by Ondine Smulders, Existential psychotherapist
Where are you in your life’s journey as a woman right now? Fearful of the onset of menopause, caught up in its midst, or perhaps already past its horizon?
The menopause is often experienced as a challenging time by women. It takes place at all embodied levels; the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual. Studies show that it affects the home and sex lives of more than half of menopausal women and more than one third say that it impacts on their work.
In some cultures, menopause is widely accepted and celebrated as a natural part of life, but in the West it is often seen as an issue to be treated medically because of its links to ageing, hot flushes, mood swings and the 35 other symptoms. Instead of considering it a normal part of the life cycle and a transition period to an age of wisdom, it is seen as the start of our decline into old age, a time when we lose our feminine power, our fertility and even our health. In a Western culture obsessed with looks and youthfulness, (post)-menopausal women gradually disappear over the horizon.
But menopause does not need to be a time where we gracefully disappear into invisibility. If you need emotional or mental health support, talking to a psychotherapist may help. They can support you when you feel down about the changes, are fearful of what may follow, or feel overwhelmed at home and at work.
In psychotherapy, I may help you to uncover what is happening to you. I may help you to reframe your life, to look differently at your experiences, and to gain a new perspective on where you may go next. This is a creative time, a new phase of adulthood where we may meet a new reality, recognise the changes in ourselves, and begin to accept our mortality. Welcoming this stage of our lives may help us to shed past understandings, develop a different perspective on ourselves, and achieve a new sense of freedom.