I’ve been reading the book What Fresh Hell Is This?: Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities, and You.  Near the beginning the book was talking about how people compare peri/menopause to ‘reverse puberty’, while also explaining that it’s not exactly that either.

While sitting in bed reading about how going through peri means I’m supposed to be having all these different feelings and emotions and that’s perfectly normal, I had a flashback to similarly sitting in my bed as an young teenager, reading the puberty book of the time (I believe it was called The What’s Happening To My Body Book For Girls) which also assured me that I’m going to be having all these thoughts and feeling and that it’s perfectly normal.  After reading that book enough times I would find myself thinking, but I’m *not* having all these weird thoughts and feelings so now I’m worried that I’m not normal.

Unlike puberty, no one sits you down in a gender segregated class and tells you what to expect to happen in the next couple years.  It seems like as an adult you’re expected to figure it all out yourself.  Am I in perimenopause?  I’m the right age but I’m also not having those Thoughts and Feelings.

Here is what I do know:

– At 39 I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure.  The reproductive endocrinologist who diagnosed me was surprised that I wasn’t having any symptoms, but supposedly I should have been experiencing early menopause already.

– I take birth control, skipping the placebo pills to permanently suppress my period.  If I miss a day (sometimes even by 12 hours) I’ll start experiencing breakthrough bleeding and generally feeling crappy and crampy for the next week as my body tries to have a period, reminding me of why I tend to avoid doing so at all costs.

– I’ve had random night sweats – waking up both covered in sweat and freezing cold if touched by the air outside my blankets – with no rhyme or reason to when or why it happens.  This is the most authentic symptom.

– Along with the night sweats I’ve noticed a new smell to my sweat.  Not a BO smell, which comes from bacteria interacting with sweat, but my actual sweat now has a distinct smell.  I’m not a fan, although it’s not so much that it’s unpleasant as it is out of place.  (Sort of like my gray hairs.)

Hormones are strange.

I know that making a statement on how long it’s been since the last post is the most cliche blog thing ever, but still I am truly in awe at the passage of time.

I quit my job, now over a year ago.  That puts it at just over two years after things went off the rails with COVID, including the nightmare year trying to work remotely full time at my part time job while simultaneously trying to supervise remote school for a kid who would later be diagnosed with ADHD.  (Knowing that would have made it make more sense but not necessarily go any better.)

I still sometimes feel what I call the Ghost of Anxiety Past, especially during holidays or special occasions, when I remember how I would never be able to completely relax and leave work behind.  There would always be something more to do, something to worry about, something unresolved, something potentially having gone terribly wrong, something forgotten and remembered in a panic.

I remember reading once where someone was talking about how to balance work and family life as having to juggle too many balls.  Some are bigger and some smaller, some are made of glass and some are plastic, and the trick is knowing which ones are okay to drop.  Well this analogy made me realize that my job alone felt like juggling hundreds of tiny glass balls.  Nothing was allowed to be dropped.  Even after I quit my boss said he didn’t know how I had been doing it all.  (“You should have said something.”  Well, I know how that would have gone…)

This particular ghost anxiety does continue to lessen over time.  I also remember reading somewhere that burnout, true burnout, takes years to recover from and not just a two week vacation.  So that’s helped me feel justified in not jumping right into my next plan of going back to school after taking that first summer “off”. 

Addendum to the above: I realized I may have been having hot flashes occasionally and not realizing that’s what they were.  I’d say it can’t be that bad if I didn’t even know, but the book also assured me that just because it’s not bad now doesn’t mean it won’t be bad later.

Full disclosure: I actually finished and returned the book to the library back in June and it just takes me an absurdly long time to finish writing something.  I sometimes think of all the stories of parents getting diagnosed with some kind of neurodivergency after their kids and wonder… but that would be a whole new topic wouldn’t it?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.