The ‘M’ Words: Agony & Ecstasy – Part II: The Other ‘M’

I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster this past year, more on some days than others! With all the stuff that’s been happening in and around me, the hormones have just served to make ‘normal’ chaos, (if there is such a thing) more chaotic!! That’s what they love – these omnipresent, seemingly innocuous yet exceedingly powerful chemical molecules with the funny names – drama, flamboyance, excess, so that a simple disagreement sets off a crying jag, tiny obstacles seem like Mt. Everest and a bowl of ice-cream has become the entire tub before you know what hit you! Every woman who’s gone through puberty, will know what I’m talking about…and most men too of course coz you’ve loved, lived and suffered with us 😉

The last few days are an excellent example…I went around the house, moody, morose, glum, angry, irritated and edgy. Fought with every adult unfortunate enough to cross my path (Hubby bore the worst of it, of course! Who else?!), burst into tears at the slightest provocation or none at all (most uncharacteristic!) and yelled at my poor boy until both of us were a tangle of limbs and sobbing. Oh come now! Like I had ANY control! [Also, I do think the earlier they start training for what lies ahead, the better! You know you agree! I’m sure all future girlfriends would agree, except they’re too young to read this post or perhaps not born yet :P]. Think, a guy who knows what to do on those days when you’re re-incarnated as ‘the screaming banshee’, by which of course I mean nothing more than that he should be skilled in the art of disappearing, ‘coz really, what is there that he can do except get out of your way? 😉

The rollercoaster is getting deadlier with time methinks, maybe it’s a combination of the state my life is in at the moment and an increased awareness of the fact that I am now most definitely labeled ‘peri-menopausal’ not only by doctors, but almost everywhere I turn. There’s no escaping the inevitable, is there? In literature, in quizzes, in movies, at parties, in society (where the fondness for labels makes me sick to my toes)…I am now neatly slotted into the ‘40-plus’ or ‘peri-menopausal’ category (the two go hand in hand), defined by typical behaviors and expected to fit into some universal ‘Menopausal’ mould. You know what I mean right? You lose your cool over something and suddenly everyone around you is nodding their heads knowingly; the understanding, clucking sympathetically as if privy to your deepest secret; the polite, looking away sheepishly and the bold, sniggering and raising judgmental eyebrows! And all of them whisper, but not so softly that you can’t hear, “Poor thing, she’s just not herself these days. The ‘big change’ you know! Poor thing!” Shamefully, I must admit, I’ve done my share of whispering too before I knew better. But not anymore. No indeed, ‘coz ‘peri-menopause’ comes with its own particular brand of wisdom and a healthy dose of a ‘devil may care’ attitude, if you let it! So now, I do pretty much as I please and blame it on the hormones baby! A silver lining, if ever there was one! 🙂

That is where the ecstasy comes in for me really! From the freedom that comes when you surrender, let go, release inhibitions and embrace the change J. I’ve never been the ‘maternal’ type (another label I don’t get), so that part of ‘M’ (am going to refer to it as ‘M’ coz am too lazy to type the full word every time :P) that means ‘no more kids’, doesn’t bother me in the least. There are easier ways to have kids if one still wants to J. So although, I’ve heard and seen and met women with horror stories about ‘flashes’, ‘sweats’, fatigue, depression, hormone replacement and all the rest (I am a doctor), I’m still looking forward to having a ‘whole uninterrupted month’ in which to do as I please! The last time that happened is too long ago to remember 😉 So, as said rollercoaster ride gets scarier with every passing month, I look forward to getting off this one, if only to get on to another! Variety is the spice of life and all that 😛

Oh I know, I’m being simplistic, maybe frivolous even, but this is just my particular brand of humorous armor and it has stood me in good stead through a whole lot of upheavals and crises. I don’t see any reason to abandon it now, at a time in my life when I need it most. Do you? I’ve watched the women in my life go through the ‘Change’ (sounds alien that :P), unaided and confused, dealing with it as best as one can, in a time when speaking about ‘M’ or any other ‘female problems’ was just not the done thing. Open discussions were especially taboo and so I watched my Mom and my aunt struggle stoically, with depression, with unpredictable moods, with physical discomfort, while never once thinking to confide in each other or a doctor. My aunt was on antidepressants for a long time, without knowing she was even on them or why! She thought it was all a part of her BP medication! I am sure she wasn’t unique in her generation. Of course, all of the understanding I now have, is in retrospect (like most wisdom is). Back then I just thought my Mom had lost her head and was a pain! I am so glad that I live in somewhat progressive times, when ‘M’ is no longer the mysterious entity it used to be (indeed the research out there seems monumental and infinite!) and where knowledge, information, treatment and support are available freely, if not in our own homes, then in the form of friends, doctors and the Internet :). I am thankful for the fact that I don’t have to go through it alone, unless I choose to.

Until then it’s back to unpredictable moods, unexplained tears, unexpected rage and untold misery for a few days every month! As the rollercoaster careens wildly and I’m holding on tight, hanging on for dear life!! Let me leave all my women friends with this wonderfully uplifting thought (well uplifting for me ;-)) – This will happen to you too! When it does just remember this “Real women don’t have hot flashes, they have Power Surges!”

Meanwhile, enjoy the ride, people 🙂

P.S. I’m sorry my titles seem to be getting longer and more thesis like! I promise, short and sweet from here on 😛

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