I’ve just come through one of the most emotionally challenging periods I’ve experienced in a long time.
Quite frankly I felt like I was coming apart at the seams and all my usual resilience strategies seemed powerless in the face of this overwhelming tidal wave of anger, resentment and shame.
So what happened to prompt this? Absolutely nothing!
There were no external triggers or circumstances out of my control; no changes, injustices or misunderstanding.
This maelstrom was entirely self-generated out of apparently nowhere.
I was aware it came from within, but that really didn’t help – quite the contrary, it just added fuel to the fire.
I couldn’t even begin to unpick or understand any of what I was feeling – as soon as I got ‘hold’ of one piece it would transform into something else. It felt very deep seated, primal, irrational and multi-faceted.
It was so strong I started to doubt my mental health.
Because I apparently had no control over what I was feeling, my fear was that I would inadvertently hurt those around me (the ones I love the most) with my moodiness and over-sensitivity, as much as I was hurting myself.
So what did I do to survive this emotional storm and move into the calmer space I’m in now? Absolutely nothing!
At some level, despite feeling consumed by my emotions, I was aware of a part of me that could just observe – a part that just accepted and surrendered, trusting that I just needed to ride the storm, not fight it.
Yes, I was careful to give myself space and kept a little away from those whose feelings I may have hurt, or who would have suffered or worried to see the full extent of what I was experiencing – but I did let them know that I was not at my best (and not to worry).
I gave up trying to sense-make and analyse. I let go of all my normal expectations – keeping only my most essential commitments, knowing that otherwise I would only add further dissatisfaction, self-criticism and frustration to the heady cocktail of emotion.
And whereas normally writing is one outlet I find cathartic and soothing, I even found I had to let go of that (hence no blog post last week).
Although it’s been deeply unpleasant, I’m now pleased and proud I’ve been able to accept, observe and experience this period so far. I’m relishing and resting in this calmer place and trusting myself more to just ‘be’ when the next storm comes, as it inevitably will; “This too shall pass”.
I’m able to feel self-compassion, even amongst the harsh self-talk.
I’m not broken – I don’t need fixing, but I am in transition, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I know this maelstrom is part of the metamorphosis of menopause. There is no point being in denial or trying to suppress it – there’s no shame in being a woman, whatever stage of life we’re at.
No, I choose to accept and embrace who I am, even when that doesn’t fit with some ‘ideal’ state or perceived norm of happiness, contentment and wellbeing.