After the parade, we were suppose to come back home, rest a bit, then go to the family cookout.
But the parade left me feeling like my punching fist was going to come out if anyone even looked at me sideways, so I stayed back and let Spousal Unit take the kids to the cookout.
I felt sad watching them drive off, as I put the wooden pieces of a Melissa and Doug puzzle back together. My sadness quickly turned to frustration with the puzzle. Have you ever done one of those stupid puzzles? They are no joke, and certainly not something to mess with during the roller coaster of PMS.
Well, it’s not just PMS.
It’s a rabid combo of stuff.
Work has been stressful and exhausting. My program is understaffed and I feel like I am doing shitty work because I can’t see my clients frequently or consistently enough to really help them progress with their treatment. The mantra, “Your work sucks balls,” is definitely not uplifting my spirits on a daily basis.
Next, there is the stress my husband’s new job is putting on the family. In some ways his job is heaven sent– I mean, it is nice being able to pay our mortgage, you know?
But it also means he doesn’t have the same flexibility to be with the children and they are in extra daycare, being shuffled around from one thing to the next by family members, because my job has zero flexibility either. This situation pushes every button on my mommy-guilt-sensor panel. And guilt is draining. And frustrating. And futile.
It also seems that now he works full time (and often much more when he stays up doing additional freelance projects at night), I am picking up more slack at home with the chores, grocery shopping, and cooking. Don’t get me wrong, he is still super helpful. The other night I went to bed and he stayed up to fold a basket of the children’s clothing, so part of this might just be my own perception. Or full blown psychosis. Who knows?
The increased stress plays on my nerves as an introvert.
Extroverting myself takes more effort than usual and is more uncomfortable. I need more down time to recover and recharge, which I usually do not get.
Being a social worker takes a shit-ton of extroversion. Being a mom takes a shit-ton of extroversion. Being a human on the planet, interacting with other humans on the planet takes– well, you get the picture.
Age and exhaustion have made me even more on an introvert than I ever was. It’s almost like I don’t enjoy the world anymore.
Situations like going out in a huge, noisy, inconsiderate crowd to a parade reeks havoc with my sense of safety. It is like my skin gets peeled off and everything is just stroking on raw nerve. Ouch. It’s physically painful.
And it’s hot. It is no less than 90 degrees in my huge, loft-like bedroom. Oh my, do I love my bedroom. But I hate the heat and haven’t slept, and we haven’t figured out the air conditioner situation yet.
Add to this mix the fluctuating hormones of a 40 year old woman, and it’s not pretty.
There are moments I am actually frightened I will completely lose my shit and scream at someone. Like the woman on the cell phone who wouldn’t get the fuck out of my way. Or the dude smoking a smelly cigar over my children. Or the cashier at CVS who can’t figure out how to access my extra bucks and find the price on a greeting card. Don’t even get me started on the municipal worker who needed to get into my basement for 20 minutes right as I was walking out the door to drop the kids off and go to work.
It seems like every month since I turned 40, my PMS gets longer and harsher. It’s at the point now where I have it about three weeks out of the month. Yeah. No fun. The slightest thing sets my blood boiling and I feel I am careening out of control on the world’s scariest roller coaster.
It sucks when this gets projected onto my kids. I try with all my might to be happy and calm with them, but I’ve noticed that lately I am raising my voice more often. It doesn’t help anything, since it really just pisses my kids off and they don’t respond to it. Plus it makes me feel shitty. But it happens more than I would like to admit.
In addition to all the emotional crap, there is a physical side. I feel constantly bloated and sausagy (efff you autocorrect, sausagy is a word, dammit).
At times my energy drops to non existent and I feel sluggish. My stomach swirls with a nauseous blend of anxiety and anger that has nothing to do with what I ate, or didn’t eat. Doing even the simplest thing feels excruciating. My back hurts no matter how much I stretch. There is an ever-present kink in my neck.
So, of course, in light of all these symptoms, the logical thing was turning to Dr. Google and pecking in, “Having trouble with hormones at 40.” Web MD took me to a list of signs and symptoms of perimenopause.
OMG, people. I. Can’t. Even.
“Perimenopause,” for those of you lucky ducks who’ve never heard of it, is apparently the pre-game show to menopause. This is the bad news.
But the good news is that the cure is oh so simple. Apparently if I give up salt, sugar, flour, fat, carbs, caffeine, wine, and basically everything else in the world that I like, I will feel a drastic reduction in my symptoms.
OH, and I also should not be too overweight or too underweight.
This information literally made me want to cry. Or scream. Or throw stuff. Or eat a pint of ice cream. Because apparently it is like I am 13 and going through puberty all over again in terms of wild mood swings and irrationality.
It feels like there is a storm brewing in my body. Thick, puffy, slate grey clouds swirl around in 97% humidity in my chest cavity. At any minute lightening could lash out, or a tornado could form.
If you are a woman of a certain age, you might understand where I’m coming from. If that’s you, then give it up top, Lady-Friend!
If you are a perfectly balanced woman, or my husband, you are more likely to think I am being histrionic. That I need to stop being so selfish and cook some dinner for the kids. That I need to have better manners and not sigh heavily at the person who is in my way at Target. That I should not become so easily angered with Emily when she is being obstreperous about taking a bath, or with Jack after the 40th time I’ve asked him to turn off the TV and put on his shoes. That I should shut up and quit whining.
I ended up lying down for a while after Spouse left with the kids for the cookout. Beached like the world’s plumpest whale on an isle of tempurpedic, I took some deep breaths and tried to accept my age and station in life. With every breath I was able to stitch back on a few inches of skin, and the world stopped hurting quite so much.
I’d like to enjoy the world again. . . but in the mean time, there is a pint of gelato, a bowl of pasta, a bag of pretzels, and a bottle of wine with my name on them. I joke! I joke!
If you have been through any of this and can resonate at all with me, please leave a few words in the comments. . . and if you have any tips, feel free to leave them too! xoxo, Momaste!