Thursday, February 9, 2012

Midlife Rollercoaster

If you don’t want to read about menopause than stop right now and go back to the Cold Frames post from a week ago or check out the professional category.

I am a woman and I can’t talk about midlife without addressing the wonderful world of hormones.

Still a great resource
I think it was Christiane Northrup who made me realize just how many body processes hormones are involved in.  Impressive. Great. Happy to hear it. My body is a delicate machine balanced on now fluctuating chemical interactions. Isn’t that marvelous?

Every few weeks these amazing chemicals mix in a fascinating way that keeps me up all night worrying about any and all potentially anxiety-ridden situations. Forgot to take the library book back – wham – going to chew on that for a good half hour at 1 am.  Remember how you forgot that woman’s name in the grocery store and it was obvious – think about THAT for another forty five minutes as your brain rehashes, replays and agonizes over the nuances of the conversation.

Those aren’t the big hitters, however, not by a long shot. The guaranteed subject to keep me up the greatest length of time in a hormonally induced anxiety fest is: The Teenager. The runner-up was Work – I’m kind of thankful not to have that on my plate at the moment (although that can create its own thought process in the wee small hours of the morning).  I may as well just be a bystander in my own brain – it’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

I know the moment that the little hormonal gremlin has pulled out its winning card from the deck –

Do you really know where she was on Saturday night?

That is a sure fire way to get my eyes to pop open.

I’ve been dealing with perimenopause for many a year along with the cyclical insomnia that has come with it.  I know all the tricks to deal with insomnia now but the best answer is to simply sigh, get up and go make a cup of herbal tea. I grab my journal – vent in writing, make lists, harangue the teenager – and jot down whatever seems to need being said. In a way, I guess I honor the anxiety. I give it a place to be scared or angry or embarrassed.

There have been some really long days where I only got by thanks to the 12 cup pot of coffee. It was a blessing this morning not having to drag myself into work. The truth is that I’m getting used to a life that includes a few sleepless nights every month. That’s a huge improvement from those early days of whacked out sleep patterns when I despaired of ever sleeping a solid eight hours again. Now I’m happy with six. I’m also a big believer in siestas – another huge bonus of not working every day until 5pm.

And no, I never did go ask my daughter about Saturday night. She’s upstairs doing homework, texting and on Facebook while also probably painting her nails and rearranging her shoes. She ate dinner with us. Laughed, chatted.

Let’s be grateful for the moment.

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