MAN-O-PAUSE IT HAPPENS. You think it’s a woman’s only club, think again. I’m here to let the cat out of the bag. MEN GO THROUGH MAN-O-PAUSE!! How do I know this? It’s been nearly two years since my husband began struggling with his “life change”. We’ve had conversations with many of our male friends to realize that men do go through a change in their life. Just like woman, men’s body’s change, hormones change, and feelings change. They have night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings and more.
The burning question is, why are men, and the medical professionals not talking about it? The only exception was our Naturopath. Thankfully, he explained that as men age hormone production decreases and particular lifestyle habits have a negative impact on their hormones, especially cortisol and testosterone. Once they are low men begin to feel an imbalance in their body’s. Men need to know that they are not going crazy. Just like women, everyone goes through a “change”. Some go through it without symptoms and others go through it with all of the above symptoms and more!
Midlife shit hits the fan and the wake up calls are coming fast and furious. Passing out, emotional instability, and libido malfunctions keep happening. Heart doctor, heart monitors, endocrine doctor, they all say you’re fine. Each test comes back positive. Heart is strong. Mind is messing with you! Stress and physical imbalances cause you to feel like your life has been turned upside down! You’ve ignored many signals your body has been giving you, and you continue to ignore them and just push through. Work takes precedent over your health and well being. Now you are being forced to STOP, SLOW DOWN and LISTEN. You thought you were invincible and would just wait to change your unhealthy habits, when? When something really serious happens?
Your logical excuses no longer work. Your body, mind and spirit now have said, “WTF!” Depression, anxiety, and dysfunction are a bitch. YOU MUST face the reality that your habits, your body imbalances, your choices, and the ultimate result for not taking care of yourself is that you have launched yourself smack dab into MAN-O-PAUSE.
Two years ago “the change” started for my husband. It happened fast and furious or so it seemed. He is known as “Mr. Happy”, always strong, confident, embracing all people with his bubbly personality that is full of life and love. He is an all around great human, who over the course of these past two years sank deeper and deeper into unhappiness. Neither of us understood why. We thought it was just the stress and many unfortunate events that happened in his life. And in part, yes it was, but over time and with a lot of investigating, we realized his loss of happiness was caused by more than just the stress, it was also due to the change occurring in his body.
Man-o-pause~ Men’s “change of life” IS real. Just like woman, men experience changes in their bodies with mood swings and manic behavior. High highs and low lows happen. Feelings of doubt, anxiety and fear happen often. Men may not physically bleed monthly, however they do bleed emotions. The hard part is most men don’t communicate the same way women do. They don’t share their feelings because it’s totally not cool. It’s not the norm to communicate these kinds of feelings and in some men’s minds it’s a sign of weakness. Some men go deeper into a dark place; they leave their family, check out and blame others or circumstances for what is going on inside them. Men need to understand that this is a chemical change happening in their bodies. Traditional western medicine hasn’t addressed this condition in men the way they have with women.
The change can begin anytime after 45. Around mid-life, expected and unexpected events can take place. Kids head off to college creating empty nests. Jobs change followed by unexpected challenges such as family members or friends passing away. All of a sudden it feels like a part of your life has disappeared. For my husband who felt happy his entire life, the losses and the changes were overwhelming.
For a long time we didn’t know how to deal with his changing behavior. We talked a lot. We worked hard everyday trying to figure out what was the cause of his unhappiness. Once we realized there was more to his changing behaviors, we reached out for help and worked with several doctors and our naturopath. He sought counseling and coaching. He did things that were not easy for him to do such as asking for help and talking to others. He began to unwind and feel his vulnerability. He started to change his habits and his lifestyle. His determination has been key. In our 45 years together, communication has always been the ultimate form of love and the deep foundation of our relationship. This journey has become an even greater exhibit of true unconditional love and compassion.
Until now he thought his habits served him well. He didn’t see the correlation between his health, food, sleep and lifestyle. The happy life he once had vanished. He no longer could function the way he used to. In order for him to heal he needed to take his situation seriously!
What Mr. Happy needed was to:
- Believe and trust that he could turn this around.
- Have a strong sense of hope and faith.
- Educate himself and trust his supporters
- Take responsibility for his life, actions and his choices.
- Become focused, disciplined and determined.
- Gather a group of health care professionals who would support him
- Realize his new goal and purpose was to GET HEALTHY.
- Take care of himself first and know that THIS WAS NOT being SELFISH!
Here’s what he discovered:
- His journey is challenging but worth it.
- Consistency is essential with his daily practices
- Journal writing helps with accountability and self-discovery.
- Meditation, prayer and exercise is a great way to start the day.
- Working with his naturopath and taking herbal and homeopathic supplements does work.
- Eating on time is important.
- Sleep is critical and getting into bed by 11pm helps.
- By making the changes, anxiety and overwhelm began to fade.
He continues to get support, feel and express his emotions, learn more about himself and focus on getting stronger and happier every day. Through his new daily routines, continual conversations, and emotional growth spurts, he is feeling his happy more often.
Everyday is a new day, not to be judged, just embraced with love. Even when a challenge day occurs, and they still happen, he approaches them differently and with a greater understanding. He uses these days to practice putting his new tools to work which help lift him up.
Mr. Happy’s 2.0 Daily Rituals for balance and self-care.
- Wake up thankful. Prayer time.
- Drink glass of water.
- 5 Tibetans and chakra meditation. Quiet time. Journal. 30 min.
- Daily Exercise of 30 minutes or more.
- Write a daily schedule. Plan in fun time.
- Breakfast by 10am
- Lunch by 2:00pm
- Dinner by 7:00pm
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
- In bed by 11pm
Living through this change of life with my husband has been a labor of love. He and I together share this story and our journey with the hope that it will help others know that they are not alone in this natural life experience.
Health is our greatest gift. IF we don’t have it, what do we have?