Silence is Stupid!
There’s a quote that says, “Silence is Golden.” But, I disagree. I think silence is stupid!
You know, we humans are odd. We tend to behave in ways that are not in our best interest. Instead of behaving in ways that conform with our natural tendencies, we modify our behavior.
For instance, do you realize that your body talks to you? It doesn’t talk verbally, like we do to each other. Instead, it talks to you by creating symptoms to get your attention and make you aware that something’s wrong. The problem is that we ignore the things our bodies are trying to tell us.
When you came into the world as a newborn, you couldn’t do much of anything. You had needs, but you depended on others to meet them. Your job was to make sure they knew you needed something. So, even though you were completely incapable of doing anything for yourself, the one thing you could do quite well was cry. Crying was your only way of communicating. And, boy, did it work to make everyone take care of you. If, as a newborn, you had remained silent when you needed something, there’s no telling what disasters might have befallen you. Silence could have resulted in your demise. Silence would have been stupid.
Then, as you got older, you discovered that your own body had a way of communicating its needs to you. Pain indicated an injury. Itching indicated an allergy. Aching indicated muscle soreness. Your body created a whole smorgasbord of sensations to let you know something was wrong. So your body was not silent. It “spoke up” to let you know when there was a problem. And then you spoke up to get help. Silence would have been stupid.
When puberty came along, you had no difficulty announcing the arrival of your first period. Your mom had probably already been plenty vocal in warning you of its inevitability. Unfortunately, she probably didn’t bother to include anything about menopause as the bookend to puberty. But, why not? Why the silence? Menopause is really just puberty in reverse. So why did she tell you about puberty, but not menopause?
And as you aged, you talked a lot about your periods over the next 30 years or so. You even talked quite a bit about PMS. All these things were your reality. So why hide them? Half of the world’s population experienced them. So it just seemed stupid to be silent about them.
And, pregnancy, … oh my goodness! Not only is there no silence about that, there’s endless conversation about it. It’s one of the biggest events of your life. So most women talk about it before, during, and after the actual event.
Women are known for talking! We talk about everything … except menopause.
So why are we silent on the subject of menopause?
The odd thing about human behavior is that, although we refuse to listen to our own bodies, we do listen to everything and everybody else: Dr. Google, celebrities who are not experts on the topic, advertisers, marketers, ignorant girlfriends, hype, scare tactics. We listen to all the wrong things instead of listening to the one right thing.
Somewhere during the course of your life, you got the notion that you shouldn’t speak up about certain things. For some odd reason, you decided that speaking up was a form of weakness. And, odder still, you got the idea that suffering in silence was a form of martyrdom. You adopted phrases like, “Grin and bear it;” “No pain, no gain,” “I can tough it out,” etc. They all implied that you should not acknowledge the signs and symptoms that your body provided to protect you. They implied that you should just ignore your body’s way of speaking up to let you know something was wrong.
And, finally, you ended up here, at the time of menopause. Mother Nature instilled your body with a whole host of symptoms to get your attention when you lose your estrogen at post-menopause. You have over 20 horrible symptoms from your head to your toes that turn every aspect of your life upside down and make you absolutely miserable. But, … you ignore them and remain silent.
They are all symptoms of estrogen deficiency, which is the very definition of menopause. Of course, this huge list of symptoms usually follows years of wacky periods that were also a warning that menopause was just around the corner. But, even though all those horrible symptoms hit most women over the head like a ton of bricks and turn their lives upside down, most women remain silent. It’s as if they seem to think their silence constitutes some type of martyrdom. I assure you that no man would endure all those miserable symptoms silently.
You are so entrenched in your silence that you don’t even wake up to the fact that all your symptoms are your body’s way of hollering at you to alert you to the fact that estrogen is missing. Every cell in your body is starving. That’s why you have symptoms from your head to your toes.
But, you’re so good at staying silent that you just pretend everything’s fine. And, because you refuse to admit that you just might be experiencing menopause, you fail to get the education you need to manage it. You think your silence is stoic. But, in reality, it’s stupid.
You don’t speak up and tell your doctor that you’re having over 20 miserable symptoms of estrogen deficiency. And your doctor doesn’t speak up and tell you what to expect. You both remain silent. The silence is just soooo stupid!
Menopause is a hormone deficiency just like any other hormone deficiency. All hormone deficiencies produce a long list of symptoms to alert you to the fact that a hormone is missing. This is true regardless of the particular hormone that’s deficient.
Diabetes, which is insulin deficiency produces a long list of symptoms. Likewise, hypothyroidism, which is thyroid hormone deficiency, produces a long list of symptoms. And if you don’t replace the missing hormone for those situations, the hormone deficiency causes diseases that are ultimately fatal.
