I admitted defeat yesterday and called off a catch-up with a former colleague.
It was time to practice some self-care and slow down.
I am tired.
I keep wondering why I’m so tired.
Is it because I’m having trouble staying asleep at night?
Is it peri-menopause?
Is it because parenting teenagers is freaking exhausting?
Is it because the bills and chores and general life hassles are so relentless?
Is it all of the above?
When you decide you’re finally ready to start a family at age 35, you don’t consider that you’ll be parenting a 15-year-old and a 12-year old when you’re 50 and staring down the barrel of menopause.
I’m discovering that menopause is pretty much puberty again with wrinkles. So there are three of us in the Household going through it at the same time.
It’s a blast.
Here are some of the symptoms puberty and menopause have in common …
The first visible puberty sign for girls is usually the start of breast growth. Various websites reckon a girl’s breasts are fully developed by age 17 or 18.
Yeah, nah. I was flat as a tack until I got pregnant. And they’ve been rapidly expanding ever since. Even when I lost 10kg on the Divorce Diet they remained whoppers. And menopause appears to be kicking off another growth spurt.
In the early stages of puberty, pubic hair starts to appear. It’s fine and straight to begin with, not dense and curly. There are reverse parallels during mid-life when you attempt to grow the bush back after accidentally getting a full Brazilian and discover the carpet is threadbare and no longer matches the drapes.
Young girls’ figures become more ‘womanly’ during puberty. Ditto for the older chicks, except the new curves are restricted to the belly region.
In puberty, the skin on your face produces more oil, which can result in acne. For some cruel reason the same thing happens in menopause, cue my currently spotty face.
As for periods and PMT, well they’re all over the place at both ends of the spectrum. My PMT boobs are so sore that I winced when put my bra on yesterday and the fabric touched them.
Puberty and menopause both mess with your estrogen levels – it floods your body during puberty; and surges and ebbs in menopause.
Rapid fluctuation of hormones in teens is usually accompanied by irritability, recklessness and aggression. As for the oldies, Web MD notes in an article called “Your brain – on menopause” that “you feel like you’re losing your mind when you’re not”.
“You may be acting crazy, feeling crazy, thinking crazy thoughts, but it’s the hormones talking,” it reckons.
“Your ovaries are failing and trying to keep up estrogen production. Some days they overshoot it, other days they can’t produce enough,” adds Dr Darlene Lockwood.
As a result, things can get a little chaotic: “A time when everything can seem topsy-turvey, when you cry at the drop of a hat, when every single molehill looks like a mountain, and, yes, a time when even a seemingly innocent comment from a good friend can leave you screaming mad or unbearably hurt.”
The article also notes: “There are a few key things you can try that might make a huge difference. Among the most important: Reduce stress in your life.”
How can this help? According to Harvard University stress expert Alice Domar, the effect of stress on hormone activity can be so profound that it is capable of inducing symptoms. Reducing stress can have the opposite effect.
And that’s why I cancelled my catch up and sorted out a few of my life hiccups instead.
In the midst of all the turmoil and terrifying bills, I’ve decided to make calm and kindness my priorities – both in my dealings with myself and those around me.
I figure if I can manage that I’ll have a much better shot at weathering the storm.
Song of the day: Billy Joel “You may be right”