Archives for category: Hormone Hell

How am I still so fragile? After all this time? Tears come and go. At this point, after days of it, I’m not even sure why. Post-menopause, it “shouldn’t be” hormones… but… I keep fucking about trying to “fix shit” with my body as I age, so… I don’t know. Anything I take to remedy some ailment or condition has potential to fuck with my body’s systems and my emotional balance, so… yeah. I just know the world is too much for me. Just… all of it.

…I keep finding myself weeping and in real emotional pain… but why, for fucks’ sake, why??

…I mean… I guess it’s enough that the world is this messy strange violent circus of nightmares, with an ever-increasing body count. That, by itself, is worth weeping over. I just can’t sustain doing all the fucking crying, by myself. It would make more sense to stop the killing, wouldn’t it? I drink more of this bottle of water sitting next to me. Tears = drink more water. A lot more.

…I have the strange slightly hilarious thought that maybe the water drinking itself is causing the tears somehow. That’s ridiculous, it’s just a passing notion.

My sleep is chronically disturbed and restless, this isn’t new, it’s just… yeah… chronic.

Ping…ping…ping…ping… work pings on my consciousness. My Traveling Partner pings me eager to iron out details for this or that, or share something cool. Ping. Scam calls. Ping. Another email. Ping. An announcement in a Slack thread at work. Ping. A walk-up co-work colleague with a question. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Everyone, everything, seems to want a piece of my attention, or a moment of my time. I feel overwhelmed, but it’s all quite ordinary. There’s nothing to see here.

A long time ago, in another life, a 14 year old me, feeling something similar, packed a small bag, and lacking any notable experience of the world, just sort of … walked away from her home, her family, and her life, headed… nowhere. Away. I didn’t have a plan exactly… I was “going to Florida”. Why? A rock star I was crushing on lived there, and… I don’t know. I thought I needed a destination? I was fortunate; I survived the adventure to return home to commonplace misery. I survived to see adulthood, to go on to survive domestic violence, military service, warfare, trauma… you know, life. I’m almost 60 now. Still holding on.

…Shit… is this about that? I don’t feel any obvious angst over turning 60, specifically, it’s more… the issues hang on right along with me. How much further does this journey go? How many more verbs are there? G’damn it – when can I relax and just fucking be?? I’m so tired…

Why do I feel so trapped?… Why does this all feel so fucking pointless??

…I’ve got tools. I’ve got verbs. Choices. This isn’t “hopeless”… just hard.

…I’ve just got to begin again. Again.

Last night was rough. Bad dreams. The kind of shit that, over time, makes my “sleep aversion” flare up.

…Last night the whole world was burning…

Something woke me – my Traveling Partner? I think so; checking on me – I’d been having a difficult day (although nothing much seemed “wrong”, really). I remember telling him to “stay close to the dogs, they’ll guide you away from the firestorms”. We don’t own a dog. It was weird and terrifying. I remember trying to drag myself from sleep to make sure my partner was safe, and waking more fully in the dark, alone.

“The Nightmare City” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas w/glow

Eventually I made my way out of the Nightmare City and slept more deeply. Fewer dreams. Woke in the morning, feeling unsettled, uneasy, with tears dried on my cheeks. I have a vague recollection that my Traveling Partner may have said something about being awake all night – watching over me, or? But that may have been part of my dreams.

Be kind to people. It costs you nothing to do so. The world has some issues right now, war, femicide, exploitation, earthquakes – and soon enough, somewhere, the forests or savannahs will be on fire. Again. Damn, we could do so much better. Could have done better, beginning so much longer ago. It’s only necessary to listen to some of the lies businesses have told about products they sell that they knew were dangerous to human (or other) life, or spend some time looking over the many ways various governments have abused or exploited their citizens, to know we could have been doing better. A lot better. We’re not individually exempt; human beings are less civilized that we like to make ourselves out to be.

I guess it’s all just sort of “working on my mind” lately. I sip my water and think about that. Where is the balance point between “letting it go” and “changing it”? How do I make doing my own best count the most for … everything and everyone else, too?

I rub my eyes. Tears begin to well up, and I grit my teeth and force my emotions down. I have shit to do today.

I sigh and begin again.

I was once a compulsive diarist. I wrote page after page of prose, poetry, commentary, peculiar emotional screeds, and quite a bit of inappropriate this-n-that. I began writing sometime in the 4th grade.

