Post-menopausal syndrome and the attack on the scammers...

So, I’m watching the nightly news, and a story comes on about assholes scamming elderly, unwitting people out of their life savings, and I find myself wanting, hoping that one would call ME just so I could mess with them. I played the whole scenario out in my head, CRAFTY in my commitment to take one down… I would go along with the scam, asking them where I should send the money, then go about my day. When they realized that I wasn’t sending any money and the harassment continued, I would answer their next few calls with elevator muzak until they hung up. After that went on for a while (as I understand they are persistent), I would answer as if we’d never spoken before and begin to engage them in discussions about Satan and how they’d be welcome at his table, but not as a guest, as the main course. For effect, I would maintain a normal and controlled, even pleasant tone -- similar to that of Norman Bates in his creepy closing scene…you know the one. Then, having sufficiently weirded out my unworthy adversary and ending the harassment, I would gloat in the victory of having proven that MY CRAZY WINS!!!


True story. I mean, not that any of this actually happened…just that I actually played this out in great detail (as described) in my head over the course of 10 minutes (or more). I know… THIS IS NOT NORMAL! I can’t even tell you what the rest of the nightly news was about because my thought bubble took over (which happens a lot these days). But honestly, it’s safer for me in there – especially when the hostility kicks in. That’s when I realize that it’s got to be the PMS – only these days, instead of “pre” the “P” stands for “All the time”. Talk about a perimenopausal head trip…


It used to be these bouts of unbridled hostility came before my period, now they come after. And girl, do they come. At least when they came on before, it was a sign of what was to come and I knew they would subside once my Flo came. But now, when they come after, ‘AINT NO TELLIN’ WHAT’S GONNA HAPPEN and that’s just not a good thing, especially at work. I want to battle EVERYONE I TALK TO and I can’t tell if it’s because everyone else is stupid or if I’m having a disproportionate (and inappropriate) response to everything they say (which is probably stupid). To be fair, it really could be either…

Updated: Sep 2, 2019


If you're having meno problems I feel bad for you, hon...

Okay, so I’m not really going to list my 99 problems with menopause. But to start, one of my biggest frustrations with this sh*t, is sifting through THE OVERWHELMING AMOUNT OF INFORMATION out there embedded throughout the digisphere. Just try Googling “menopause” and you get more than 118 Million results…I mean, really? What am I supposed to do with ALL OF THAT??? My particular problem, is that a lot of what rises to the top is underwhelming, generic, hokey-pokey crap. BUT, if you’ve got hours to spend (and the patience of a pregnant elephant), amidst all of the clutter, you’ll eventually stumble across some pretty interesting stuff…


I don’t know about you, but most days I have the attention span (and bladder) of a three-year old, so efficiency and brevity definitely rule… Which brings me to, “Featured Finds” – my pithy attempt to highlight potentially useful (if not curious) info that might help make your menopause trek a little less daunting and a lot more interesting! This week I’ve been sussing out the menopause landscape on Instagram and was compelled to spend some time with a couple of accounts. Check them out below and let me know what you think and what you’re tracking!


Featured Find #1 : @megsmenopause - With more than 27K followers on IG, Meg Mathews is UK-based (a là “the menopause”), with global reach and appeal. Anchored in the feminine pink, Meg’s Instagram account is an aesthetically smart (i.e., beautifully curated images and content), comprehensive mix of menopause facts and insights, inspirational quotes, product highlights (including her own), and direct, relatable testimonials about the struggle that is menopause. She affectionately refers her followers “menos”, quickly establishing an ease and relatability that can be comforting during times of stress. For the most part, the “menos” are down with Meg’s menopause vibe, and are pretty engaged through comments and likes to her posts.


Earlier this summer, she launched a new IGTV series, “The Symptoms”, where each week she addresses one (or more) of the 34 symptoms related to menopause. Most of the videos are under 6 minutes and are Meg’s firsthand take on the topic (as we learn from watching the series, she’s among the enviable few unaffected by hot flushes…ahem, or flashes, if you prefer). Although she does enlist medical perspectives from time to time, LET ME BE CLEAR, Meg is not a medical professional (and doesn’t pretend to be). If it’s a straightforward medical perspective you’re looking for (which feels like an oxymoron and the point of this whole blog), @megsmenopause is likely not the IG community for you.


As I mentioned before, Meg does have her own product line so there is money to be made (no shade here!). Even so, I didn’t feel overwhelmed or pressured to buy her products, and didn’t come away feeling like that’s her end game…not exclusively, anyway. As the mother of a hormonal teenager, I also really appreciated the open conversation she has with her own teenage daughter about how her struggle with menopause affects the family. Anyway, Meg’s been at this for a couple of years now and has a pretty sophisticated ecosystem of content, including a podcast and an annual conference. You can check out more about Meg and her mighty menopause mission at www.megsmenopause.com.


