Peri-menopause and Eating Disorders/Perimenopause and Eating Anxiety Disorder just don't mix. Not. One. Bit.
My latest revelation in recovery is the need for consistency. I've been able to find consistency in my meal plan, but what I need most right now is consistency in feedback - from those around me as I reveal my hidden self (the vulnerable emotions and thoughts I keep close), from my body to support my efforts to keep on a consistent meal plan and movement routine, from the world at large to help me remember that the big picture remains the same.
So here I am, in the beginnings of perimenopause. A time in a woman's life when nothing is consistent. My once clock-work periods - gone. I have no predictability as to when I may get my next period, to what my PMS will be, to how long my period will last and what it will be (heavy or light bleeding, long or short, severe or mild cramping...) Nothing is predictable. Add to it mood swings where I feel weepy for no "good" reason and little things annoy the snot out of me.
My husband mentioned that it seems like everything in my life falls into the gray area. I don't have anorexia (never qualified for all the points) - I have ED-NOS which is easier for people to shrug off as "not a real threat." I had to fight to be treated for hypothyroidism because I was borderline. And now, I'm in perimenopause - a diagnosis that is only given by age and symptoms, because hormone levels at this time are a veritable roller coaster that one would need to track the levels every day for months to "prove" scientifically that I am in perimenopause.
This gray area - where you are dismissed by laypeople and health pros alike as not having a "real" illness - leads to invalidation which becomes frustration and anger (and don't you dare tell me it's perimenopausal rage!) For me, these are feelings that I've always turned back onto myself with thoughts of "I'll show them how sick I am" or "I must be making all of this up; I don't deserve care." I isolate from people - because I'm afraid that I'll just receive more invalidation. The anger and frustration have no outlet - except for my tried and true, albeit unhealthy, coping methods.
Meditation, yoga, walking, deep breathing - these are budding skills I've added to my coping basket recently. What I'm finding though is that using these skills only increases my isolation. Loneliness descends like a wet wool blanket - heavy and suffocating under the weight, dragging me under, smothering. Not an unfamiliar feeling, but not as comforting as it once was.
The mantra that keeps repeating in my head, "The only way out is through."