"I just don't feel normal. I miss feeling like myself."
"I'm much more irritable than I used to be; everything seems to grate on my nerves."
"I can't seem to keep my focus; my attention span and decision making skills seem to have digressed to that of a 12 year old."
"Why can't I stay motivated? I used to be involved in so many things and never had this much trouble staying organized and on task."
"I don't seem to have any energy. I'm tired all. the. time."
"Where is my brain?!"
I'm going to allow myself to be vulnerable for a minute.
These are comments and thoughts I've had for the last year or more, and I had no idea what was causing me to feel this way. I have avoided committing to anything extra because I didn't feel like I could handle anything outside of my normal responsibilities (home and homeschool), and even in those I felt like I was drowning. Things were constantly not being completed (think easy things, like laundry and meal planning), usually because I ran out of time. When one afternoon I noticed two hours had passed since I sat down to plan a week's worth of meals - and I still wasn't done - I realized something was wrong. Why couldn't I stay focused? What is wrong with me?
And that's why I want to write this post. I honestly thought there was something wrong with me, as in this is something I needed to fix. But I couldn't fix it. At least not by will power alone. I prayed in tears for God to fix me then. I can't do it...please will you help me get myself together? Truth be told, I wondered if He heard me because I continued in my plight. But not for long.
Something that had never occurred to me was the idea that perhaps these new issues were stemming from hormonal changes. I knew changes were coming, but I hadn't had hot flashes, skin issues, libido changes, or any of the other typical menopausal experiences I've often heard about.
Every woman is aware of the inevitable blight of menopause. We begin hearing of this impending dark cloud somewhere around puberty, and even though to a teenager it seems to be light years away, it slowly encroaches on the active, healthy, middle-aged female like a bandit.
But what baffled me is that I am likely a good decade away from menopause...so what in the world is going on in me?
After a complete melt-down during which I hit rock bottom in my bewilderment and near depression, I did what any logical, prudent, and desperate person would do. I googled it.
What I found absolutely astonished me. I found article after article, blog post after blog post written by women who have experienced the same things in their early 40's. One blog was even entitled "The Perimenopause Blog - Yes It's Real, and No You're Not Going Crazy!"
OH. MY. GOODNESS. You mean I'm not the only one? I'm really not losing myself?
I saw a list of 35 possible symptoms of peri-menopause (which typically begins manifestation during the early 40's), and I was experiencing 19 of them! Increased headaches (particularly migraines I've seen listed elsewhere) was one symptom listed, which I have had periodically over the last several years (maybe two or three a year). However, last September I had the heavyweight champion of all migraines in my estimation. This dude landed me in the emergency room with stroke-like symptoms, complete with slurred and garbled speech, droopy face, weak right side, vertigo, and double-vision. It turned out to be a six-day-long Complex Migraine without a headache. Go figure. I like to refer to it as the kick-off party for this whole peri-menopause thing. That migraine occurred over the week of my 41st birthday.
During a conversation with a dear friend (my sister for all intents and purposes), she mentioned to me that at a recent doctor's visit with another friend who is fighting leukemia, the doctor discussed a possible magnesium deficiency with the patient. Our cells use magnesium to build their cell walls and to generate energy, among hundreds of other functions. As I began researching this, I discovered that magnesium has historically been most commonly consumed through our water supply. However, with our typical city water supply systems which include the addition of fluoride, the body is unable to absorb whatever magnesium might be in our water because fluoride is an inhibitor to the mineral absorption.
So I went to the natural food health store in our area to find some magnesium. I had read that there are multiple ways to take supplements of this mineral: in capsules, oil, powder, or in magnesium bath salts. I walked into that store with the intention of finding the powder form (I could spread my dose over the course of the day and thus improve absorption) and the bath salts. The salts allow the body to absorb the mineral transdermally (through the skin), which means it is even more readily absorbed into the system.
Here's what I want you to see. All these things happened within days of each other, and they were all leading up to this:
I walk into the store, and immediately to my left is an attractive, older woman with a table of products in front of her. We made eye contact and smiled, and she asks if I would be interested in any of her bath salts she's promoting.
Well. I came in looking for bath salts.
None of hers were magnesium salts, but it started our conversation. I told her what I was looking for and why, and she immediately said, "I've got JUST the thing. Come over here."
She took me to the vitamin/mineral supplements part of the store, and showed me this.
Information about this product.
Now let it be known that I am no health professional nor am I selling this stuff. I am just a satisfied customer that feels like I've struck gold. There's enough to share, so I'm putting it out there for anyone else who may have been desperate enough to google or click through facebook to read this.
This product is a combination of different phenotypes of maca root, a naturally harvested root similar to radishes that grows high up in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The Peruvians have been using this as a supplement for hundreds of years. When it is harvested, there are several colors of this root, each color a distinguished type of maca. Each type is an aid to the various issues that arise in our bodies from going through this transitional period. This product combines certain phenotypes of the maca root that, quite literally, get to the root of the problem: hormonal imbalance. Only the beauty of it is that it doesn't add hormones to my body; it stimulates the glands that produce the hormones I am already making. Thus, it helps my body to pick up what it was slowing down, and my body is regulated again.
I've only been taking this for three weeks, but I can't begin to tell you what a difference it's made. Most of my symptoms were internal, i.e. brain fog, inability to concentrate, extreme fatigue, anxiety and depression (probably from the constant reminder of failing to accomplish tasks), trouble sleeping, night sweats, etc. Now I am able to stay on task (look! I wrote a blog post!), my to-do lists no longer overwhelm me, I can think more clearly, I actually have energy all day, and I haven't awoken with a single night sweat since I started.
Do I believe that my God heard my cries? As a matter of fact, I do. Did He orchestrate all these things to come together so that I would meet this woman (who doesn't normally work at the store, by the way...she was a vendor) who could show me exactly the one thing that could help right from the start? Yes. Yes I believe He did.
Additionally, in our discussion about my lack of sleeping, she showed me another product that she uses for the same thing. She said she had been an insomniac for years, but she started taking this to help her relax enough to sleep better at night.
Care to guess what it is?
It's a magnesium supplement.
Turns out that magnesium also helps your muscles release tension so you can relax. And relax I do. I have taken this every single night for the last three weeks, and I have never slept better. It's not like a drug-induced sleep; it's more like, "Okay, my body is relaxed and I am ready to fall asleep." And comfortably sleep I do. I wake up feeling refreshed and revitalized, which is something I hadn't experienced in over a year.
Since then, I have been intentionally asking my friends when I see them if they have felt the same way. EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON I've asked has related to this phenomenon. But nobody talks about it! One friend I spent the afternoon with recently is post-menopausal. It had been a while since we'd seen each other, so as I described to her my last year, she immediately said, "Sounds like your hormones are out of whack!"
But now I feel better than I have in a long time...and I believe it has only just begun. The information packet that comes with the Femmenessence says that the benefits of the maca continue to bring your body to a proper level for about four months, at which time I should be running optimally. In less that one-fourth of that time, I'm already feeling this much better! I cannot thank my Lord enough for the revelation He brought to me. In the vast sea of natural and synthetic products out there, He pointed me to the very one that could help.
Once again, my God did not fail me. And once again, I am singing His praises!
Perhaps you're here because you feel the same way I did. Every person's body is different, and no one thing can possibly be a cure-all for every person and every symptom. But if nothing else, I pray that you now feel like you've got a place to start. For me, the place to start was also the end of a very dark tunnel.
And for that, I am so thankful.