My first journal was in a blank book like this, that I nicked from my Dad’s workbench in the basement.

I wrote compulsively. I wrote most days – for years. When I left for the Army, I left my journals (those that I had, which were of my high school years) in a box, hoping they would be held for me, or sent along once I was at my duty station. Those are now lost volumes. The handful of volumes I wrote during the years between 4th grade (I’d have been… 9) and the start of high school (when I was 14) are also “lost volumes”. I’d dearly like to have those once again; they would span the “before and after” period of significant head trauma. (Who was I before that injury??)

My violent first marriage doesn’t have much writing in it, and what writing I did do, lived in volumes “safely” stored in safety deposit boxes I didn’t keep (in some cases forgot about, in others did not or could not maintain) – or hidden (and subsequently lost somewhere in my shitty memory). Those are also lost. (Well, except for one very peculiar volume that I’ve strangely held onto – that’s a story for another time.)

What remains are the volumes I wrote from the very afternoon I left my violent first marriage (finally), in 1995, until I realized my writing was undermining my emotional wellness (years later, after I returned to therapy to save my life), in 2013 (ish?). There are 916 weeks in the timeframe I know I was writing (and I have these volumes). 75 volumes, I counted. More than 15,000 pages of intimate uncensored (sometimes deceitful, sometimes incoherent) personal writing detailing my subjective experience of the events of my life in those years (and what I observed of the lives of many close to me, too). My 30s. My 40s. A lifetime spanning 3 very different career fields , many different jobs, 5 different addresses, 8 cats, 3 significant relationships, quite a few lovers, and numerous tales told – and I’m no longer at all certain this clutter of words needs to live on in durable media. I’m fairly certain it does not. I’m attached to the idea of the volumes, the legacy of so many words, but… I don’t read them. I don’t want to. I don’t hold on to them with purpose. They just sit in a bin, gathering dust and being “clutter”. I have occasionally used them to look up some specific event to clarify a recollection. That’s been a rare thing.

I had an idea about how best to deal with all these journals, that doesn’t amount to “put them in a bin in the attic crawlspace”, because honestly, why am I storing their physical forms now? SO. I’ve decided to sort them out, photograph the assorted volumes, and maybe take some shots of especially good or interesting writing, or the details of some important moment that lingers in my memory (or doesn’t). I’d like to preserve the poetry that may have been written somewhere in these volumes. I’d like to save original sketches that may be lurking there. There’s no reason to keep the totality of this body of work though, and there are quite a few reasons to let it go. Once I’ve gotten a few pictures – so that I have the lasting memory that these did exist, and what they looked like, and their very vastness of thought – I’ll destroy them. Shred the pages. Dispose of the covers (or give them away to be repurposed, perhaps).

Today, on this last day of 2022, I’m getting started on it…

Something like 20 years of living… in so many words.

It’s been a peculiar day, flipping through these volumes, year by year. Spotting some… moment… and reflecting on it, briefly, then moving on in time. Strange patterns emerge. Details that did not seem significant in my lived recollection become oddly prominent from this new perspective. A lot of it – most of it – is ferociously hormone and lust fueled reverie (and recollected misadventure)(or wishful thinking) that is neither especially novel (human primates being what we are), neither is it good writing (I’m no Anaïs Nin or Henry Miller). I found that most of that simply amused me ever-so-slightly. It has been easy to let that go. Harder were the forgotten traumas, the despair, the hedonism… and the friendships that have been lost to time, geography, and poor memory. Embarrassingly, some of those friends were lovers. “Ghosts” now, I guess – memories, half-recalled for an instant before being lost again. Those poignant “oh, remember… I wonder how they’re doing these days…” moments. I cried kind of a lot in the morning, before it sort of sunk in; this is all 100% in the past. Part of how I got where I am, and little more.

…It’s been nice to find so many “lost” sketches and beautiful poetry…

Anyway. It’s the last day of 2022. New Year’s Eve. It’s a good time to put down baggage. A good mark on the calendar for letting things go. It’s so choice for making changes that we have a funny culture that embraces “new year’s resolutions”, then also the inevitable self-mockery because it’s equally commonplace to fail to follow through. That doesn’t have to be your way, though. What is your way? My way, as I sit here thinking of the woman I most want to be, the woman I want to see looking back at me in the mirror each morning, is to embrace change, practice the practices that will get me where I want to be, understanding that we become what we practice. My way? My way is to cultivate calm and contentment, to develop wise perspective (and humility), to be kind, and to follow my path without aggression. My way is to assume positive intent, and let small shit stay small. I mean… my results vary. This is the path I seek to follow. Doing my best. Still quite human.

