I have news that will be valuable to you and to your family or prepping group. It’s not a groundbreaking new invention, you can’t buy it, or pick it up from a dumpster. It’s something that has been around as long as the human race and is rarely discussed openly. It’s something that could quite seriously derail your prepping efforts.
Menopause. Now before all you hairy assed men go and look for something more interesting to read, just give me a chance to explain why this is such a big deal for YOU as well as the woman in your life, or the women in your prepping group. I have no intention of going into the why it happens and the how it happens, I want to get across the EFFECTS of it happening.
Not all women get the gradual lead up to menopause that is described by most. Not all women get hot flushes that can see rivulets of sweat running off them from head to toe. What almost all post menopause; women will tell you about is the mood swings. Now this has been a source of derision for decades, men have come to accept that women get moody most months and that menopause is no different. Well, let me tell you its very different.
For all of my working life I have dealt with high stress situations that call for good decision making skills and a great deal of practical medical knowledge. I am calm in a crisis, have been told I have good leadership skills and a balanced temperament. WELL NOT ANYMORE!
For me menopause has been of sudden onset, this has caused a huge alteration of hormone levels. Almost overnight I have changed from someone who was good to have around in a crisis to a woman who can barely manage to open a ziplock bag without assistance. I have gone from being an emotionally strong person to wanting to cry when my husband goes to work….why when I would just shout at him if he stayed home is beyond me…and him. I am short tempered, intolerant, impatient and quite frankly vile right now. My normal empathetic nature has left and in its place is a cold hearted streak, but this does not extend to the cute puppies on toilet roll advertisements who make me so disproportionately happy its ridiculous.
So, whats that got to do with you? I hear you ask. Well, everything as it happens. A total change in nature and ability of a woman you are going to be relying on in a crisis is not the gold standard is it? It needs to be understood that these things are frankly uncontrollable and remain that way until hormonal balance has been restored, until a woman’s body adjusts to the fluctuations of the hormones coursing though her veins and hitting her brain with a punch that Mike Tyson would be proud of. Think puberty on a very grand scale and then times it by a thousand and you will start to get the idea.
On a Lizzie scale we are talking about something that a dozen handbags and a shop full of nail polish could not even begin to make better. I am in a serious bind here.
A visit to the doctor was called for, firstly for advice and secondly for confirmation that I am not losing my mind. Regarding my urge to beat the living shit out of my husband, who I might add had done nothing to deserve such behaviour unless you count breathing he said little. He said little also about me needing constant affirmation that I am loved and needed and wanted. He also said little about me deciding I wanted to take off and travel the world ALONE, that the dog slobbering everywhere is driving me insane and that I intensely dislike the head teacher at my daughters school, but not nearly as much as the absolute hatred I feel for my husbands boss, who I have never met or even spoken to. He never commented when I told him I wasn’t allowed another handbag or when I started to cry telling him the rabbit died three months ago and the court hearing into moms death had been adjourned yet again.
He did comment when I said I am craving chocolate, which I don’t actually like usually.
“Serotonin” he said quietly. “WHAT?” I snarled. He explained that serotonin levels fluctuate wildly when hormone levels are askew and chocolate increases levels of serotonin. It seems all those people who say chocolate makes them happy are telling the truth. Vitamin B6 also helps regulate hormones and high dose Evening Primrose Oil is said by some to help calm things down a little though medically he would not comment on that further. Exercise also releases endorphins which although acting more of a natural painkiller than a mood lifter exercise seems to raise a persons spirits a little and a brisk walk each day would not go amiss and at a minimum it would work off the chocolate. I did not find his attempt at humour at all funny. Many other foods increase serotonin, such as watercress, bananas, and walnuts, I’m sure theres many more. Dopamine was also mentioned. Dopamine is a ‘reward’ hormone and increasing dopamine levels also improves mood. Feeling better after getting your hair done has a basis in biochemistry ladies.
What I will say is that if a societal collapse happened this week, defence wise we are good to go. I would challenge any unarmed person to get on the wrong side of me at this point and come out of it with his balls still attached to his body or in the case of women or eunuchs, their head still joined to their neck.
Menopause IS going to change the way things are done, or not done for a while. The perspectives of the women suffering from hormonal imbalance will skew their judgement about certain issues, its impossible to say what issues as we are all different. Those living with a menopausal woman may well feel they are looking into the eyes of a stranger sometimes, but she’s still in there, and she wants to be the woman she was before the biological battle commenced. Ladies look into it now, keep up with the research so that you know what the best course of treatment is and so you can have it available should you need it.
There’s a great deal of guilt attached to screaming and shouting at those you love, knowing they don’t deserve it but doing it anyway because you can’t not do it. Something at that particular moment in time is pushing you forwards into your own personal rage zone. My youngest thinks I have changed her name to ‘Not Now’, Stu doesn’t answer to anything unless the look on my face says its safe to do so and the dog seems to understand bastard as well as she does her name. It’s a miserable experience for all of us but one that with time we will get thorough, though I may not think that in five minutes time, things can change very fast at the moment.
As always, state of mind and effective prepping go hand in hand. Being aware of the effects that menopause can have on the women in your survival group may help you get through it a little easier than waking up one morning and feeling like the woman in your life as been replaced by the mad creature lying next to you.
One final tip for you men. When you ask if she is okay now after a tantrum, crying fit or screaming session, expect to get your face ripped off and be accused of sarcasm. If you don’t ask expect to get your face ripped off and be accused of not caring. The choice is yours.
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Contributed by Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic.
Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.