If I'm being honest, it's been happening for almost five years, the change. When it started I was in a season of life that brought with it a tremendous load of stress and anxiety. I began missing a cycle here and there and went to the doctor to be told it was likely due to PTSD of sorts. Based on that, I tried to reduce stress but my driven nature wouldn't allow it. I decided to start a business.
I forged ahead and within a year began experiencing THE MOST anxiety I've ever felt that eventually evolved into full blown panic attacks. By this time my business was close to launching and I had developed an exit plan for my day job. Every day I walked into the building where I worked, a panic attack would begin. It got to the point that when the panic attacks began I would turn around and walk right back out of the building. I'd call in late, or sick, or work from home. Then I took sick days to visit my doctor and land myself on 3 emergency room visits because I was certain I was having a heart attack.
My life or death, flight only situations were both traumatizing and eye-opening. By the third ER visit, God spoke clearly to me that I was having a nervous breakdown. I left the hospital determined to get off the anxiety and blood pressure meds and leave my job.
Monthly cycles continued to be erratic, my ob/gyn did two uterine biopsies in the course of a year (might as well have given birth with the amount of pain those cause!), and I finally had to ask for blood work to see if my hormones were off. Off they were. Results showed perimenopause. I asked what I should do for that and she only said that she'd get me some hormone replacement meds if hot flashes were bothering me.
At that point, hot flashes weren't in the picture, but I sure could have used some help for those ridiculously erratic periods, mood swings, and anxiety. I went on my way realizing I had entered a time of life that was bound to come sometime and I'd just have to deal with it.
That year rounded out with my Dad passing from an 11-week battle with cancer. It would be the life-altering season that would change my mindset and my focus.