Tag Archives: hormones

Hormones and Whore Moans

_20170131_080930I’m in hell (not literally, although that might explain my absence). They don’t have Wi-Fi in hell. They also don’t have ice water or chocolate. I don’t want to be here, but I’ve wound up here, despite my good intentions. It’s not that I’m evil, it’s just that lately I’ve had an overwhelming urge to reach out and touch someone – with a baseball bat.

It’s possible that my agitation is a reflection of all the hatred and anger that’s out there right now –but I don’t think that’s it. I think my violent urges can be blamed on the fact that I am a “woman of a certain age” and that I’m going through the dreaded M word. The word that-must-not-be-named (with apologies to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter). No, not marriage, although the thought of marriage can cause dread among a select (mostly masculine) portion of the populace. And not Maternity, although that can cause dread, anxiety and flat out fear (and rightfully so – children are assholes! I would know, I used to be one).

I’m talking about Menopause. My friends and I prefer the phrase “mental pause” (for good reason. Ever since it started my brain has been permanently paused). TBH, I’ve been very lucky. I’ve only had a few “personal summers” (during the summer, which seems incredibly cruel) and zero night sweats. I gained 10 pounds, but that could be due to my newfound love of Modelo Negra.

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One of my biggest issues has been hair loss*. Then there’s the newfound sleeplessness associated with shifting hormonal levels (granted, mid-life insomnia is not unique to menopausal women, but I’m including it here because it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want, so there ;-P). According to an article on WebMD, a study published in the journal Menopause in 2001 observed that “insomnia is a frequently reported complaint in menopausal women.” The reason: You may be sleeping – or wanting to sleep — but your estrogen levels are still up dancing all night long. And that continual action can interrupt healthy sleep. I’d really like to know why, when I’m too tired to stay up to watch CSI, my estrogen levels have the energy to stay up dancing all night long. Ah well, I’m using the extra free time to power through my reading list.

I consider myself fortunate in that I have friends who have battled the M word. Women with whom I’ve been able compare notes and commiserate over a glass of wine (or three). I want to take this opportunity to let them know that I’m unfriending them. They failed to properly prepare me for Menopause Mood Swings. In their defense, NOTHING can prepare you for MMP. Severe PMS? Nope, not even close. Pregnancy hormones? Close, but no cigar. As my sister-in-law Jasmine put it “These hormones are no joke – I can want to kill someone and then sob uncontrollably at my own crazy in under five seconds.” I have her beat. I can go from upbeat to homicidal in 2.3 seconds, and I’m buying Kleenex by the buttload (damn those people in advertising anyway).

There are definitely things you can do to offset “power surges”. With two hormonal females under one roof, my husband learned fairly quickly that the best thing to do when someone you love starts riding the hormonal rollercoaster is throw chocolate and hide the pointy objects.  I’ve found that a glass of wine takes the edge off (added bonus – red wine has health benefits!), and that the aforementioned chocolate releases endorphins. I’ve heard rumors that endorphins are released during exercise, but that seems like a drastic measure. Experts recommend offsetting hormone surges with visualization and breathing exercises. I’ve found that this one works well for me:

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When all is said and done, I am forced to admit that menopause can be fun (trust me – menopause puts the f-u in “fun”). If nothing else, I’ve learned brand new games I can play by myself, including “Where did I put my___?” and “Why the hell did I come in here?” It’s because hormones create something known as “brain fog”. Evidently hormones, like zombies, eat your brain. Unlike zombies, hormones do not eat other peoples’ brains and cannot be killed by an arrow to the eye or a knife through the head (well, they CAN be, but it seems like a permanent solution to a temporary situation).

I’ve been told that, as I move further “post” my “post-menopausal” stage, things will get easier. In the meantime, I’m keeping Nathanial Parizek’s quote in mind:

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*Well, that’s not exactly true. I’m losing hair from my head, but I’m growing it in fun new places. My sideburns are particularly lovely.

So, tell me – how do YOU handle your hormonal shifts? Chocolate and wine? Meditation and yoga?

P.S. for those of you who have waited patiently to know the difference between hormones and whore moans – Both can be fake, but one responds well to chocolate, and one will cost you a little extra.

The Game of Life

th5I’ve done it again – allowed the four letter word known as Life to knock me off the writing track. It’s not that Life is a bitch (and not just in a strong, intelligent independent way), or that she cheats when we play her game. Life is a rollercoaster, and getting off track can be bad. Nobody wants to ride the coaster off the rails, especially when you’re rounding the top corner.

My life has been busy, and uneven, but no more so than usual – so why did I stop writing? (And, right on cue, the EIC pipes up with “Because you’re lazy!” Thank you so very little, Evil Inner Critic).

I blame S&H*. Stress and hormones melted my brain and kept new ideas at bay, caused me to lose sleep (boo!) weight (yay!) and hair (boo!). They also caused me to crave beer, salt and sugar, but that’s neither here nor there. Whatever the cause, I found myself spiraling, once again, into the pit of despair.

I spent a long time trying to figure out what “caused” my depression, and then it hit me. My life hasn’t changed, but our world has. I know that change is inevitable, but things do not appear to be changing for the better. This election (don’t forget to vote!) has brought out a level of hostility, racism and sexism that knocked me so far off track I thought I’d woken up in the past and found myself trying to collect green stamps again.

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I used to say that I was raised to be color blind. I’ve been assured by several people that “color blindness” is just not possible, so I won’t say that, but I’m not sure what else to say. I was raised by parents who chose to focus less on the external (race/sex/sexual orientation/religion/career) and more on what type of person the individual was. I was raised to believe that every person is entitled to an opinion, and that everyone’s opinion is valid, even if it differs from mine. I was raised to believe that we should be able to discuss and debate our opinions in a respectful manner. Yes, the debate might get heated, but it should never get ugly.

And it has. Our world has become an ugly place, filled with ugly people saying ugly things to each other. It breaks my heart. I could blame the media – in the race for ratings, they have chosen to focus on images of violence and hatred. I could blame the election – this race this year has been particularly nasty. I know that politicians are human (although it’s entirely possible that they’ve been replaced by the aliens from They Live), but I believe they should be held to a higher standard than most. The name calling and chants of “Make American Great Again” or (mockingly) “Make America Hate Again” do not inspire respect for either candidate. Mostly I blame myself. I blame myself for being naïve.

My parents raised me to believe that the world was becoming a better place – that people were overcoming their perceived differences and uniting in a way that gave me hope. Hope that my mixed-race daughter wouldn’t have to deal with the hatred my mother witnessed as a teen in the south (please note – my mother was Caucasian, so racism didn’t necessarily have a direct impact on her life). The violence and hatred she saw caused her to caution me against having children. I assured her that I had no intention of having children, but that, if I changed my mind, racism was “a thing of the past”.

I am no longer naïve. I am broken hearted, angry and sad, but not naive. The hatred/anger/prejudice that I believed was long dead is alive and kicking, like a cockroach that somehow managed to survive a visit from the exterminator.

Make America Great Again? I agree with Amanda Blanc – Let’s try making America kind again instead (image credit to Amanda Blanc)

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*Stress and Hormones, not the green stamps we collected in the 60’s

So tell me – how do you write when your brain has melted or is filled with fog?