I’m Charmaine, Your Menopause Coach and Ally
Menopause symptoms aren’t “just in your head.”
They are real problems… women just like you are struggling to cope, especially at work where women will spend at least one third of their lives going through menopause.
I’m in post-menopause.
My body reminds me every day that hormone changes are a lifetime process. Thankfully, I have amassed many tools during the past decade as I navigated through perimenopause. They’re still helping me stay sane, grounded, and energized — so I can show up fully to support women like you to be their best…
But it wasn’t always this easy.
My Menopause Story
Struggling Alone, in the Dark
Perimenopause crept up on me slowly… and then it hit me like a freight train. One day, I was working with a client, and suddenly, I couldn’t remember how to use an accounting software program, which I taught others how to use! That, and a few other memory loss moments, were disturbing. But I shrugged them off.
Meanwhile, I wasn’t feeling like my happy self. But I chalked it up to “too much going on in my life.” I started to act out of character. I didn’t realize that hormonal changes had compromised my mental clarity.
I convinced myself that I was the issue. I blamed myself for making poor judgments. I berated myself for lashing out. I called myself lazy when my motivation hit rock bottom. I was taken over by self-doubt.
My insomnia made things worse. I slept 2-3 hours every night, even with sleep aid, and I blamed it on my “neighbors from hell.” This, coupled with a nervous stomach that would not calm down, turned me into a wreck.
I suffered from anxiety. I had panic attacks. I started to suffer from high blood pressure, thyroid issues, hypoglycemia, chronic constipation, SIBO… you name it, I got it.
It was as if some alien had taken over my mind and body. I could not control my energy-draining thoughts or physical discomfort. I was scared that something terrible was happening on the inside.
The Unforgettable Doctor’s Visit
I watched myself sitting across from my doctor, completely phased out as if I had smoked a big fat Jamaican joint. (It was the insomnia.)
I described all my life-and death-issues (that was how they felt to me,) but the doc was unfazed. He scribbled some notes on the chart and told me it was Perimenopuase. He gave me some prescriptions to help me sleep and manage my mood and told me it would blow over in a few years.
Just like that, I was unceremoniously sent out the door. I was given a bag of pills to deal with this strangeness that has taken over my life. That I didn’t understand. With no real guidance or answers I needed. I was angry.
I blamed my doctor, which made me even more miserable because I felt so powerless. I became suicidal, so I saw therapists, but I couldn’t justify the expense.
I talked to people and was told, “it can’t be that bad.” I thought I was mentally ill.
The anxiety medications gave me the best sleep I have ever had. For a moment, the incessant thinking stopped. But I learned about the side effects and quit the medications.
I fell into depression. I stopped working and amassed a huge debt. This wasn’t how I had envisioned my midlife to unfold.
It All Changed When I Took Things into My Own Hands
One day, I realized I had to take charge. I have to stop being a victim.
I started to log everything I ate, everything I did, and everything that went through my mind. I became aware of my thoughts, feelings, and triggers. I researched, read, and went back to school to understand everything about menopause, hormone, nutrition, mindset, and lifestyle. I tested my hormones. I explored hormone therapy, herbs, and acupuncture. I adjusted my habits and observed the changes.
I became a relentless scientist of my wellbeing. After several months, I felt like myself again.
The lightbulb came on.
What I discovered was how much my STRESS, diet, lifestyle, mindset, and environment affected my hormones. Something that doctors aren’t telling us …well, at least the one I went to.
On the other hand, I also realized that my doctor couldn’t give me the magic pill I had so desperately wanted to reset my life because so many factors influence my hormones, and therefore my symptoms— the very thoughts that go through my mind NOW has the power to put me in hormonal chaos.
Here’s what I learned:
While the end of your period marks the end of your reproductive phase, the hormonal changes that impact every system in your body are for the rest of your life.
As I worked through my symptoms, I realized what our problem had been all along!
As women, we aren’t wired to attend to our needs. We are wired to take care of everyone and everything other than ourselves. Therefore, we lack the awareness that our lifestyle impacts how we feel, that our symptoms are actually feedback to make changes. It’s why guidance and support become a necessary element to teach yourself new ways of living specific to your issues and circumstances that will help you to adapt to the changing hormones for the rest of your life.
That is why I am fiercely passionate about empowering women during this life stage.
I know when you understand how your body works, how your lifestyle and hormones interconnect and make changes, you are going to transform your issues, feel like yourself, improve your health, go after your dreams, and impact other people’s lives.