Last time I wrote, it was technically Spring. Since then, summer has passed and we are quickly approaching a long, cold winter. It’s been six months since I last wrote, and a lot has happened. In this post, I will give you another quick rundown of what I’ve been up to (via pictures) and also, as I promised in my last post, share some of the struggles I overcame and some I’m (still) having to overcome, as the seasons of my life change.
In the last post I wrote, “We had to deal with getting sick just before we left. Once we arrived we had to recover from that and also jet lag and a myriad of other problems. One of them was having to deal with car problems.”
Since April, my oldest daughter, Gwen, and I recovered from what was probably the flu, thankfully. Soon after though, I had to deal with what seemed like never ending car issues. To this day, I’ve had to replace my transmission, struts and a number of other small nuisances in my minivan. Thankfully, the transmission was still under the extended warranty!!
Car problems aside, the biggest struggle that I’m dealing with now is a little complicated, but not hopeless. When I had my last and third daughter, twelve years ago, I experienced severe anxiety and depression. So much so, that I prayed I wouldn’t get pregnant again if I was going to feel like I was out of control emotionally and physically, again. You can read more about it in my book, Confessions of a Mother’s Heart! (Buy my book and support my ministry!) Since then, I have recovered, thankfully with the help of my faith community, within a small group of women who gave me a lot of support.
I was 33 when I had my third girl, Bethany. I am now 45 and near the end of my menstrual life cycle. That means that I’m experiencing similar symptoms to preteen years or postpartum depression and anxiety. Either way I look at it, it’s quite difficult and comical. At times, I feel like I’m one of my three pre-teen/teen girls, going through identity crisis and mood swings when I least want to AND sometimes in the same window of time as my girls. My husband deserves the best husband and father award for having to live with us. But, he will survive through our season of change…I hope!
Since returning from Europe in April I definitely noticed something wasn’t right with me, physically and emotionally. I’m so relieved and happy to know why I was feeling “off” and am very grateful to be feeling much better. I did some research and confirmed with my doctor that I definitely am in the “Perimenopausal” stage of my life. To read an explanation of this phase just keep reading until the end or click no the above link. It’s very eye opening!
After the 4th of July I decided to do something about my new symptoms, and I went on a strict diet and exercise program to feel “normal” again. I have lost about 15 pounds (give or take a few, depending on the day) and am feeling relief from the majority of my symptoms. But, I’m not out of the woods yet.
The main reason I haven’t been posting anything on my blog since returning from Europe in April is because I just couldn’t get myself in rhythm with my previously healthy mental and physical state. I’ve had the most times of doubt and fear in the last year, especially the last six months, since having my last baby, twelve years ago. I could barely get myself to post in small spurts throughout my other social media venues, like Facebook and Instagram. I was definitely experiencing many, if not all, the symptoms of “Perimenopausal depression”. Even though I couldn’t get it together enough to post more regularly, you can still see what I did manage to post, since April, on the above mentioned links.
Before I share some significant information I discovered, to close this blog post, I will tell you that I plan on writing one more post before the end of the year. I will be sharing some more pictures of my family doing “life” and the next phase of my ministry, TLC Squared, in light of my new found stage in life (to help educate others and better prepare them).
Next year, I only plan on posting quarterly, so I can manage my ministry and personal family life, in order to better adjust to my “new normal”. I would try to write more, but I value your time and my sanity, I and certainly don’t want to overwhelm you with my mundane struggles, unless you find it helpful and interesting. You can always follow me on Instagram and Facebook if you want to hear or see more from me!
Warning: The following might be too much information for some of you to read. But, on the other hand, it might be an explanation for why you or someone you know might be feeling or acting differently and you could help find self-help or support someone you love instead of reacting negatively toward them (from misunderstanding) and the inevitable life “change” they might be going through.
According to the UNC School of Medicine’s Pscychiatry Department, Center for Women’s Mood Disorders, “Menopause is defined as the permanent cessation of the menses. Perimenopause is defined as the transitional period from normal menstrual periods to no periods at all. At this time menstrual periods gradually lighten and become less frequent. The transition to complete menopause may last anywhere from a few months to a few years.
During the perimenopausal transition you may experience a combination of PMS and menopausal symptoms or no symptoms at all. Some normal symptoms of the perimenopause period are hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, and mood problems. Symptoms of perimenopausal depression are emotional flatness, “inability to cope,” irritability, social isolation, tearfulness, decreased energy, and failure to enjoy normal activities and relationships. Times of intense hormonal fluctuation can cause increased vulnerability to depression. Perimenopause may be a period of increased vulnerability to the onset of depression in women with no prior history of depression. Since symptoms are gradual in onset, women will not recognize symptoms as part of a reversible disorder, but rather will interpret them as a permanent change in their life.” (https://www.med.unc.edu/psych/wmd/mood-disorders/menstrually-related/ )
It feels like I’m failing more than I am succeeding. But, I love this quote above because I have come to realize that my failures have been “preparation for my victories”. It gives me hope that my perceived failures or struggles are not all “for nothing”, but they lead to victories, as I share in my book, Confessions of a Mother’s Heart. Get your copy today AND gift one to a friend for any special occasion!
I’ll be back next month! Until then, may you have a safe and memorable Thanksgiving!
(Visit my ministry website at www.TLCSquared.org to see how it helps “Re-create Homes One Family at a Time”)