Another part of menopause I hadn’t considered was the internal struggle that happens. A commenter raised questions around the need to go within and pull away or retreat from people, activities, or work. Simons responded that this was universally common with women at some point in the transition, and encouraged women to consider it part of the journey to the underworld from which we will return wiser than before. She regards this period as a “potentially powerful time, though our culture frowns upon this kind of rest and renewal.” Simons says that this pulling away and diving within oneself could be caused by a multitude of things like health or marital challenges, fatigue, adrenal burnout, changes in or at employment, empty nest, or depression.
A similar line of enquiry with the internal struggle was the discussion of depression. It is pretty well documented that when your hormones are out of whack, your body is under stress or you’re going through a major change, that depression can arise. One commenter expressed her frustration around crying for no reason. Both Briden and Simons took the questions seriously, saying no matter what, the struggle with depression should not be discounted or minimized. Simons suggests this is a signal to slow down and assess what stresses or triggers might be affecting your mind and body. Both Briden and Simons said if depression is persistent, seeking a remedy of hormonal supplements, such as bioidentical estradiol and progesterone, can help. Briden also suggests looking at thyroid issues as a possible cause, as menopause and thyroid disease often coincide.
I ventured in to the session at one point to ask what preparations could be made before menopause happens. Briden encouraged women to establish regular ovulations and regular periods, and promote the healthy decline of estrogen, instead of having it happen rapidly. I followed up by asking what women in their twenties could do to help on this journey later in life. She suggested not taking hormonal birth control. This would help calibrate hormone receptors to a normal level of hormones.