Aileen Weintraub writes at HuffPost: “The symptoms were subtle at first: insomnia, a racing heart, a lost word, sometimes a wrong word. But within months there was no denying it. Soon enough there were panic attacks, sobbing fits and that verboten emotion of middle-aged women ― rage.”
She’s talking about perimenopause and when I read those words I thought “I hear you sister”.
Well, except for the rage. I’m too polite for that, even when the hormones are doing their worst.
Oh, and I’m never lost for words! They’re what’s getting me through this wild ride.
Aileen notes that at first she had no idea what was going on and thought something terrible might be happening to her. She went to see a nurse, who gave her suffering a name: perimenopause.
“I called up my girlfriends to discuss and, in doing so, became the bearer of bad news,” she writes.
“‘Did you know about this?’ I demanded, wondering if everyone else had been in on this secret. I was met with silence. We had all been duped. No one had told us.
“When I was pregnant, other women bombarded me with advice, perhaps because that was supposed to be a “joyous” time and people wanted to share in it, but this was different. This was the darker side of womanhood.”
That’s because pregnancy is celebrated, while it’s regarded as unseemly to discuss menopause.
But I’m not jiggy with that. I think it’s crazy that we let so many middle-aged women wander around thinking they’re … well … crazy.
I think I’m still in the perimenopause phase of the journey and I have no idea when I first got here. Aileen started seeing signs when she was 40.
Perhaps it had any impact on the demise of my marriage – how much of my teetering on the edge was due to career hell or hormone woes or both?
But I know it’s the middle-aged hormones messing with my head now, not something more sinister.
I also know that it will pass. I just need to stay calm and be grateful its not worse.
I’m glad there’s no uncontrollable rage. I’d hate to be lashing out at the ones I love.
OK, I’m slightly in denial because there’s anger simmering below the surface. I mutter and gnash every day, but I rarely explode.
It helps that I’m feeling every other emotion keenly too. There’s a supernova of love and joy and sadness and anger inside me. It’s heaven and hell at the same time.
I’m hoping the good stuff hangs around because I much prefer feeling everything than nothing.
Five years ago I’d fallen so out of touch with my emotions that I worried I was just pretending to have them.
It’s a much different, happier story now.
PS Tracy has described the third day of the Folbigg inquiry with a few words on Facebook that said: “Things are heating up here OMG.” I’ll fill you in as soon as I get an update, but apparently there have been some surprising admissions by Newcastle Department of Forensic Medicine’s Dr Allan Cala.
Song of the day: Bryan Adams “Cuts like a knife”