Better Together: How Finding Community Can Change How You Cope With Menopause

All women eventually enter their own menopause journey, but not everyone’s journeys are the same. When everyone experiences and reacts to menopause symptoms differently, this pivotal moment in your life can sometimes be hard, lonely, and isolating.

One thing that can make going through perimenopause easier is talking with other women who understand. Finding a community of women who are also going through the highs and lows of menopause gives you a support system that can truly empathize with how all those hormonal changes can affect your health and happiness.

Ultimately, joining the right community can give you insight and help you find ways to thrive, no matter how menopause is affecting you.

Menopause, Loneliness, and Misunderstanding

At its root, menopause signals the end of your body’s ability to have children and, while it happens to nearly every woman at a certain age, that doesn’t mean that it’s an especially easy topic to talk about.

On the one hand, we have a scientific understanding of menopause. We know why it happens, we understand that the hormonal changes in our body can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, and we have ideas about how to counteract those symptoms with diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes.

But it doesn’t necessarily make going through perimenopause any easier, especially when you feel like you’re the only one who’s struggling.

You can read about the symptoms in an online article or listen to a technical explanation from your doctor about why your body is changing, but knowing the technical facts doesn’t necessarily make the process any easier to handle.

  • Just knowing that you might gain weight as a result of your fluctuating hormones doesn’t encompass all the frustration you feel and the sacrifices you have to make to fight it off.
  • You can anticipate the mood swings and emotions, but that doesn’t mean you’re any more equipped to deal with feeling lonely and misunderstood. It also doesn’t touch how those mood fluctuations can affect your relationships with those around you.
  • Understanding that hot flashes are a common occurrence in perimenopausal women doesn’t necessarily give you a full picture of how intense they can be and it’s so bad for some women that they prefer to stay at home rather than expose themselves to the triggers and embarrassment.

And to make it even harder, not everyone experiences menopause the same way. Symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings are common, but the severity can vary from woman to woman. When some perimenopausal women feel almost no changes at all while your own symptoms make you feel like you’re losing control of yourself and your body, perimenopause can give you the illusion that you’re the only woman in the world suffering.

Why It’s So Hard to Talk About Menopause

So perimenopause can be hard to deal with when you’re feeling alone, and it certainly doesn’t help that menopause is still a taboo subject in many environments.

You might not want to talk about perimenopause because:

  • It’s a sign that you’re getting older. Let’s be frank here: menopause comes when you reach a certain age, usually between the ages of 40-58. Unfortunately, in a society where aging is ultimately frowned upon and comes with a whole host of stereotypes, discrimination, and stigmas, it can be really uncomfortable to talk about the natural process of growing older and all the changes that your body goes through.

  • You might be afraid of people seeing you differently and how that could affect your career and/or personal life, especially true if you experience premature menopause at a younger age.

  • The symptoms can be embarrassing. The hormonal changes that happen as you reach perimenopause come with their share of unpleasant symptoms that are hard to talk about in and of themselves. Whether it’s depression and anxiety that have you feeling like a different person, the night sweats that keep you awake for hours and leave your sheets soaked, or even the more taboo subjects like a decreased sex drive or vaginal dryness, many women generally find it hard to bring it up.

  • Gender bias. Unfortunately, for women, just talking about our bodies at all is taboo, let alone talking about the natural changes that occur as we age. We’re often subconsciously taught that our own bodies are embarrassing, especially when it comes to sexuality. And sadly, that leads to stigmas around normal things like sex, menstrual cycles, and yes, perimenopause.

  • All these things can make talking about menopause hard, even among your peers, your family, and your most trusted circles.

    How Finding A Support Network Can Help

    Humans are social creatures by nature, and we need support networks that can understand and, most importantly, can empathize with what we’re going through.

    Finding a community means finding a safe space where you can talk about the real effects that perimenopause can have on your life. It means finding balance, especially when it comes to a topic that’s still so taboo in many circles.

    Talking to other women can help you realize that you’re not alone, you’re not the only woman going through a constant crisis of body changes that feel like they’re changing who you are as a person - and it can give you insight into how to actually deal with those changes so that you can continue to thrive.

    It’s one thing to know that menopause can come with a list of symptoms, but it’s a completely separate thing to talk with other women who are experiencing the same symptoms as you. Even better, it can help you find solutions: while the suggestions from medical professionals can obviously be helpful, sometimes the best tips and hacks for dealing with symptoms can come from the women who are actually going through it themselves and have some stake in the matter!

    Not only can finding the right community to talk about menopause help you get things off of your chest, but it’s also been scientifically proven to help you feel less alone. Researchers conducting a study on community-based interventions in postmenopausal women found that the women who had a community were able to report a higher quality of life!

    Final Thoughts On The Importance Of Community

    For many women, perimenopause is hard, isolating, and can make us feel like we’re losing who we are as people. Joining a community like The Asterisk Community, where women who are experiencing the same thing that you are, can help you feel less alone and find ways to cope so that your hormones don’t take over your life.