Maybe I’m Losing It: Maybe it’s Perimenopause


When I turned 42, it felt like the wheels were falling off. After surviving the shutdown and navigating endless post-Covid infection issues, I found myself continuing to struggle. I haven’t slept well in years, so I figured this explained many of the symptoms I was experiencing: night sweats, brain fog, irritability, weight gain (especially around my waist) and racing, uncontrollable thoughts. It was the joint pain in my hips that sent me down a rabbit hole of “what-if’s” and really put a damper on my physical well-being.

Truthfully, I haven’t felt like “myself” in a long time.

It was only after a recent health debacle that sent me to numerous doctors – who prescribed several “band-aids” of antibiotics, anti-virals, steroids, sleep medications, and anti-anxiety/depression meds) – that I finally found my answer.

I am in perimenopause.

Perimenopause refers to the 10+ years BEFORE menopause. The average age for menopause in the US is around 50 years old, and it’s considered “normal” to experience it anywhere between 40 and 60. That means that perimenopause can start in your 30s. By the time I got my “diagnosis,” I felt relieved. I felt reassured that the way I feel is a normal part of aging, and thankful that there isn’t anything wrong with me. But I also began to question why our mothers and aunts haven’t shared going through this – with us, or at least warned us to expect it.

Over time I learned that while this stage of perimenopause absolutely sucks, help is available. 

I started to follow an OB/GYN and menopause practitioner in Texas, Dr. Mary Claire Haver. I read her books and follow her social media account, and began talking to the friends I knew were struggling with some of the same issues. Once I’d educated myself on the “new” perimenopause and some of its facets, I felt better able to self-advocate for my medical care. I found a naturopath that worked with me for close to a year. She monitored my symptoms, took labs, and recommended supplements; eventually prescribing hormone replacement therapy. After some trial and error, I feel I’m in a much better place. My perimenopause symptoms are now well-managed and I feel better able to cope with what will happen next. I’d forgotten what it felt like to sleep through the night. For some reason we are taught that it’s normal to get up to go to the bathroom every 3 hours after having babies.

But it isn’t! I’m happy to say that I don’t do that on a regular basis anymore. I sleep through the night, and it is magical. 

I wanted to use this opportunity to share some of the changes I’ve made over the past year which have actively helped me manage my perimenopause symptoms. While it is normal for every woman to go through this stage in life, suffering through it isn’t necessary. 

1. Prioritizing Sleep

I typically start winding down as soon as I’ve put my elementary school age kids to bed. I am also cutting back on alcohol. While my naturopath reminds me that there are good antioxidants in red wine, I know that too much alcohol too close to bedtime means a night of poor sleep, and a rough day afterwards. I am often faced with this choice between wine or sleep, and I’ll almost always choose sleep. 

2. Diet

I began intermittent fasting, started taking anti-inflammatory supplements (recommended by my doctor), and increased my protein intake. The Galveston Diet book helped me understand what I needed to do to feel my best, and my naturopath approved the changes that I made. 

3. Lift Heavy

At the gym, I reduced my cardio and signed up for whole body strength classes. I bought a weighted vest online and started taking more walks. My goal as a pediatric OT has always been to be able to physically lift my clients when needed, and as a mom I want to keep up with my busy boys. I don’t want to die from complications secondary to osteoporosis, and I know that my muscles and bones are important. I want to age gracefully, and enjoy this time of my life.  

4. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

I started out with an Estradiol cream, and now use a patch that is replaced weekly. I take progesterone at night, and it has saved my life. The birth control pills that many of us took in our youth were synthetic/chemical hormones, where the HRT that I use now are bio-identical hormones. In theory are better for us. HRT has had a bad reputation for a long time, but there is now plenty of new research to debunk the old information. Starting HRT is a deeply individual decision that should not be taken lightly, but please find a medical practitioner who understands the current research and doesn’t scare you with the “old news” about HRT.  

We need to start talking about perimenopause. I felt moved to share my experience with you because nobody shared it with me. There are several celebrities opening up about perimenopause – Drew Barrymore, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Oprah to name a few – I’d encourage you to listen to them if if helps you understand this phase in life. I love to follow the Holderness Family, and their video about “Perry Menopause” cracks me up. There is a private medical practice locally that some of my friends have had success with, Lifestyles by Noor, or you can find a registered menopause specialist here.

Most of all, it’s important to talk about perimenopause, menopause and other issues with our sisters, girlfriends, and coworkers who are also struggling. As women, we need to know that we are not alone, and that there is nothing “wrong” with us. Most of all, we need – and deserve – to start feeling more like “ourselves.” 


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