Menopausal crisis of creativity

I remember when my best friend, who is ten years older than I, would talk about waiting for her post-menopausal zest to arrive as she was going through menopause. She read somewhere that once you’re finally through it all, you have this amazing energy for life…or something like that. I don’t know if she’s found her zest, but I do know she thinks since everything has settled down she enjoys the calm that finally comes with not having raging hormones anymore.

I too am anxious for my post menopausal zest to arrive. In its absence, I think I’m suffering from some kind of pre-zest brain burn-out.

I’ve had the summer off thanks to my profession as a high school teacher. And now before you think I have no right to complain about anything to do with the summer off please keep in mind that I teach my ass off for ten months and get paid like crap, but I digress…

At the end of the school year when everyone was asking about summer plans, my stock answer was that I am going to spend time on my own artwork. Being an artist and teaching at an art school really saps your energy for your own work, so having a summer to focus on my own stuff was very appealing.

My summer, however, didn’t really manifest any new and great art work I must say. I spent the good part of the start of vacation watching almost every match of the World Cup, and then the next half of the summer watching 21 stages of the Tour de France. Now if you are going to watch that much sports you need to balance it out with watching a whole lot of Food Network shows. So much sports needs a high caloric intake of food shows it would seem.

But don’t get me wrong. I didn’t just lay around like a sack of potatoes the whole time. I rode my bike and ran, swam and did yoga throughout the summer. Not all in one day mind you, but I did at least one thing every day or almost every day. I also socialized, went to the movies, and painted and refurbished bits and pieces of my house.

What I didn’t do was focus on my art. It is as if I didn’t have the energy to even think creatively. I could read about it, talk about it, and even think about what it was that I’d do if I did anything, but when it came to actually doing anything, well it just wasn’t happening. And this is coming from someone whose second bedroom looks like an art supply store.

I’ve been an artist ever since I could hold a crayon. I was famous in fourth grade for my Snoopy laying on the doghouse drawings. Back then I thought of being an artist as having super powers. Even now I can’t imagine what people do in their own homes if they’re not drawing or painting or creating. Yet here I’ve been for weeks on end with absolutely no interest in picking up a pencil. I’ve tried. But I just can’t seem to get any momentum.

I’ve wondered what the heck is wrong with me? Without the hot flashes and itching I’ve almost felt like I’m all done with this menopause bs. But then it dawned on me. Do I have some sort of menopausal burnt-out brain? Some kind of menopausal crisis of creativity? Will this pass soon?

If all goes well mid September I hit the magical twelve month mark. Will I transition into my post menopausal zest from there? And will I want to draw and will I have creative brain cells again maybe…hopefully…

Let’s put it this way, I’m hoping my super powers do not disappear with my estrogen!

So please, let me know what you gals think. Have you noticed any difficulties with your motivation to do whatever it is you love to do? And is there such a thing as post menopausal zest? Please share your thoughts down in the comments section and let me know I’m not alone in my hormonal creative dysfunction!


P.S. This is my 100th post to this blog so that’s something now isn’t it! 😉

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Posted in histamine intolerance, menopause, peri-menopause, Women's health
17 comments on “Menopausal crisis of creativity
  1. LK says:

    Wow! After googling histamine / menopause I found your blog……and today’s blog on creativity or lack of…. hit home. I too have wondered about my artist block on top of “everything” else going on. Hives,night sweats, gastrointestinal issues, anxiety, and now I can not seem to stir a creative bone in my body! I get motivated and do a lot of ” organizing” to get ready to paint and then…. nothing. Inspiration hits and is gone before I can act on it.
    I will go back and catch up on your prior posts, but I had to comment on this because I almost couldn’t believe that I wasn’t the only one! I sure hope I find that “zest” at the end of this long menopausal journey. Thank You for the blog.

    • LK, I am so happy you found me! Let me tell you when I read that you spend time organizing and then nothing happens I really had to laugh. I spent days redesigning my second bedroom, that I use as a studio, into a better working environment. Then I bought a beautiful block of water color paper. And then…nothing. The room sits waiting with the water color paper laying on a desk. I go in and think wow, this room is nice…

      What media do you work with? Do you have a website you can share and we can take a look at your work? I’d love to see. Maybe we can motivate each other!

      Anyway, let me know if you actually ever do paint something again. So very glad you found my blog!


  2. LK says:

    Oh my! I have spent the better part of the afternoon reading earlier posts! I am stunned that so much that you have discovered on your quest I too had wondered about!?! I am going to list some of my experiences in the hopes that it might help someone else.
    All this craziness started at age 49, here goes………hold on it gets bumpy, literally,
    Hives large itchy hot welts located inner thighs, soles of feet, palms of hands.
    Swelling of lips or eye lids.
    Itching of upper arms or around collar bone ( without hives )
    No longer able to drink green tea,beer, wine, eat chocolate, blu cheese, prepared luncheon meats, any frozen pre packaged food, chicken, peanuts or peanut butter or anything prepared with peanut oil, ( I do not have a peanut allergy )
    Night sweats on and off over three years. From mild to soaking wet. Yuck.
    Sometimes skin smelled like sunburned skin after a severe night sweat. Double yuck weird.
    Hives started three years ago lasted eighteen months stopped
    for a year, reappeared. Oh joy.
    Left ear drum beat /flutter along with sudden head congestion always at night. Does not last long. But long enough to make you think you are nuts.
    Heart beat flutters and adrenaline like rush about an hour after going to bed.
    Facial flushing after eating certain foods like tuna.
    Waking up with nervous stomach feeling, even though not nervous.
    Nausea mild to severe ( very similar to morning sickness)
    Had to stop Evening Primrose oil , caused ovarian cyst
    Use Zyrtec as last resort for pressure urticaria/hives
    I have stopped all supplements because I couldn’t tell what was causing what!
    Will start another food journal and may introduce one supplement at a time.
    Luckily all of these lovely things have not occurred at once but seem to come and go on some weird rotation seemingly with no pattern. However everything seems to be exacerbated around ovulation and or period or if I have skipped a period, all hell breaks loose. All thyroid and antibody test results are normal,of course. Normal weight.
    The topic of mast cells and their connection to hormones landed me at your site so you are definitely on to something! Thanks very much again.

