Amenorrhea – Where do you look when your periods stop?

Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation  

In 2014 I moved to London and my periods stopped.  

Within a couple of months the stress I had placed myself under to get a flat and job resulted in me eating very little and dropping from 50/55kg to 41.7kg.  

Prior to 2014, my periods came every month. I rarely had any symptoms in the week leading to my period, but when it came, it was nothing short of horrendous.  

If it came at night (which frequently it did), then I would have a mass exodus of everything and anything from my body leaving me sleeping on the bathroom floor in an exhausted heap because I was fed up of going from my bed to the bathroom every five seconds. If it wasn’t that, then I would get restless leg syndrome and my legs would constantly shake beyond my control or ability to stop it. Even when exhausted they would continue to shake.  

The cramping pain would be equally unbearable by day, living on painkillers for a week at the maximum dosage I was allowed, often having to take time off work.  

Moving to London was a huge step up for me and while I had lived away from home when I was 16 and was used to being away from family, now the sole responsibility of finding somewhere to live was on my shoulders. And yet, I wasn’t completely alone. In hindsight, I had tons of support but couldn’t see it and I had the belief that I had to do it all by myself.  

It wasn’t until my periods stopped that I realised how much I had shut myself off from acknowledging and claiming that I was actually a woman. I know – the oddity of this statement has not been lost on me. 

Once the periods stopped I had the space to see and feel what my relationship with myself truly was. I had a long-lasting momentum of constantly ignoring my body, where any messages would get smothered with gaming, my food choices, self-criticism or negative thoughts. It was through the support of the Universal Medicine modalities that I started to heal and see how my choices were impacting on my body and any future choices. 

I continued to live in a victim mode and acted like a small child for some time further because at the time it seemed convenient to absolve myself of any responsibility for the state my choices got me to, but things started to turn around with the combined help of Universal Medicine modalities, practitioners of esoteric healing modalities and conventional medicine.  

With the Esoteric practitioners, I worked through my hurts, expectations and beliefs. I joined a sacred movement class and during this time I got to see how my behaviour of throwing a tantrum as a kid and getting attention was still being played out in my 20’s. Eventually, I learnt that such behaviour only drained my energy and since it wasn’t getting the desired response, it started to fall away.  

My journey of rebuilding my relationship with myself started with the Gentle Breath Mediation once a day. Esoteric Yoga I later found to be a huge support in rebuilding a connection with my body and the essence within it. I began to see that at my core I wasn’t something to be ignored but actually very beautiful and worth taking care of. I laid a foundation to build a relationship with my body whereby I trusted and followed more how my body was needing me to live than what was coming through my head.  

Of conventional medicine, I had all the appropriate tests and scans and it all boiled it down to I had to gain more weight. At one point I tried to force the weight gain but it wouldn’t work, so I gave up. Within a space of about a year my weight stabilised at around 52-55 but still no period.  

Over the course of these four years, conventional medicine would suggest the pill to give me a fake period. I didn’t want to take the pill and carry on as usual as somewhere deep down I had a sense that the root of the matter wasn’t going to be healed if I did do this. Eventually, I would take the pill for one or two courses then drop it. Months passed then I’d pick it up and drop it again. However, towards the end I found that this resistance to taking the pill built up more hardness towards myself. In the end I went back to the pill when I felt it was supportive to prevent bone density degradation.  

When I did have a bleed from these induced periods the way I experienced them during my teenage/early 20s came flooding back in, waiting for me to address it. I found that while wearing pads, my pelvic floor and groin muscles would be super tight, and having become more aware and taken greater care of my body this behaviour felt very painful. Over time I learned to relax my muscles and not tense up and clench in fear of something bad happening. I found this to be a supportive aspect of the pill as it did get me to look at how I was with myself during my period.  

Over time and as my relationship with my body strengthened, the scared little girl persona dropped away. The weight returned naturally, I felt more steady in myself and found that the best place to be is not in my head (mind) but in the stillness of my body which without fail every time made sense and a massive difference. 

Between January and April 2018, I wanted to change jobs but couldn’t due to certain circumstances. In reaction, I started to eat more (working in a restaurant made this extra, super easy to do) and went up to 65k. Now I was well over the recommended weight from the doctor but felt this was not a true weight for me either. What did happen though was my natural cycle restarted.  

Since my periods came back I have had to relearn how to be with the process. It is still syncing itself as in, it is still taking time to regain a steady set number of days, but the way I am with it now has changed.  

Before the pause in periods, I would get no pre-menstrual symptoms. The week before my first returned period it felt like my breasts were constantly on fire and I actually thought I was becoming mentally unstable because I was so reactive. It was only once my first returned period came did I realise that I wasn’t going mad but it was pre-menstrual tension. I know now that these before symptoms are a message to be listened to and since I’ve been looking at that and as a result of observing how I live between the periods, each week before my period the tension has lessened in intensity, I no longer feel like I want to bite someone’s head off! Likewise, when my period has come, I have not had such extreme symptoms like I used to have. I have not experienced restless legs nor do I live on painkillers anymore.  

I now marvel at how supportive and responsive my body is back with me, either starting my period in the night, or just after work or on my day off, giving me the first day/hours a chance to rest. I also love how the flow works as well, very light in the evenings and moderate during the day and consistent throughout and over the months.   

These days I take far more care of myself while I am on my period than I did ever before and I know that how I am living will be all brought back to me in the periods to come. I have this in my consideration whereas before I did not. I never had any connection between how I was living and the symptoms I was experiencing. 

Knowing what I have learnt through this experience I consider having had Amenorrhea a blessing as it has allowed me to stop what I was doing and go deeper into the relationship I have with myself which ultimately then effects the relationship I have with life and everything and everyone else around me. There is far more to learn and this time I approach it more openly and want to enjoy getting to know and care for myself deeper as this then equally extends outwardly.  

By Leigh, UK

For further inspiration…

Periods and joy in the same sentence? Totally possible.. Shevon shares her experience.

A woman’s cycle is an opportunity each and every month.. what are the different phases of our menstrual cycle and what are they showing us? Check out this three-minute video.

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