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I had no idea this was a thing

I just don’t feel like myself. 

Such an ambiguous, nondescript statement. 

However, if you know, you know—and, according to research by Nina Coslov and her team at Women Living Better, a fair amount of midlife women certainly do. 

In fact, not feeling like myself (NFLM) is one of the most common complaints from women in perimenopause. 

Fatigue, overwhelm, lowered mood, and increased anxiety are the symptoms most associated with NFLM, though it can present differently for everyone. 

The first time I stumbled upon the phrase, I sat up straight, nodding emphatically. Yes, that’s it!*

I did not become aware of this terminology until I was well into my Menopause Hormone Therapy treatment and gratefully back to feeling like myself.

Years prior, my personal experience of NFLM also included: Going through the motions. Not necessarily unhappy or depressed. But. Languishing. Meh. Disconnected. Uninspired. Irritable. More anxious and overwhelmed. Uncomfortable and out of character.

That’s right, I just didn’t feel like myself.  It frequently nagged at me and subtly unnerved me.

What makes NFLM so slippery is the very vagueness of feeling. Though we sense it deeply, if we are unaware of NFLM as a common perimenopause symptom, we question our perception. It feels intense and real, yet near impossible to articulate or put our finger on. Ergo, we doubt ourselves, our perception, our shifting relationships with those we love, and how we navigate the world around us. 

Around and around we go.

No wonder many women experience a loss of self-confidence and shaken sense of themselves during this season of life. Who wouldn’t?

The good news is that there is power in simply recognizing, naming, and normalizing that which is troubling us. 

It also provides a place from which to start, to take action, to share what we’ve learned with others, to rest in the knowledge that we are not alone, nor losing touch with reality. (Rather, I would argue, we are very much in touch with it. Instead it’s a matter of trusting ourselves.).

Feeling like myself, for me, means sleeping reasonably well; waking up most days feeling positive; possessing enough energy to complete a routine workout; more easily able to shake off minor irritations; more able to cope with the stressors life inevitably throws my way; and more able to retrieve random words from a once-again-efficient brain.

How did I get back there?

It was not a simple, straight line, I assure you. Eventually, I recognized the cause (perimenopause), painstakingly gathered intel, began hormones, adjusted the regimen, revamped my daily habits (including how I eat and exercise), started talking to other midlife women, and kindly adjusted my mindset (The exact treatment plan is unique to everyone.).

An imperfect work in progress, but, man, it’s fantastic to feel like myself again. 

This is just part of why I care so deeply about educating and empowering others grappling with perimenopause. Because when we women are operating at our best and feeling like ourselves, we can get on with running the world.

If not feeling like yourself resonates with you, I want to help you change that.

*(Thank you, Nina Coslov and team for identifying, naming and studying it for us.)(tag/share with Nina Coslov)


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