Menopause, Menopause Symptoms, Mood, Permenopause

Menopause and Self-doubt

Since first grade, I’ve loved to write.  I began with stories for my dolls, moved to a column in my high school paper, and then published books for kids and adults.

In 2006, I began studying for an MFA in Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.  I relished the work I did for this degree, from the critical essays to the picture books to the novel I completed as my final creative thesis.  I graduated on a cold January afternoon (Vermont knows cold!), warmed up and ready to take on the world with my newly honed skills.

Then WHAM!

I couldn’t write.  I didn’t write.  My mind spun with negative thoughts about my talent and my future as an author.  I hit a wall of self-doubt and discouragement.  For a year, I barely composed anything but emails and shopping lists.

Like the sky opening up after a morning of  gloom, my despondence lifted a year later.  Soon I was at the keyboard again, pounding away, working on a new novel.  That’s when I put it all together and figured out my year of self-doubt was brought on by the hormonal roller coaster of menopause.

I tell this story not for sympathy.  As I said, I’m now pounding the keys (not sure how great the words are, but I’m cranking them out).

I tell the story because  self-doubt is one of the symptoms of menopausal moodiness, and I wish I had known.  I don’t know how much that would have changed things, but knowledge, sometimes, can be a chunk of the menopausal battle.

So spread the word!

Photo:  Thanks go to Facebook  for the upbeat graphic.

Comments please!   Leave a thought, no matter how brief, below by clicking “comments.”

Menopause, Mood, PMS

Paper Plate Menopause Lady: A Craft Project

Phew!  My friend Lisa Flinn and I just turned in a manuscript to Abingdon Press for a book of children’s programs: crafts,song, stories, games, explanations, snacks, prayers.  I’m beat, but not too beat to write up one more craft, a craft just for you!  PAPER PLATE MENOPAUSE LADY!

Those old time paper plates with the fluted edges aren’t very good for serving food, but they’re great for crafts.  Google paper plate crafts + images to see paper plates turned into everything but a workable kitchen sink.  So before I give myself a break from fluted paper plates, I have a craft for you.   She’s easy.  She’s fun.  AND she will help you express your moods kindly and gently, so family and friends will have fair warning..

Color your face when you are happy and the hormones are rolling you merrily along.

Color your face when the winds of  the Great Pause are turning that smile upside down.

No need to add age spots or wrinkles, but do color or glue/tape/staple on some hair.

Add a hanger so you can wear Paper Plate Menopause Lady around your neck.

 Simply flip her to the mood that suits you at the moment.  If you like, say this poem to all you meet, by way of explanation:

If Menopause Lady sports a frown,

That means I’m feeling oh so down,

When Menopause Lady’s mouth is up,

Life’s  as happy as a  buttercup!

I’d love to see your Paper Plate Menopause Lady when she’s finished!  Do send photos!

PS. If you’re on the younger side, consider making a Paper Plate Menopause Lady or a Paper Plate Pregnancy Lady.  You’ll have to write your own poem, though.

Around the Year in Children’s Church will be out in about six months. I’ll send an update when the book is available.  Although it’s written for Children’s Church (creative programing for young kids while adults are attending the worship service),the ideas also work well for Sunday school or preschools.

Menopause, Menopause Symptoms, Mood

Menopausal Spinning

Spinning!

There’s the good kind.

The Tilt-a-whirl, if you’re a ride person like me.

The salad spinner my daughter Kath swears by.

The cycling class my daughter Laura loves.

Then there’s the bad sort of spinning.

The car that does a 180 on an icy road.

The roulette wheel if you’re a compulsive gambler.

The bout of vertigo that knocked me flat last winter.

And there’s another kind of spinning that can be good or bad.

Mind spinning.

A spinning mind is great when you’re working on an invention or plans to redo the family room or a Jeopardy question, but when your mind spins with worry or anger or self-doubt, it’s the pits.

A few years ago, I read an article that said women tend to let a problem spin and spin, which can lead to some pretty miserable days and nights and sometimes weeks, months, and years.  Men, on the other hand, let the problem tumble in their brain for a shorter amount of time, solve it or come to terms with it, and then give it the old heave ho.

Hmm.

That’s an “admit the men might be right in this area” kind of hmm.

Menopausal moodiness can turn a girl into an unhappy top.  It’s like the hormones jump onto the thoughts, and together, they go round and round and round and round, and they don’t know how to …

STOP!

To those of you not there yet or in the midst, beware the spinning top!  Even if you can’t stop it, you can sometimes slow it down by recognizing that menopausal moodiness exacerbates negative and troublesome thoughts.

Meditation, exercise, rest,engaging conversations, meaningful work and projects, and happy diversions can help.  And then there’s always a cold beer with a male buddy in a funky pub.  (Well the pub doesn’t actually have to be that funky.)

Ask him if his mind ever twirls ad infinitum with negative and worrisome thoughts.  If he says, “No,” offer to buy him another beer and see if he’ll share a few testosterone laced trade secrets.  Do let us know!

The Top:  When I was a little girl, my great-aunt kept just a few toys at her house.  They toys lived there;  my brother  and I were not allowed to bring them home.  My favorite was this Mickey Mouse top. When I grew up, I got brave enough to ask her for it.  Now it’s one of my finest treasures, rusty spots and all.

Menopause, Menopause Symptoms, Mood, Perimenopause

The NOT Silent Treatment

Here’s a joke sent our way by a high school friend:

A husband and a wife have just had a heated argument.  They are giving one another the silent treatment.

The husband does not want to blow his cool and start speaking to his wife.  However, he needs her to wake him up at five a.m.  He’s catching an early morning business flight.  (No working alarm clocks in this household, I guess.)  He writes her a note:  “Please wake me at five a.m.”

He leaves the note in a place where he knows she will find it.

The next morning, to his chagrin, he doesn’t wake up until nine a.m.  OH NO!

Furious, he gets out of bed.  He’s off to find his wife. This time for LOUD fussing.  But first, he looks down at the covers.   Near his pillow is a note:  “It’s five o’clock.  Wake up.”

The silent treatment has failed him.

Many women confess that they feel uncomfortable telling others when they are sad, grumpy, or jumpy from hormonal woes.   I know that’s how it is with me.  I wonder why?

Is there something about hormonal funks that whisper, “Shhh.  Keep it to yourself.”

Are we sometimes silent because we’re embarrassed about our moodiness and our inability to snap out of it?

But the silent treatment doesn’t help our partners or our friends,and it sure doesn’t help us.

Honesty is always the best  policy when it comes to the nastiness of hormones.  We can’t get help or comfort or understanding if we are silent.

Shout it from the rooftops!  Speak up!  Banish the days of the silent passage.  Let others know you are having troubles.

And let those who love you shower you with love.  Loud love.  Quiet love.  And all the love in between.

Photo:  Speaking of the silent treatment, wouldn’t you like to know what the Mona Lisa was thinking as Leonardo painted this picture?  A penny for you thoughts, Mona Girl.