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Here's one for the girls

This is a bit basic but, last week there were two days when I could not connect to my breathing whatsoever... my body. I felt like something had overtaken my thoughts and I had just a rolling wave of negative gunk rushing through my day. I was/am due for my period. Yes, it sounds silly to some, maybe. Well, it overtakes me every month for a day or so. I felt without strength. I managed to focus back yesterday, but the day when I couldn't was frustrating and frankly I can't trust my judgement at those times and or so it seems. Thank God I don't work for air traffic control, it's bad enough having to teach when I feel like this. Does this happen to anyone else? I usually go straight to thought when I'm anxious and get entrenched or possessed. I feel powerless. However after a rotten 2 days ( and by the way this has been going on for years) I could think a bit more rationally, but at the time I did feel like I had no control over mind or body - they were both Out to Lunch. Hormones?, I'm not sure but it leaves me vulnerable and not in a good way every month! Any thoughts?

Dear notconfident,

What you describe is very similar to my experience and it seems to be related to hormones. You may be going through premenopause. I have been going through premenopause for six years now. I started having the kind of symptoms you describe - and many more - when I was 47. It took me a while to figure out what was happening. I can tell you sometimes it has been a hellish experience. Besides a number of horrible physical symptoms, a dark cloud of depressive thoughts takes over and I feel overwhelmingly pessimistic. It feels like I am never going to get better. No matter that John reminds me, as I asked him to, that this happened before and I came out of it, and just a few days before I was feeling great. That may help for a few seconds, but the rest of the time it's a struggle. I have often had to stay in bed for six days in a row because I was so weak I could not even get up or even eat anything.

When this happens, I do the focused attention exercise as often as I am able to. But that too is very hard to do in the midst of excruciating pain. I know from experience that this is a passing storm created by the hormonal imbalance and it will pass but, of course. when the storm rages, my mind feels like cotton and I cant think straight. So during those periods I just feel rotten. And when I'm so weak that I can't work, I just have to slow down. And it's really hard, because there is so much work to do... If I push myself, I just get worse and worse. It took me a long time to learn, but I finally managed to not push myself so hard. If I do that, the crisis seems not to last as long.

What I'm trying to say here is that this is a physical event that all women go through and it affects your body and your mind. You can see that those negative thoughts have nothing to do with your present reality, right? It's just the hormones playing a stupid game in your brain. You can use these extreme moments to do the focused attention exercise. Focusing on your breath may help divert your attention from those negative thoughts for a moment. And as you persist, this exercise will strengthen your capacity to control your attention, but it won't make the physical and psychological distress go away.

You gotta try and find a way to help your body deal with the imbalance. Maybe you could try speaking to your doctor? Over these years I tried several doctors but most of them didn't have a clue what I was talking about.

Hang on in there. When you're feeling good, take some time to try to find ways to help your body. Be patient with yourself. Although this transition may last a long time, it won't last forever.

So you have an older woman you can talk to? She might be able to give you some tips.

I hope this helps a little.

Hi notconfident

Yes as a woman I also have had that experience. I continue to have that experience to a lesser degree. I went on birth control 5 years ago and has such a crazy, awful, and numbing experience that I swore it off forever. I realized the power of hormones and how strongly it can effect us. About once a month I experience low energy, feel more weepy and emotional and that everything in my life is so much harder. I also used to push through but like Carla I realized it's a time to slow down and let myself rest. I also have a better sense that it is temporary and will pass.

As an acupuncturist and chinese herbalist, I use both with women struggling with women's health issues and have seen positive results. I worked with my mom when she was going through menopause. I taught her focused attention, worked on some dietary changes, and put her on an herbal formula to strengthen her system and reduce symptoms. It seemed to help her get through with more ease.

I hope this helps.


Thanks to the both of you so for taking the time to write back and offer such reassurance and advice. I will give really have a think about helping myself - you may hear from me again, in the very near future!!x

"No matter that John reminds me, as I asked him to, that this happened before and I came out of it, and just a few days before I was feeling great...You can see that those negative thoughts have nothing to do with your present reality, right?... I realized the power of hormones and how strongly it can effect us".

All quite excellent advice. As well as after looking at me-eventually rather than despairing of all thoughts arising, see them as your babies, frightened children looking for home. Finally becoming gentle with whatever is arising. You are here, you deserve to be seen before recoiling at what you think you are.

We are all connected no matter what the state of mind is.


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