Life After Forty, Mental Health, Perimenopause, Random Ramblings

Seventy-Nine Days

I’ve been away from WordPress for a while. Seventy-nine days, to be precise.  Over the years, I’ve struggled on and off with my pet demons: Depression, Procrastination, Fear, and Perfectionism.  They’re nothing new to me.  They are the enemies I’ve known so long, we should probably get matching coffee cups.

shake-it-off-mug

*Like this one from The Hillywood Show.

(I don’t know anything about your pet demons, but I’m sure mine drink lots of coffee!)

That said, I’ve known for some time that something else was going on, something I couldn’t quite grasp.  Vague symptoms have been popping up; little stuff that could have been anything, but all together add up to something.

I’m in my middle years, in my forties.  I’m not a kid anymore, but I’m not quite ready to look at retirement villages either.  Honestly, for a minute there, I REALLY enjoyed being in my forties.  I liked the idea of finally being in a place in my life where I didn’t care as much about random opinions.  I could focus on me.  My body wasn’t young anymore, but I finally felt comfortable in my own skin.  Being in your forties is like being in the middle of the herd.  It’s safe. It’s a good place to be.

Until it wasn’t.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like something wasn’t right, like I didn’t know my own body anymore, especially over the last few months.  I’ve had memory lapses, entire conversations…GONE!  Mood swings. Bouts of depression that have left me confused, because they’re not like the ones I’ve had in the past.  My body is achy, then it’s not!  I’ve had difficulty sleeping, like every sound is being magnified.  I’ve gained weight, but I’m active and I’m not overeating.  Sometimes, I get symptoms that vaguely seem familiar, symptoms that remind me of being pregnant, and yet I am most certainly NOT pregnant. I’ve been worrying over everything, almost to the point of paranoia.

For a while, I thought that maybe Depression was morphing into something else, something darker.  But there was no consistency to it.  I’d feel depressed, then BOOM! Now, I’m fine.  Oops!  Now, I’m not.  That’s not how my bouts of depression usually work. I usually slide slowly into my depression, then gradually pull myself back out.  But lately, my brain is all over the place.  I’ve been feeling like I’m losing my mind.  I was plagued with thoughts of dying, but NOT of suicide.  It’s more like I thought maybe there was something REALLY wrong with my body, that it was finally failing me for good.

I’ve been grasping at every straw I could think of, trying to figure this all out, trying to make myself better.  But I couldn’t put it all together.  Aches and pains are common.  Lack of sleep happens to all of us, from time to time.  Everything I’ve been experiencing seemed so random and unrelated.  Plus, my symptoms were inconsistent.  I’d feel like I’d lost my mind, then I’d feel like me again.  Sometimes, I’d feel BETTER than old me, more focused than old me.  So what does that mean?  It’s still a symptom, even if it’s a positive one.

It means…I am NOT crazy.

I’m NOT dying.

(Okay, technically I am dying, because we’re ALL dying, but not right this second.)

I’m going through PERIMENOPAUSE, the time in a woman’s life BEFORE menopause hits.

For the record, I consider myself a reasonably intelligent woman.  I honestly didn’t know this was a “thing.”  My mother had Multiple Sclerosis.  She died in her fifties.  My maternal grandmother passed away a few years ago.  The matriarchs of my biological family are mostly gone.  The only assumption I had about menopause is that it happened to women in their fifties.  That, and yay!  No more periods.

I didn’t know that a woman’s body goes through changes five-ten years before menopause hits.  I had no idea this was normal.  I thought I was losing my mind!!!

I think Magnolia’s The Perimenopause Blog has more information out there, in one spot, than just about any other place on the web, but her post: The 35 Symptoms of Perimenopause, was especially eye-opening.  I have 27 out of 35 possible symptoms listed. So…umm, yeah.  That says a volumes.

Is this too much information to share?  Maybe. I didn’t get into all my personal gory details, but I felt like I had to say something.  I wanted to get this information out there because I KNOW I’m not alone.  This is a thing.  It’s a natural part of a woman’s life.  It effects the lives of everyone around me.  Plus, there are things I can do to help myself, now that I know what’s going on.

I’ve already made some small changes in my life, and I’m already seeing some benefits, but I’ll share that information in another post.

In the meantime, check out The Perimenopause Blog.  Learn something new.  Do stuff.  And thank you so much for ALL the kind words!

I appreciate you all so much!

xo Juli

 

 

 

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Seventy-Nine Days”

  1. Hey again, Juli. As I started to read this post, I knew almost immediately what you were going through and I am glad you found some help. Acupuncture has been a help to me and with my busy life combined with hot-flash sleeplessness, it gives me an excuse to just relax as the needles do their thing. Just thought I’d share. Perimenopause is not for sissies! You’ll get through it. Hugs from the aging, guilty coffee-drinker.

  2. Thanks for filling in the gaps on how you’ve been and what is happening. I hadn’t heard of this condition, either. It’s great that you shared. It’s the kind of reaching out that’s needful. Please take care of yourself.

    1. Thank you so much! I feel like there’s something wrong when I can hold the technological power of a super-computer in the palm of my hand, a “smart phone,” yet I didn’t have a clue what was happening to my own body. I’ve taken college courses in health and nutrition, and anatomy and physiology, yet I can’t recall ever hearing the term “perimenopause” before recently. (It’s probably grouped under some arcane diagnosis: Female Hysteria.) LOL

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