Featured Find #2 : @peri_menopause_nutritionist is another U.K.-based find who has a notable IG presence that I decided to start following this week (BTW, the Brits seem to be leading the charge on normalizing menopause overall). The account is managed by Shirly Agullano, a credentialed menopause nutritionist (i.e., she’s got A LOT of letters behind her name) who’s all about managing perimenopause through nutrition and wellness (not that there’s anything wrong with HRT!). Specifically, she wants to “help you make healthy diet and lifestyle choices so you thrive through perimenopause and menopause.”


Even though she’s not quite broken 1K followers (899 at time of this post), her content is clean, modern and straightforward (in a good way)*. Shirly encourages us to eat healthy, posting vibrant and colorful pictures of what would otherwise be (and really is), boring old baked chicken and lettuce with some fixins. She highlights these healthy food alternatives, offering recipes and making them look appetizing, while subtly seducing you to do better (or to think about doing better, anyway). While I don’t know that I’ll need to track this feed everyday, I could see me going back from time to time to see what Shirly’s got cooking.


Note: Shirly does have a wellness consulting service, “Warm Blush”, through which she provides nutrition and lifestyle plans to better manage a woman’s menopausal symptoms. This Fast Find note is specific to her Instagram account, which is visually inconsistent with her “Warm Blush” website.



Updated: Aug 26, 2019


So, I'm 45 years old and have been in perimenoupause for about two years, if not longer. Every month or two, a new symptom drives to me to the Google machine with a different word search combination, only to find myself sorting through a sea of random information. A lot of it is medical gobbledygook flanked by stock images of white-haired women (or the obligatory multi-racial threesome) looking happy, sad or frustrated -- which, honestly, pretty much sums up the emotional roller coaster that is menopause. But based on the most prevalent images and perspectives that are served up by our favorite search engines -- okay, ENGINE -- you'd be left to believe that only the oldest of white, Anglo women experience a biological phenomenon that affects 51% of the global population.


The (underrepresented) reality is, women can experience menopausal symptoms as early as their late thirties -- if not earlier. And for most who experience life affecting symptoms, from nuisance to completely disruptive, it will be a MULTI-YEAR journey. If that's not enough, there are upwards of 30 symptoms you can experience at any given time over a 10-to-12 year period...I mean, WTF??? Why are we not better prepared for this? Where am I supposed to learn this shit? Apart from our OB-GYN’s, (which, interesting fact, only 38% of women in the U.S. even see a gynecologist each year) where do women like me go to learn about these things -- to talk about these things?


Well, like any other well-conditioned Gen X-er, I go online! Looking, yearning and searching earnestly, for the solutions to MY menopause problems. And while I might find what I’m looking for at the time (after a long and meandering search), I seem to find myself completely unprepared for what the next month brings and I’m back online typing a new word combination into the Google search bar. No doubt, there are NUMEROUS online social communities…but of the more than 100 communities that pop up in Facebook -- from Menopause Mamas to The Menopause Room – how do I know which are the most useful and relevant for me to join? Do women of different racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds talk about or experience menopause differently? Does it matter? If so, as a working Black mother with a demanding job and limited time (and energy), how do I tap into those communities in ways that work for my lifestyle? But most important, how do I connect with those women whose experience is MOST LIKE MINE?


It shouldn’t be this frustrating and mysterious. With longer lifespans, American women have been documented as going through the “life change” since the late 1800s -- well over a century.[1]According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, women in the U.S. live on average to the age of 80.1 years, which means the majority of us will live through the end of our reproductive cycles and beyond. In the 21st century, we need ready access to current and relevant, streamlined information that results in a less frustrating, less lonely user experience.


While we absolutely need factual medical information (thanks WebMD!), we also need a better understanding of the most useful products and treatments available to us and we need to connect with other women and share our stories to know that we’re not alone. Personally, I have experienced a particular void in the imagery and support communities for women of color, which also signals a lack of inclusion among existing platforms.


How do we foster more inclusion, so that EVERY WOMAN sees herself represented not only in the discussion, but the solutions? How do we push back against the patronizing and judgy tones from the medical community and worse, each other, for making the decisions we make as individuals when faced with the unfamiliar? And, for f*cks sake, how do I get other women (often older women) to stop telling me I'm "too young" for hot flashes, because let me tell you, they look and feel pretty damn real. Aren't we all part of the same tribe? Shouldn't our eldresses (yeah, I made that up, I think...) be waiting, arms outstretched to welcome us across the threshold, stroke our hair and embrace us with the warm and assuring hug we so desperately need? Guiding us through the peaks and valleys of this LONG and arduous journey? I mean, where's MY Red Tent for menopause?


I want better – for me, for you, and for the women coming behind us. We deserve better…so I decided to shout about it, and maybe even see if I can help fix it.

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[1]2005; S.R. Davis; I. Dinatale; L. Rivera-Woll; S. Davison. “Postmenopausal hormone therapy: from monkey glands to transdermal patches”; Journal of Endocrinology

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