Oh my! Do you think the same could be true for estrogen deficiency? And if it is, why in the world would everyone be silent about it?
Well, my dear, I’m breaking the silence to tell you that estrogen deficiency is like any other hormone deficiency. It is not just about hot flashes. It’s about the diseases that are due to estrogen deficiency. What are they? Heart attack, Osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s.
The sad thing is that most women have no idea that these diseases are a direct consequence of losing their estrogen at menopause. And, with all the silence on the topic of menopause, it’s usually too late once they find out.
You see, there’s another facet to why silence is stupid. Have you ever heard of a “silent disease”? A “silent disease” is one that does not produce any symptoms. You have no idea the disease is lurking because you feel fine.
But the horrible thing about a silent disease is that it progresses until … bam! … a catastrophic event occurs. And the ironic thing about all the silence that characterizes menopause is the fact that all 3 of these diseases (Heart attack, Osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s) are silent until they are deadly.
Heart attack is the biggest killer of menopausal women. It kills 1 out of 2 women. But doctors don’t warn you about that. Their silence is inexcusably stupid. Without estrogen, you build up plaque in your heart arteries for years or decades without a clue that it’s happening. And then, when you least expect it, you have a heart attack.
But there’s more! The symptoms of a heart attack in a woman are very different from those in a man. Men have crushing chest pain with radiation into their left arm. Women don’t. Women have jaw, neck, or back discomfort that they don’t even describe as pain.
So there are 2 forms of silence with a heart attack: (1) You don’t know you’re heading for one, and (2) You don’t know you’re having one.
So, why, oh why, don’t people talk about this so that women are aware?
Osteoporosis is just as bad. When you lose your estrogen, you start losing bone. But, there are no symptoms of bone loss. It’s a silent disease. So you lose bone like crazy for years and then, bam! Your first indication of a problem comes in the form of a fracture of your spine or hip from something that should never cause a fracture. Women fracture their spines by merely coughing or sneezing. They fracture their hips when just standing still, doing nothing. They don’t fall and fracture. They literally fracture first and then fall … all because there’s no bone there. And the reason there’s no bone there is because estrogen loss causes bone loss, period.
The mortality rate after the first osteoporotic fracture is 20%. But fractures beget fractures. So most women have one after another. And they never heal because there’s no bone there. They are crippled for life, and cannot ever live independently again. Go to any nursing home in the world. I guarantee that 90% of the residents are women who have fractured.
Yet, nobody tells you about all this in advance. Isn’t that stupid?
Alzheimer’s is pretty much the ultimate in why silence is stupid. Your brain has estrogen receptors. Estrogen is its fuel, and it cannot function without it. Why do you think you get brain fog when you hit menopause? Well, if you extrapolate that brain fog over the next decade or so, what do you think is happening to your brain? It’s shrinking! That’s what Alzheimer’s is: Brain shrinkage. Your brain goes from large to small, ever so slowly and silently. And it’s silent until you’ve lost 40% of your brain.
That forgetfulness and brain fog you have for years is your brain’s attempt to wake you up and get your attention … but most women just ignore it and remain silent. That silence is stupid!
Alzheimer’s has a 100% mortality rate. That makes it 100% stupid.
So why don’t doctors equip you with the knowledge that there are silent but deadly diseases associated with estrogen deficiency?
To have 3 deadly diseases that all creep up on you silently is just super-stupid.
The message that I’m delivering to you loudly and clearly is this: Menopause is estrogen deficiency that produces symptoms to wake you up so that you’ll speak up before you develop the 3 silent diseases that can kill you. There are all sorts of things you can do to prevent both the symptoms and the diseases. But they are not all equal in their abilities. So you have to learn about the limitations of each of your management options.
If you live as long as expected, your menopause will constitute the longest hormonal phase of your life. Once you reach menopause, you will be a menopausal woman for the rest of your life. Are you going to stay silent about it for half of your life? You have more control over the menopausal portion of your life than you do over any other time. But you relinquish that control if you remain silent. Why would you do that? And if you do remain silent into your golden years, there won’t be anything “golden” about them. So give all this silence some thought. And then speak up and never shut up.
Cry like a baby if necessary. It’s the first thing you learned to do upon entry into this world. Don’t stop. It served you well when you were born, and it will serve you well now. Refuse to grin and bear the misery. Don’t settle for anything less. Make a lot of noise to get what you want for managing your menopause your way.
Silence is a form of bondage. The only way you’ll break out of bondage is to break the silence.
Silence is stupid!