I want to rip Sauerkraut’s head off and not for any particular reason either. I just do. This, of course, is completely irrational and horribly wrong. Sauerkraut is one of the good guys. He is kind, patient, loving, supportive, easy going, caring. His heart is big and generous. He does not have a spiteful bone in his body and, if I were to say that I wanted to go to the moon and back, he would figure out a way to get me there. He loves me even when I do not love myself. The last thing he deserves is to be living with this crazed wildebeest of a woman formerly known as his wife. You know, just like the artist formerly known as Prince only not as talented.
Welcome to menopause, my friends, and it is making our lives a living hell.
I do not know who I am anymore. Normally an even-keeled kind of gal, I can now suddenly transform into the Incredible Hulk on a dime. All it can take is a look, a misinterpreted innocent statement, such as, ‘my you look beautiful today’, a lost set of keys, a request (would you like mustard or ketchup on your hamburger?) or feeling overwhelmed, and I can say things that I would never have said before. “What do you mean I look beautiful? What’s that supposed to mean? Why are you asking me if I want mustard or ketchup on my hamburger? You know I like both.” Yet, I know that had Sauerkraut not told me that I looked beautiful, I more than likely would have accused him of not caring about how I looked. Had he not asked what I wanted on my hamburger, I would have been Hulked out because of that too. “You didn’t ask me before putting both on my burger. I just don’t matter (sniff).” When he does say or do something nice for me like telling me he will bring in all the groceries AND put them away so I won’t “flash” as we call it, I dissolve into a crying, babbling eejit. Poor Sauerkraut, he doesn’t stand a chance. He is now damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.
This is certainly new for me though not by choice. I am usually the ever so easy to please one, the peacemaker, the witty comeback kid, the voice of reason, the go to gal, the one who understands why having and using a word filter is important and extremely necessary in certain situations. Now I don’t trust myself. I am afraid of what is going to come flying out of my mouth. I am afraid that I am going to offend someone. What if I said something inappropriate to someone sweet and innocent, like a nun, for instance, and next thing you know, I am in the frickin’ word jail for hurting a nun’s feelings? Just my frickin luck.
And don’t get me going on the hot flashes. They alone can make me ‘rage, rage against the dying of the night’. They come on when I least expect it. Sorting laundry can cause them. Setting the table, being silly, laughing, coming up a flight of stairs can cause them. The frozen section of the grocery store is now my new favourite place to hang out.
“Hey, girlfriend, how about meeting me for a tub of ice cream in aisle 10 and then we can get caught up on the latest gossip? Oh, by the way, be sure to wear your fleece-lined knickers so you won’t freeze.” Somehow it does not seem like an appealing way for a friend to spend time with me. I am getting that I don’t want to go out for fear I will “flash” just by walking into the store. Wearing a sundress does not seem appropriate in the middle of winter yet it would be the only way I would be able to keep cool. I can’t even hide the hot flashes when I am having them; I am so fair skinned that as soon as I feel one coming on, I know that my face is flushed and glistening with perspiration. Not that long ago, I was asked by a store associate if I was feeling okay. It took everything I had not to punch her in the face. I know that she was acting out of concern; after all, I looked like I had a fever of 110 degrees with my brightly red flushed face. I politely thanked her for her concern and told her that I was fine. However, inside my head I was yelling: “No, I am not okay. My effing hormones are making my life a living hell. It’s effing menopause, lady. Just you wait, your day is coming!” I can so see me being escorted out of the store by security.
Then there is the depression, the blue days, the “I hate my life” days. I feel crazed, vulnerable. I suddenly lack confidence and feel trapped in a body I no longer recognize. I had to walk out of the craft store, Michaels, the other day because I was overwhelmed when I could not find the scrapbook paper I was looking for. Tears were welling up inside and I could feel the damn close to bursting. Who the heck has a meltdown in Michaels? Me, that’s who, the crazed Martha Stewart crafter. When I got out to the car all I wanted to do was scream at the top of my lungs, “Eve, this is YOUR frickin’ fault!! Why the eff did you have to eat that forbidden fruit? You Bitch!” I am so going straight to hell.
All joking aside, the hot flashes, the depression and the mood swings are both unbearable and debilitating. In Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood, I am an Eeyore when who I really want to be is a Tigger. The hot flashes control me and control how long I can perform a task, stay out, and talk comfortably with someone. The same goes for the depression and the mood swings. It is easier to stay at home than it is to commit to an outing with friends. I do not want to be Miss Party Pooper, Mrs. Debbie Downer, or Ms. Negative Nancy. Really, it is my way of protecting the rest of the human race from, well, me. Or so I tell myself.
Menopause is a vicious cycle. What I need more than anything is a good night’s sleep, yet with the recurring insomnia and the night sweats, it is impossible to attain. Then, if I do not get sleep, the depression rears its ugly head after a couple of days. Then, I am unable to get off the sofa which in turns leads to self-defeating internal thought processes. I have to work so hard at not berating myself for being lazy, unfocused and unmotivated. I have to remind myself that it is okay not to be perfect right now. I have to remind myself that this is something that is out of my control even though I so desperately want to control it. Oh, how I want my life back! I want me back. I want this all to go away.
But apparently it is not going to go away. Recently, a woman said to me, “I hate to tell you this but I am 70 and I still get hot flashes.” I wanted to clock her right then and there. But, I didn’t. Instead I just smiled and nodded like I cared. If she only knew the inside thoughts that I was having while she was speaking, she would never had said what she did. I swear if my inside thoughts ever explode, the world as we know it will be over. It will be flooded by an alphabet soup of swear words, inappropriate comments, sarcasm, visual images of head banging and face punching, eye rolling, and a whole slew of “blah, blah, blah, blah, blahs”.
Some of you reading this will think that I am exaggerating. Some of you will know that I am not (just ask Sauerkraut). Some of you may be scared as hell for what may be coming your way. The purpose of this post is neither to scare nor exaggerate. The purpose is merely to put it out there so that others will know that they are not alone. Hey, who am I kidding? The purpose is also for me to rant and rave about the whole miserable thing while, at the same time, laying the groundwork for future posts about the new things I tried to help me through this time in my life, why I did some of things I did, the results, the new antics I managed to get myself in to, etc., etc., because, if life has taught me anything, it is that it is waaaaaaay better to laugh about my situation than it is to cry about it.
Thankfully, life has also taught me that I am indeed a survivor (thank the Lord Baby Jesus for that!) and, because of that, I do know that I will get through this one way or another. While I do not know how long this menopause thing is going to last, I do know that eventually I will come out the other side in (hopefully) one piece, whenever, wherever that may be. Until then, may God help us all.
Heads Ripped Off: 0