Week 23/2024: Pausing

Week of 3 June 2024
A view across a body of water to part of a hill that is lit up in late afternoon light. There are dark trees in the foreground
Light on a dark afternoon


I’ve been wondering whether or not write a post on perimenopause.

For most women, perimenopause is the stage when your hormones start to mess with you, leading up to actual menopause, which is defined as the point in time 12 months after your last period. It can start in your mid-30s but it most often begins in a woman’s mid to late 40s.

To write about it or not

It’s topical because it’s part of my life now. But why would anyone want to read about this?

Well, it’s my blog and I can write what I want. And right now, this is affecting almost every part of my daily life. Much of how I feel—and my capacity to cope with normally straightforward things—is being hijacked by the havoc perimenopause is playing on my body and (especially) my mind. It’s going to come up sooner or later in a post so I might as well just do it.

I figure most people, even if they haven’t (or aren’t or won’t) gone through it, have people close to them who have, or are, or will, so it’s perfectly fine to put it out there.

It’s a normal life stage that there’s no reason not to talk about. Maybe in the past it’s been something that people have brushed aside, made jokes about or ignored because it’s a “women’s issue” and a middle-aged women’s issue at that. And everyone knows middle-aged women are INVISIBLE.

But a lot more people are talking about it now. There are books, it’s on podcasts, there are apps, workplaces are recognising it.  It’s even in the theatre.


Hopefully having all this information out there helps more (non-menopausal) people learn about this stage of life, so they can understand and support friends and family who are experiencing it.

My delusional fog

Foolishly, I thought I was getting through relatively unscathed. I’d look at lists of symptoms and be thinking, “nope, nope, nope, nope, a little bit sometimes, nope, nope, yeah, not really . . .”. I had this vision of being one of the 20 per cent of people who transition through perimenopause with no symptoms at all.

Ha ha ha ha ha.


I can’t pin down an exact time it started, but some time over the last thee months, my body started to make it known that this is where I am.

It’s not been consistent and I’ve had good days and bad days . . . but the bad days seem to be increasing. Lately, it’s been hello to hot flushes (the thing that is probably most commonly associated with menopause), bad bad nights of sleep, forgetfulness (I forgot how to spell my own name FFS), inability to concentrate, very low moods, ramping up of my normal aches . . .

As I said in last week’s post, I’ve been struggling concentrating and I feel like my mind has gone to mush. Aside from the sleep problems, that’s the thing that’s been bothering me most.

I went to my GP this week and I have a bunch of blood tests to rule out other things. I guess if that all comes back okay, we can talk about options. Hormone therapy is one of those and I know it helps a lot of people but I want to be sure I need this before I sign up.

It’s probably not the only thing going on

It’s winter so I’m getting less sun. I’m not walking as much as I did before I got injured last year and I don’t feel as fit. I could even have the lingering effects of covid. There’s a few low-level stressors going on too, so I think it’s a combination of all of them hitting me at once, rather than solely the fault of my hormones.

But the hormonal disruption isn’t helping and I’ve been reading up on some things I can try to do to manage this.

Number one is sleep . . .

I’ve had some terrible nights of sleep lately and this affects EVERYTHING. From my ability to stay awake, to making nutritious food choices and my capacity to go for a walk, or even get outside.

Tracking back, I know on the nights I get decent sleep, I feel better, even if I still can’t concentrate. So doing what I can to try and improve my sleep is important. For some people I know, hormone therapy has helped them get better sleep, so I’m not ruling that out.

But while that all gets investigated, I can have a look at my habits to see if there’s anything else I can do. This includes looking at things I do during the day that might be affecting my sleep and maybe doing some more helpful activities. If that means I have to put other projects on the back burner for a while, then that’s what I might have to do. In the long run, hopefully, it will allow me to come back to them more engaged when I get through this ‘season’ of my life.

What’s next?

There will continue to be bad days and better days. I think if I take time on the good days to put things in place that can support me on the not good days, this will help. Moving more and eating better . . . I already know what a lot of these things are but it seems more important to do them now that it ever has before.

And yes, it’s easy to say this on a good day, which today is.

How I’ll feel on a bad day when all I’m capable of doing is hiding under a doona is another thing. But it also means doing what I can. So if, after four hours sleep, I have no energy to exercise, just going outside for five minutes without putting pressure on myself to follow a routine will be enough.

As for my lack of motivation and my inability to concentrate . . . that’s too hard to deal with at the moment. One thing at a time.

Sleep is my priority.

Summary of the week

What did I learn this week?

Pet Shop Boys did a mashup of the Culture Beat song ‘Mr Vain’ with their song ‘One In A Million Men’ at their Discovery concert in Rio in 1994.  (I have no idea what’s going on with the wigs!)

Apparently there is some history behind this. In the week of 12 September 1993, the Pet Shop Boys’ ‘Go West’ entered the UK single chart at number 2, with ‘Mr Vain’ at number 1 for a fourth week. The following week ‘Mr Vain’ dropped to 3, so chart watchers were expecting ‘Go West’ to have taken the top spot. Not so. ‘Go West’ stayed at number 2 with ‘Boom! Shake The Room’ overtaking it for the number 1 spot.

‘Go West’ never made it to number 1. But here it is for your enjoyment.

What did I notice this week?

The lovely sky as the sun was setting.

Sunset clouds over a darkened building roof
Sunset over the mountain

What was the best thing about this week?

I went to the Invisible Power exhibition at Salamanca Social.

Power is a natural force in our structures, our networks and our environment. The invisible forces of power acting around us in our buildings and earth and our bodies, the powers of tension and physics holding walls and barriers and regulating the way we engage and carry out our lives. This includes the power of one’s own body and mental power through the ability to have power over oneself or regulate or change individual behaviour.

I specifically went to see a piece called ‘A Meditation on Power (after Deren)’. This video installation, by Natasha Bradley, featrued my Alexander Technique teacher, Penny, and other Alexander practitioners using the technique to “activate their internal power/transferring power/energy”.

A console made of slate panels with four video screens featuring women dressed in black performing various movemements
Natasha Bradley: A Meditation on Power (after Deren)

It was a lovely soothing piece that conveyed the concept of ‘invisible power’ wonderfully.

There was also a piece called ‘Fluorescent Light Series’ by Bliss Sandhu. This features three people in the dark absorbed in their devices and illuminated by the light from the phones.

Bliss Sandhu says, “we live in an intimate proximity to a different light, fluorescent light, which puts the notion of agency into question. Hence, this work invites the viewer to reflect on their relationship with fluorescent light and to introspect on the subjective experiences of this adopted and addictive face-painting ritual”.

Three large photographs on a white wall. The photographs depict people illuminated only by the light from their phones
Bliss Sandhu: Fluorescent Light Series

The exhibit asks us to contribute our thoughts, via our phones, on the pieces.

This is what I said

Thoughtful… I reflect on my own device use, how photos like this would have been impossible when I was the age of these subjects. How are my choices in the online space making the world a better or a not better place. Have we come too far to stop misinformation from shaping the world. What is real and what is not… who’s to say? If I think it’s real does that make it real? Is there any such thing as objective truth?

What am I reading this week?

  • The Everything Book by Niki Bezzant

Habit tracker

  • Walk 8,000 steps: 4/7
  • Shut down at 9.30: 3/7
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