    • Wow, you had the eardrum flutter thing too? See, I’m not crazy! I swear my whole blog is an exercise in proving women having hormonal issues are not going insane!

      I hope you find some of my suggestions help. Please come back and share.

  3. Ann says:

    Hi Dale.
    Interesting input, I used to enjoy writing like in fiction.
    Was going well with a novel and came to a halt, mum passed away and I thought I had lost
    interest because of her passing. Perhaps my half written novel can be attributed to time of life, I was 64 going on 44 when she passed away. I now do not have any interest in the family tree that I was so wrapped up in and met relations around the globe I never knew I had. So it languishes with no input.
    At Christmas I turn 70. I had no problem turning 30 or 40, not even 50 or 60 but 70 is a bit of a worry! I am still half interested in the garden, but have no passion for that.
    So I am wondering what your friend who is 10 years your senior is taking? LOL

    Hi LK

    Your welts and hives sound just like mine, the specialist did say they are caused also by pressure. But when you mentioned them on your lips, I began to be concerned for you
    as they can come into the throat my specialist said. So I need to take medication with me
    just in case they do come in the throat. [Like a peanut allergic reaction] I do have them in the intestine and bowel so I attribute that to my IBS I used to have. I say used to, as now I have a low histamine diet the IBS seems to have vanished too. I mentioned this to a specialist, whether he believed me or not I do not know, but it sort of explains [as I told him] why doctors have not discovered the reason for IBS. [which I have suffered from for 20 years] Now if I am forgetful and have a high histamine intake, I will have a tummy upset and have to rush to the toilet.
    [sigh] Good luck!


    • So then Ann, you are still waiting for your post menopausal zest?! I don’t think my friend takes anything. She is a healthy eater and keeps herself in great shape. Maybe she’s just lucky!

      And about that next birthday, I’ll tell you what my 78 year old yoga teacher always says to us: not happy about that birthday, look at the alternative. That always cures me of any negative thoughts!

  4. K.K. says:

    A short answer is that it will get better.

    A short suggestion is do not dwell on it, do not worry over it.

    Forgot for now the painting, the writing, etc.

    The more we focus on something, the bigger it gets, and so on.

    Go do something else, take up something new.

    When it’s time, you will return to the things here, and/or maybe you will have also discovered whole new worlds to conquer.

    Absolutely right about the birthdays, Dale.

    I am grateful to be alive, any warts and all. 🙂

  5. […] A couple of months ago I wrote about feeling less than creative as an artist in my post:Menopausal crisis of creativity. […]

  6. […] of this conversation is the “doing lots of art” thing. Around this time last year I was lamenting the loss of my talent and drive to do anything at all let alone art. I thought my creative juices left with […]

  7. Holly says:

    You are not alone. I am also an artist who has lost the creative drive after menopause. I started menopause at 38 after ovarian cancer and it is insane all the symptoms I have. I am now 41 and have aged in so many ways and especially miss my creative focus. I too am hoping for some “zest” to zap me out of this fog soon.

    • Hang in there Holly it really does happen. I’ve returned to my art and am doing some of my best work now. I have an Instagram if you’d like to take a look. It has a couple of finished things and some sketchbook work. It’s not a lot on there so far, but more than anything you can see that I am doing something so that’s hopefully a peek into your future.



  8. Annie says:

    I am seriously concerned because as a writer and artist my most creative and productive time is before and during ovulation. As we all know that must come to an end some day and there’s nothing we can do about it. …but then what for the people who make their livings off being creative?
    I fear that once I’m done I won’t be able to have the great ideas I once had. To me that is practically being dead while still being alive. Doctors don’t care which makes it worse.

    • Let me reassure you that once I got through the worst of it I became as productive, or maybe even more so, again. I write, I paint, I draw…

      My friend and I used to joke about post menopausal zest. She read that somewhere. But guess what, it’s true. I have more energy now than before menopause. I run, I ride a bike, travel, socialize. I did all that before too, but now without crashing fatigue dogging me.

      So don’t worry if you are a creative now you will be a creative again. It’s a physical and mental transition for sure. But it is not an ending. It is a fresh beginning after a bumpy trip!

      Hang in there! It does get better.

  9. […] wrote (on August 2, 2014) about being a struggling artist with a lack of creativity when I was nearing […]

  10. Thanks for this. I’ve been looking all over for someone who understood what I was talking about. Glad to see you’ve started creating again. It’s been rough not wanting to draw or write but I keep trying. I am doing a lot of staring off to the horizon with a cup of hot tea! 😬 Just waiting…watching…. I’m @sullivandraws on Instagram.

  11. […] droge maar verhelderende cijfers, weer eens putten uit de rijke ervaringen van andere vrouwen. Dit blog is wel in het Engels, maar het is de moeite waard je even in te spannen. De perimenopausale […]

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