In some cultures, menopause is an accepted and even celebrated, natural stage in a woman's life, but in the West it is often viewed as a medical issue given its links to ageing, hot flushes, mood swings and 35 other registered symptoms. Instead of considering it a transition phase to an age of wisdom and a normal part of the life cycle, it is considered the start of old age, a time when we lose our feminine power, our fertility and even our health. In a Western culture obsessed with looks and youthfulness, women gradually disappear over the horizon and melt into invisibility following menopause.
The menopause takes place at all levels of our embodiment—the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual. It is often experienced as a challenging time for women. Studies show that it affects the home and sex lives of more than half of menopausal women and more than one third say that it impacts on their work.
That said, it is not an illness but part of our lives as women. Embrace its reality, speak up, and help yourself. If you are experiencing unpleasant physical symptoms, see your GP. If you need emotional or mental health support, talking to a counsellor or a psychotherapist may help. They can support you when you are down about the changes, are fearful of what may follow, or feel overwhelmed at home and at work.
Talking to a psychotherapist may help you to uncover how menopause is affecting you. It may help you to reframe your life, look differently at your experiences, and gain a new perspective on where you may go next. This is a creative time, a new phase of adulthood where we can learn to meet reality, recognise the changes in ourselves, and accept our mortality. Welcoming this stage of our lives may help us to shed past understandings, develop a different perception of our selves, and achieve a new sense of freedom.