Tag Archives: menopause

Atten-SHUN!!

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courtesy of paradisekittymodeling.BlogSpot.com

For some reason, I thought today’s prompt was “attention” (evidently I wasn’t paying attention, or perhaps today’s post just didn’t hold my interest).  I’m too broke to pay attention. I’m not sure how it happened. I used to be able to pay attention (I have a foggy memory of being a good student). Did I spend it when I was younger? Did I waste too much time paying attention to useless and trival details/watching reality tv and listening to idle gossip?

 

I could blame Starbucks – I can barely stop vibrating enough to focus on my driving, let alone my daily tasks! According to caffeineinformer.com, Starbucks has some of the highest caffeine amounts of any coffee chain (who here is brave enough to try Deathwish coffee?)

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image courtesy of thrilllist.com

I could blame video games, if I played them. Yes, I know, video games DON’T CAUSE ADD and can actually be used to treat it, but I believe that the constant barrage of images/action makes everything else dull in comparison.

I could blame Michael Bay – the quick edits he picked up directing music videos have had a huge impact on modern movie making. A negative one, IMHO.

Or I could blame menopause  and its raging hormones. I didn’t have ADD as a child, but (as my brother will testify) I’ve developed it as a

It really doesn’t matter who I blame or why I can’t pay attention – the only thing that matters that I’m not alone. We are a nation whose attention span has been reduced to 140 characters and 30 second sound bites. We have lost the ability to focus for extended periods of time as well as the patience to wait for a pot of coffee to brew (and thus, the popularity of single serve coffeemakers such as Keurig).

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I came across a great post by The Redhead Riter. She came up with a great list of reasons why we don’t pay attention:

  • Too comfortable in our surroundings and take it for granted.
  • Overconfident in our abilities.
  • Thinking too much about the big picture.
  • Fear that we will not get it all done.
  • Filling our lives with too many activities.
  • Not living in the moment.
  • Having too much clutter around us.
  • Believing that true multitasking is a reality. (Can you eat a sandwich, whistle and chew gum at the same time? No, you can’t.)
  • Not having a place for everything to reside when not in use.
  • Not putting back things into their proper place after use.
  • Boredom.
  • There’s not a lot of emotion tied in with the experience.
  • Being too tired.
  • We are not at optimal health.
  • Believing that looking and seeing are the same thing.

Again, it doesn’t matter WHY we don’t pay attention. I think we need to stop making excuses for our inattention, slow down, and focus on life as it happens. Not only because, as Mehdi Ordikhani Seyedler tells us, fantastic things happen in our brain when we do, but because we can develop the “Sherlock Holmes” intuition by paying minute attention to detail….and who doesn’t want to be Sherlock Holmes?

Besides, as Ferris Bueller said, Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

OMG! I almost forgot – which are you, Team Benedict or Team Robert-Downey Jr?

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Yet another F-word

howtofocusimg[1]Once again, The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt has me stumped. I have no idea who he/she is, or how he/she comes up with the word of the day, but I’m pretty sure it involves a couple shots of tequila, a dictionary and a blindfold (sounds like a party to me).

So I’m going to cheat. It’s ok, I’ve done it before. Cheated on my diet, cheated while playing Monopoly with the girl (c’mon, if you don’t cheat, the game is ENDLESS).

I’ve talked about the F-word once or twice. Hell, I’ve blogged about the F-word so many times that today’s original title (The OTHER Other F-word) was already taken.

Today’s F-word (as defined by Oxford Dictionaries) is focus

[ˈfōkəs]

VERB

focused (past tense) · focused (past participle)

    1. (of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly:

“try to focus on a stationary object”

      • cause (one’s eyes) to focus:

“trying to focus his bleary eyes on Corbett”

      • adjust the focus of (a telescope, camera, or other instrument):

“they were focusing a telescope on a star”

synonyms: bring into focus · aim · point · turn

      • (of rays or waves) meet at a single point.
      • (of a lens) make (rays or waves) meet at a single point.
      • (of light, radio waves, or other energy) become concentrated into a sharp beam of light or energy.
      • (of a lens) concentrate (light, radio waves, or energy) into a sharp beam.

