's support group in your area, I know you would find it helpful. We can't do this alone or we'll continue to feel miserable and hopeless. There are older women out there who have survived this and lived to tell the tale. We need to hear from them! I believe life will get better for us -- but we're going to need to draw on every support system we can find, from books, to friends, to doctors, to people who have been through this, to exercise and nutrition and to God. I am here, I am struggling too. But every day, I tell myself, I am getting better. I'm literally working on changing the negative thoughts I've been repeating in my head. Some days are better than others. I may not return to being the spry, life of the party, eternally optimistic lady I was -- but I'll tell you what, I'm a heck of a lot smarter now, and, I think -- someday I'll be a lot stronger too from having faced this hard time in our lives and finding ways to deal with it. Sending positive thoughts and prayers to all who are going through this struggle.


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RE: I don't even know me any more....

Dera Paulas2cents - I suffer with anxiety and now depresssion to boot. As I will be going back to my Psyc Dr. and ask to try again for an anti depressant/anxiety, can you tell me how long it took for the Welbutrin ti kick in? My guess is probably 6 weeks or so according to what I have been reading. But most importantly is it helping you with depression and anxiety. I am just trying to get my head right to go back to trybg meds to help with this. I am tired of suffering.
Thanks - and hopefully other women will respond as well - I need the moral support more than anything right now.
p.s.My postings started on the Anxiety thread as well as palpataion threads.


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RE: I don't even know me any more....

Hmmm...i wrote a lengthy response to your post, eileenfishing, and it has mysteriously disappeared. On the chance that it doesn't, I'm going to write a new one. After a week you'll feel like you have more energy. After two weeks, you'll notice that your depression is lifting, and hopefully because of that, your anxiety will not be as bad. I have a small bottle of Xanax in my purse for those occasions when I feel my anxiety suddenly surge. This happens far less frequently now that I am officially post menopausal. These pills were a very low dose, and sometimes just biting half of one would take the edge off. Welbutrin is a power hitter drug for depression. You will not gain weight from it, and it won't affect your sex drive the way many SSRI's can do. There is no reason you should keep suffering as you have. The Welbutrin will help restore your sense of well being. If you've been feeling too tired to exercise, you might find that you now have the energy (and will) to do so. Even if it's just take a brisk walk. I know that things can seem very bleak, and depression is like an ugly shadow that stirs up fear in your soul. Tell yourslf that things are going to get better. I believe your life will take a big turn for the better as soon as you get on the right medication and the right dose. Please let us know what your doctor says and what you decide to do. Blessings, Paula


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RE: I don't even know me any more....

Thanks for the response! I have my next visit the middle of this month. I will discuss Welbutrin (or like meds) with my Dr. I have tried SSRIs which are very tough on my stomach, so perhaps Welbutrin could help. I tried a tricyclic (Elavil) but I ended up with a rapid heart beat and high blood pressure. My bp is just a wee bit high most often normal so I knew it was attributed to the med. Hopefully Welbutrin will not have the same effect. I may just be one of the rare folks who has great difficulty taking antidepressants. I am also going to be following up on other potential items such as revisiting my spiritual beliefs, and suppliments. I so do not want to stay in this mind dungeon and am fighting to get out!


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RE: I don't even know me any more....

I'm amazed at the effort it's been taking just to get through the day. Zero energy or desire to do anything.

I've been thinking about retiring in October because I can't do it anymore (32 years employed), but I don't know if being home with my husband constantly is good for me either.

When I see my GYN in October, I'll talk to her about Wellbutrin or other options.


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RE: I don't even know me any more....

I am 42 and have been miserable for the better part of the last 9 years. I used to think it was my job making me so unhappy so I left it for a lower paying job which I hated even more! I worked there for a year and a half and finally got fired which is what I thought I really wanted because I had lost all desire to work. It didn't help that my new boss constantly made me feel as though I could do nothing right.This was not the person I knew to be myself. I used to be out going professional and ambitious but I had lost all of my will to work any longer. During the first 6 months while I'm on unemployment I cried most days and didn't want to leave the house. I told myself I was trying to figure out what I really wanted in life and did so by reading books and scouring the internet for information on different careers. Eventually, I found out what's really going on with me was my hormones were making me insane. I never felt so alone in my entire life. My mother didn't offer much in the way of support because while she had a tough time with menopause, it was of a different kind. She had hot flashes and the night sweats and the crying all the time but my symptoms have been different than her. I'm not yet in menopause I guess, but perimenopause? I'm obsessed about my symptoms and spend all of my free time, at work, scouring the internet for information on how to help myself because I do not trust doctors. The last time I saw my gyno she was removing the IUD that she had inserted 3 months prior that escalated all of my symptoms. Since having the IUD I have had cystic acne the makes me want to wear a bag over my head. Speaking of bags, I also have had chronic sinus issues for 9 years that no prescription has helped and this leaves me with a bag under my right eye that no expensive eye cream can help. I have spent thousands of dollars on credit seeing 2 other doctors who tested my hormones and determined I was low on progesterone and vitamin D of all things, I live in the sunshine state! Have taken compounded, natural progesterone and felt better long enough to find a new job. Then my dog of 13 years died, followed ny my stepfather of 37 years dying. During the last several months of taking care of my stepfather I stopped taking care of myself and find myself back to feeling hopeless. I feel like no one understands what I am going through or wants to be around me. Going to see the same gyno today and plan to discuss whether or not she can help me. I need to feel better NOW. I am so miserable, I can't stand myself!


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RE: I don't even know me any more....

I'm retiring on October 31. Seeing my GYN in November. Maybe she can help me. Right now I'm a mess of emotions, mostly negative. I'm exhausted, cranky, wound up.

I don't know exactly what a nervous breakdown is, but I feel like I'm close to having one.


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RE: I don't even know me any more....

I have felt like this for 14 years, ever since I started
Early menopause. My life changed so drastically
I don't even know who I am.

My kids just keep saying they want their mom back,
But the depression and anxiety are killing me. I've
Been on every antidepressants on market.

I just switched primary Dr and OB Dr. My hormone
Levels were undectable. I've started testosterone and
Minniville patch. I could tell a difference In a few
Days with my depression on the estrogen. My
Dr had to up testosterone because it was still
To low. I think I am beginning to notice a little
Difference.

Anyway, ready for it to really kick in so I can have
My life back

I've also started taking lots of vitamins along with
Prescription vitamins since I was deficient in a few.


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