I didn’t intentionally plan on taking a break from writing. It just happened.
After many months battling my highly fluctuating menopausal hormones I was mentally exhausted. I was tired of not feeling myself, experiencing frequent bouts with anxiety and worry over nothing.
I tried meditation, exercise, supplements, accupuncture, wishful thinking, and although each provided some relief, in the long term it never lasted or wasn’t enough. I was lost scurrying down the rabbit hole….searching and concerned that I’d never find myself again. This, of course, only led to additional anxiety and despair.
I no longer felt like writing. I just couldn’t get inspired.
My homeopathic doctor suggested I get updated bloodwork and other tests to check on my hormone levels. After I completed this, she assured me that I was almost done with perimenopause and that despite the chaste tree berry supplements I had been taking for many months, my progesterone was still rock bottom. I’ve learned way more about the female hormonal system then I ever cared to know, but apparently low progesterone has negative affects on mood and anxiety. She recommended I ditch the chaste berry and move toward using a progesterone cream.
At this point I was desperate to try anything.
I’m happy to say that (for now) my anxiety levels have returned to normal and I am feeling like myself once again. I am not sure if it is the progesterone cream working its magic, or if my hormones have just finally settled down on their own. Either way, it feels great to be me again! Each morning I wake up with a newfound gratitude for just “feeling like me”.
So what about my shopping?
Thankfully, I am doing well and did not turn to shopping to lift me out of my hormonal quick sand. I still shop, of course, but I am much more careful and selective and most of all, I am aware of what I can afford to spend. I still haven’t “saved” much, but I am working on that. During this low period, I did not find myself lured to the thought that shopping could solve my issues or rescue me. I was not fooled by the empty promise of a shopping binge and knew that putting myself into debt would only increase my distress.
I still love to shop though and acquiring a new, fresh outfit is still exciting. I’m just more selective now and continue to practice “pausing” when I shop so that I avoid any compulsive purchases. I find I am better off shopping online than visiting a store. Although I enjoy shopping in boutiques or the mall, when I am there I can feel my resistance weaken and I become tempted to throw caution to the wind and buy anything that strikes my fancy. The battle to control myself is much more difficult.
For instance, last week I accidentally dropped my phone in water (uggh) and I went to the Apple store at the mall to get it replaced. As a “walk in” I was instructed that I would be placed on the queue and that I should return in an hour. It is easy for me to spend an hour at the mall, but I wasn’t there to shop for clothing.
I started to stroll around, looking in the store windows. I entered Zara…my eyes were darting everywhere, but nothing sparked any real interest. I left thinking “see I got this”. I felt confident for about a minute until my eyes caught sight of a black jumpsuit in the White House Black Market display window. I was drawn inside and wondered if this jumpsuit might be a nice option to wear to my niece’s upcoming wedding. I then saw a white sequin tank top and the little girl in me got all excited about wearing something sparkly to dinner on the weekend. I grabbed the jumpsuit and the sparkles, and continued walking around. I gathered a pair of white pants, a shimmery skirt and jacket, and another black lace dress to try on. But before I reached the dressing rooms, REASON caught my attention.
Why was I here? Did I really need any of these items? I had a few dresses to choose from for the wedding, and I never wear sparkly clothing when I go out to dinner. I quickly returned each item to the place I found them and left the store. Taking a deep breath, I continued to aimlessly wander and without any retail damage I managed to get my phone replaced and leave the mall. Success, but it was a battle.
In the days after that mall trip I had no regrets about NOT purchasing any of those items. That is why PAUSING before purchasing can be so powerful. When I shop online, I will gather items in my cart and then do nothing. I will move on to another activity and let some time pass. If I return to the cart (sometimes I completely forget about it), I will reevaluate the need for each item and then proceed cautiously. If something sold out I can search for it elsewhere or just remind myself that there are many beautiful items out there and to just let this one go.
I prefer trying clothing on in my own home…in real lighting when I am not influenced by sales people or the high of the buy. I will not keep anything that I do not absolutely love. Yes, I may still return too much, but I would rather return items, then end up with a closet full of “just okay” things.
Recovering from any addiction is a life long challenge and that’s okay…life is full of challenges. Whether my challenge is shopping, hormones, or other life trials, I know I can succeed if I keep trying, remain patient and have faith!