I find the word ironic, because I can’t seem to focus lately. I could blame my new prescription. I’ve always been extremely nearsighted (can’t see to find my glasses unless I’m wearing my contacts), but now that I’m “a certain age” my vision needs an additional adjustment if I want to read a menu or the display on my cell phone.

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I could also blame menopause – evidently hormones are the culprit for my adult onset of ADHD.

But I don’t feel like blaming anyone or anything today. Instead, I’m going to use this blog to talk about the importance of changing focus.

This year has been a hard one. Too much loss. Too much death, illness, sadness and hate. I found myself being dragged into the pit of despair by the black dog of depression. This morning’s prompt reminded me of the importance of focus. As Sandy Henson Corso says in her 2013 Huffingtonpost piece “Whatever you focus on, expands is such a simple, easy and truthful idea.”

I know for a fact that this is true. I know it both from personal experience, and from a Google search for “What you focus on changes your life.” I found dozens and dozens of links to articles on the internet, and everything you read on the internet is true.

So I am choosing to change my focus – to focus on the miracles and gifts that surround us – to find something to be grateful for every day. Who knows, I might even start a gratitude journal. Probably not, but I AM going to pick up a copy of Rapt, by Winifred Gallagher. I  loved the excerpt I read on Utne.com this morning.

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I also love this video on battling the black dog of depression:

 

 

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.

Mentalpause

th6F8TN99ZMy New Year’s resolution to write 2-3x/week hasn’t lasted. Unlike most resolutions, it’s not because I don’t have the free time or willpower. It’s because I keep forgetting. I forget to find time, I forget to start, I forget to finish, and when I do write a complete piece,  I forget to post it.

That’s a lot of forgetting!

My friends and family will tell you that I’ve been very forgetful lately. I have to admit that it’s been going on for a while, but I forget when it started ;-).

All I know for certain is that I lost my keys so often last year (I kept forgetting to put my keys on the hook by the door) that my husband got tired of playing WWTD* and bought me a keyfinder. It works like the remote for the car alarm, beep-beep-beeping from the dark hole in my Mombag, the bathroom counter and even the freezer. FYI, the “chirp chirp” of your car alarm is very useful when you’ve forgotten where you’ve parked.

My Sometimers has been getting worse. I’ve missed appointments, double booked myself and my daughter, misplaced my pants (not while I was wearing them) and have forgotten my friend’s name (flashback to my mom, who called me by every name she knew, including the dog’s). The high (or low) point came last Friday I forgot to take my change when I left the store. Well, that’s not exactly true – I remembered to pick up my 50 cents from the change dispenser, but left without my $18. I’ve become so scattered that my daughter actually channeled my mother –  “You’d forget your head if it weren’t attached to your shoulders.” Which makes me wonder – is that the real reason Dr. Frankenstein bolted his monster’s head to its body?

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The past few years have been eventful, and I assumed that stress had melted my brain. When things got better and my memory didn’t, I assumed that I had lost my mind, or that worms had eaten my brain.

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I was hoping that my doctor could help me find it. She smiled sadly and sighed. “I have some good news, and some bad news…..” Don’t you hate it when they do that?

Although I am relieved to report that I am not, in fact, losing my mind. I am sad to say that I am suffering from “brain fog”. My doctor told me that it’s not uncommon for women to develop memory issues during menopause. Not that I’m willing to admit that I’m old enough to be menopausal, but it’s nice to know that I’m not alone. I’m sure that someone warned me about brain fog, but I forgot.

I did some research today, and learned that the key to overcoming brain fog is eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep – which is ironic, seeing that disturbed sleep is another symptom of menopause. Seeing that I’ve been ignoring that piece of advice all of my life, I don’t see things changing just because I’m not 21 any more. Then again, there are only so many times that my family will agree to look for my keys, my glasses and my pants.

Dreaded E word, here I come. Or maybe I just need some Vitamin M**

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*What Would Tracey Do?

**Someone please tell me that “Vitamin M” is a secret code for margarita