Here is another story from a woman experiencing menopause that was told to me last week.

She 52 and over the last 7 years went from exercising 5 times a week to having to slow down and being tired. A lot.

She ran half marathons, did kick boxing, gave track training, had a big garden to maintain but she noticed she didn’t feel like doing her sports so intensively anymore so she stopped her kick-boxing and cut down on her running a bit. She didn’t connect this to hormonal changes in her body.

A year ago they decided to doing something more peaceful and quiet for their holidays. So instead of motorcrossing through Hunduras they went kite surfing ! 🙂

On the first day of her holiday her period started. And it didn’t just start, her body emptied itself. She bled a tremendous amount. When she called her GP she was told to just wait it out. It was menopause and the worst thing that could happen was fainting. They spent the holiday learning to do actual restful things like laying in a hammock and going to the beach. And yeah, they did do a bit of kitesurfing even though the bleeding made her very tired.

It lasted for 5 weeks. After that she decided to not go back to her GP because she had heard stories of women having their uterus removed or cauterised (dichtbranden) and she didn’t want any of that. There surely was a better way.

When she again started bleeding heavily for weeks she went to a Chinese healer who did acupuncture on her. A day later the bleeding had stopped. This healer also told her that her spleen (milt) was not working well. If it had, the bleeding would not have happened in this dramatic way. She asked her if she had become forgetful by any chance. And yes, she did. This was, or so the acupuncturist explained, because the body as a whole does the remembering all the way through in the level of the cells. And by bleeding so heavily her body couldn’t hold on to the memories because so many cells left her body. She was told to eat a warm breakfast which would help her spleen not have to work so hard and .. take it slow.

So that’s what she did, taking it slow, even though it does take some getting used to. She simply has to. The body demands it of her. After having worked for a couple of hours with a client in a wheelchair she is completely exhausted and needs to sleep. When she has to work in the afternoons she stays away from her big garden in the morning because if she goes outside she knows she will happily flutter from one job to the next and be wasted before work. She has to plan her sports very carefully now in order to have enough energy left for other stuff that needs or wants to happen.

Her period hasn’t fully stopped yet. And whenever she bleeds for longer than a week she intensifies her efforts on following up the advise of the acupuncturist and eats her warm breakfast and takes her rest as a good girl.

From running marathons to being tired

And this change in her body has had a blessing in disguise. She came to me for consulting because whenever she was tired and sat down to rest her mind would become restless and she would succumb to a need to eat half a jar of cookies or she would watch tv or do something on her computer or phone which would then intensify the exhaustion so that she could finally surrender to it. She didn’t like this compulsive behaviour and wanted to investigate it.

Through my questions she found out that her restlessness was about chores she had to do to keep up somewhat of an appearance of neatness and tidiness in her home and garden. But actually she didn’t care that much about the world knowing that she was a messy person. It was the meaning that was attached to the messiness that she found out, mattered very much to her. I am not good enough. That’s what the messiness meant. She was not in touch with this opinion about herself. Instead she felt the restlessness which then would result in taking actions that were unconsciously designed to show that she was at least doing her best. When sitting down to rest her body she was not doing her best so then her mind would insist on continuing with her to list in her head. And eating away the uncomfortable feeling.

She realised that it was not the opinion that she had of herself that caused the restlessness but the unwantedness of it. She had to take action to hide it from herself, always proving that she was indeed good enough because, look, she was doing her best at least! Now that she has uncovered this strategy of hiding the opinion from herself she can finally stop proving the opposite.

And that opinion of I am not good enough? It might leave her system one day or it might not. And it doesn’t really matter because being good enough, compared to what? How can you ever measure such a thing? It’s part of her knowing of her current reality right now. No need to hide or disprove it anymore. And she is free to live her life the way she wants to and her body needs her to. But maybe she will find that she needs less rest in the future because it is clear that it cost her a lot of energy to hide the unwanted opinion from herself. Always doing, always fluttering from one thing to the next, not being able to sit still for a moment. Restless in her mind if she did sit still, needing to further exhaust herself into surrendering to rest.

So the baseline of her story is, menopause can totally change the intensity of the output your body is able to generate and sustain. Going from a marathon runner to somebody who needs to sleep during the day. But I am very curious to find out if her energy levels have increased in the future due to not having to invest so much anymore in being good enough.