Last week I was up in the middle of the night, tossing blankets, stripping off my shirt and distancing myself from the various heat sources in our bed, and I began to think how un-depressed I was, how the other shoe had not dropped. We were dealing with my medical issues, had absolutely no work, living in a house filled with dust and exhaust from basement construction, the weather had gone all cloudy and cold, and yet I didn’t have an overwhelming sense of dread. I realized that I had had more anxiety at 32 than I do at 42. As if, once you’ve made peace with the big anvil falling out of the sky, all the other stuff is totally maneuverable.
Then I woke up with chills and a sore throat and one of those sand papery coughs. A week on, I’m still exhausted, I go to bed early and can’t truly wake up until mid-morning. I feel so useless and I absolutely hate that it falls exactly in line with the medical predictions. I don’t want to be depressed. It’s not my bag really. But I do feel as if I’ve lost the plot of whatever story I was supposed to be living. My family makes it better. They’ve been very understanding even though I’m essentially a part of the furniture, like a threadbare ottoman with a missing leg. I had only an inkling before this of how important hormones were. They are a lot of what drives us to keep reaching for those youthful aspirations however feeble. And I don’t mean to say that after menopause (or manopause) that we’re all somehow directionless. But that a gradual process is more like a door opening than one slamming shut.
Talk of menopause makes people uncomfortable. Something we shouldn’t discuss, or if we do, we shouldn’t speculate and say something unfeminist. And that’s fine. Women don’t want to be devalued after they pass childbearing age. Men find it icky and mysterious. My friend Mary G. says the whole concept of labeling menopause is silly and a way to subjugate women. Like, it’s not that big of a deal and she’s probably right for many of those who transition naturally. But the brain fog I’m in right now is making it difficult to even blog correctly. (My apologizes for that.)
What is the positive? What can the reader pull from this murk? Well, other than being thankful for the relative normality you may be experiencing as you read this, I guess that it's possible to wade through the fire without ENORMOUS incident. And that even in this mess of a year there is so much to marvel at. Yes the pills and shots are putting me through my paces. But without medical science, I would have never met Cheryl. She would have already been dead seven years from thyroid cancer. There would be no Cameron and Madeline, no duplex to house our little family and our business, no relationship with Cheryl's family and soon there would be no me.
But still we persist.