Thursday, September 02, 2010

Batten Down the Hatches

You've heard the joke that getting old is not for wimps. If you're in your twenties, that might sound like an excuse for saggy arms and spare tires. But believe me, with age comes not just wisdom, but some surprising rounds of pain and mind games you never see coming. 

Unless you listen to me.

You know about wrinkles. You know about gray hair. You may even know that women around menopause age need two hundred to three hundred calories less per day, which means eating the same way you have all your life will now make you fat. But do you know that menopause can make you crazy?

Most of the literature written by doctors lists "mood swings" along with hot flashes and increased abdominal fat (I know!) as symptom of menopause, but later in their narrative dismiss the same mood swings as those darn ladies worrying about their fat gut, thinning hair and wrinkles. 

Being a woman and all, I have come to recognize a monthly hormone storm and distinguish it from emotions that have an origin outside my own neurotransmitters. However, recognizing a hormone storm does not give me much power over the emotional havoc it wreaks. Now with the added bonus of the Creeping Menopause, the storms are getting stronger.

Yesterday morning, I had a category 5 hurricane in my head, and nothing I tried could calm the storm.  This one came in the form of a black-hole size depression, and made me (as usual) feel empathetic towards those of us with more chronic forms. 

As I walked the dogs, my own evil black cloud hovering over my head and a lump in my throat, I tried to force myself to be happy by reminding myself that I have a nice house, funny dogs, a wonderful husband and family. The painful sadness remained unfazed. I tried to shake myself out of it by telling myself that I should just be damn thankful that I am not one of the 1.2 billion humans on the planet without access to a flush toilet. The throat lump was only getting bigger. I tried to run it out, but I stepped off the treadmill feeling worse than before. It all ended soggily in a crying jag in the tub that continued unabated through drying and dressing and finally in a puddle on The Captain's shoulder.

Within a half-hour of the shoulder-puddle, it was over (luckily, since my next task was balancing the checking account, nothing you want to attempt while in a vulnerable state).

Why am I oversharing? Because somebody needs to. I would like to know that somebody else is crying while shaving their armpits because there's nothing to do but get on with the day, even if it requires duct taping a box of Kleenex to their face. So if you get any comfort in knowing this, then you're welcome.

And if you don't, start running before I have one of those anger hormone storms.


Jenny said...

All I can say is, yes! I've been crying myself through life this week. Damn hormones! Here I was, hoping they got friendlier with age..... how naive I was. Fuck!

piglet said...

I could tell you to enjoy your young, smooth skin and thick hair, but that would be as helpful as reminding you that you have a flush toilet. Have a nice day!

Brian the Felbernaut said...

If it helps...

I'm a guy (without the supposed monthly whatevers) and these kinds of days happen to me frequently.
I try the same tactics, and sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't.
I don't shave my armpits, it's true, but I try to continue on through the day, too.
Voicing such frustrations is a good thing. If anybody considers it oversharing, then too bad. You've got to take care of yourself, too.