Is it a coincidence that May is Mental Health Awareness Month when Mother's Day is in May and I lost my mother May 24th, 1994?
The bond between a mother and daughter is unique and irreplaceable. From childhood to adulthood, mothers play an essential role in guiding their daughters through life's transitions. We all remember the "period" talk. Even though my mother and I had a very different relationship, the essentials were still there.
Menopause and Mental Health:
Menopause brings about changes that can change everything in you and around you. The effects on your mental health can be devastating without support. Everyone important to me understands two things: I am menopausal and May is NOT my best month.
Chaotic hormones may contribute to mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Without the nurturing and guidance of a mother or mother figure, it may be a real hard time. It is important to recognize and address the impact of menopause on mental health and seek support in friends, family and/or a therapist if needed.
Mother Loss and Grief:
Losing a mother is a profound loss that can leave a lasting void. For me it has been almost 30 years, but sometimes it feels like yesterday. I am not sure if grief is magnified during the menopausal journey, but I can personally say, for me it seems like it.
One of the most powerful things I ALLOW myself to do every May is feel the loss. I learned a long time ago that holding in the tears and the grief doesn't turn out well. It is like being a woman on the edge in real time. If nothing else learn how to ALLOW yourself to process the pain especially right now while you are dealing with menopause.
This may mean taking it day by day. Most days, I can manage with a little help of my friend Ashwagandha and sleep. Other days, I journal or lose myself in mindless entertainment.
Whether it's through therapy, joining support groups, or connecting with others who have gone through similar experiences, finding a sense of community and understanding can make a significant difference. One of my besties and I had a record 5 hour long phone call. There were no tears involved, just random conversations that allowed my mind to NOT dwell on my emotions.
Self-care becomes MORE essential during this highly emotional time. There is no rule on self care. By definition it is caring for self, right? What does that mean for you? What do you enjoy doing? What puts a smile on your face and a laugh on your lips? Do more of that.
This whole month is about What Do I Feel Like? For my mental health, I must prioritize me. So I focus on my meditations, relaxations and making a beeline AWAY from stressful situations if possible.
Writing is one of my first loves, so I use this time to write whatever comes to mind. Creating something is a self care strategy that many don't talk about. There is something therapeutic in coloring, painting or even cooking.
Finding Strength and Resilience:
While the absence of someone you love, mother or not, is a painful loss, it can also be an opportunity for personal growth, self-discovery, and finding inner strength. Each year, I grow a little more and learn more about myself as a mother, a woman and a wife.
I have learned that the world will not fall apart if I don't post on social media or update my website or cook dinner or go to Hellmart.
Mostly, I have learned that allowing myself to BE is the most powerful thing I can do for me and those who love me.
So for this May of Mother's Day and Mental Health Awareness Month...allow yourself to BE.