When menopause feels like a terrifying rollercoaster ride, trust in the God who knows you better than you know yourself, says Mel Currer on World Menopause Day
Do you remember your first rollercoaster ride? Slowly, inch by inch, the train climbs the tracks. You gradually draw closer to the precipice, and then WHOOOSH! You drop. Your stomach lurches. Your heart beats faster in your chest. You’re falling, falling, falling, with nothing to hold on to. It’s terrifying!
This is how the menopause can feel at times. That hot flush creeps up on you unexpectedly. It begins with a small creeping, crawling sensation up your spine. There is a tingling in your shoulders and neck as the heat rises up your neck, over your face, over your head. You feel as though you are drowning; fighting for breath.
This experience unfolded for me in the middle of giving a presentation to a packed class of raucous teenage boys. I felt fear. Fear of the whole class laughing at my hot, flushed face and incompetence. This is not me, I thought to myself. This is not who I am.
Physical and mental anguish
The menopause affects women in diverse ways. Symptoms include night sweats, insomnia, reduced sex drive or discomfort during sex, vaginal dryness, memory and concentration problems, headaches, mood swings, palpitations, joint pain and recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). While some women sail through the menopause without taking much notice, others experience between four and twelve years of utter misery.
One of the hardest aspects for many is losing confidence because the body is suddenly so unpredictable. It is particularly difficult to go into new situations when your body is constantly surprising you with peculiar feedback. Overnight, you can be transformed from a confident, successful person to someone who is timid and insecure.
Loved by God
My confidence has been threatened at times, but I know deep down that I can put my full trust in Jesus, who knows me better than I know myself. This is another of life’s tests, and if my confidence is wholly founded on my own ability I am on thin ice! Knowing my identity as a child of God and resting on the truth that I am loved by my heavenly Father gives me hope, comfort and security. The menopause has tested and humbled me in unexpected ways, but it has pushed me closer to God and helped me discover a new level of trust.
On a more practical note, I frequently pray about my symptoms. I use a handheld fan when the hot flush rollercoaster begins. My children spray me with water to cool me down and hope my moodiness will soon end. I wear the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) patches the doctor prescribed to help regulate my hormone levels. And I hold on to Psalm 62:5-6: “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”
Read more about the menopause, and how to not just survive it but thrive, in our three-part series from Dr Olúṣẹ̀yẹ Àríkàwé in our print magazine or online here. Catch the rest in our November and December issues. To subscribe click here.