…I mean… there’s no plan in mind to be anything but human, I’d just like to get quite good at doing that well. lol My idea of “living my best life” isn’t about vast wealth or accolades or fancy titles. I would like to be a good person. Kind. Not a raging bitch. Wise (if I can get there), and humble (because I won’t have gotten very far alone). Chill. Merry. Fun to be around. I won’t say I want to “be happy” – it’s a trap. I’d like, instead, to feel joy more often than sorrow, and a genial contentment just generally. I’d like to live a strong sense of sufficiency. I think all of this is within reach… I think I can practice a lot of it.

So here it is the eve of a new year. Time to turn the page and begin again.

Damn. Still struggling with my bullshit today. There’s no obvious driver. For some folks, the weather would be enough; it is gray and chilly and the rain falls pretty steadily. A wet autumn day, with a twilight quality in early afternoon. I’m fortunate that I’m generally not affected by S.A.D. Doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally feel blue on a gray day, but it’s usually not the season… it’s something else. Right now? It’s a lot of small things piling up and becoming “a thing” – my anxiety, my struggle with it, and my stress about the state of the world. It looms large in my awareness, and lurks in my very dreams, most of which, right now, are nightmares.

I’m just feeling a bit low is all. It happens. It’ll pass. Feels even a bit “hormonal”, although I cling to the thinking that menopause should have put an end to that mess. Maybe it doesn’t entirely? Considering the state of medical science regarding women’s bodies and health, I can’t be surprised that we don’t know more even in 2022.

…So, this is where I am today. I feel bleak, a bit blue, not quite overcome by anhedonia. I feel beat down. Silenced. I’m not actually any of those things in any practical or real way. These are just feelings. Perceptions. They have only whatever life I give them, myself. So I keep fighting it. Self-care steps of various sorts – you’re looking at one of those right now. 🙂

I get an irritating email from the VA just as the sun breaks through the clouds for a minute. My aggravation brushes aside the blues and the stabbing pain of a flash of sunshine through an uncovered window straight into my eye are at least enough to distract me from my shitty mood momentarily. So. Here I am. Beginning again. Again.

Oh my god this day. It’s hard to bitch… good job. I’m enjoying it. Great partnership. I’m super in love with that guy. Lovely little house just outside a small town. I love it here. All the practical details of an amazing and comfortable life are in place. In spite of that, this morning, I absolutely melted down over the dumbest shit, and wrecked my day in a stew of tears and drama. My mental health wellness is at risk because it is not as well-managed and supported as it could be. Part of that is in my hands; I needed to return to therapy, but I delayed that because I figured I was “honestly fine”. Compounding that, I moved to a new community (what, two years ago now? ffs) and haven’t yet found new healthcare providers. So… yeah. My therapist impressed upon me that he’d like me to consider giving medication another try for my anxiety. (I see his point, and my Traveling Partner’s as well.) So… sure, but… he’s a PhD and can’t prescribe, so I need a clinician who does to partner with him. Someone more local, perhaps? Fuck-fuck-fuck…

…Today I may have finally found someone…

My whole day today has been a weird series of otherwise-welcome interruptions of various sorts from various people for various purposes. None of them especially urgent. All of them important enough to want to support or respond to immediately… which starts setting up cascading conflicts in my priorities, and quickly destroyed my bandwidth with the buckshot of “pings”. Email. Slack. Calls. Text messages. Errands. My to-do list. “Quick questions.” It was peculiar that it was so quickly “too much for me”… I think I slept well..? My self-care hasn’t been horrible… but I also don’t feel like I’ve truly been caring for myself, so… yeah. I finally disintegrated into tears and just let that be what it was for awhile. I know it passes… eventually.

My headache is… a headache. Worse from crying. I feel “low” – the chemical aftermath of that emotional storm may last a bit longer. My back aches. I got enough done to feel productive. Even took time to get my nails done. I feel drained, though, and tired. Disengaged. Moody. I’d call it “hormones” – but theoretically I’m well passed all that!

I “don’t know” what to do now… a shower? A nap? More coffee? Do a thing? I feel distracted and pulled into separate pieces of consciousness and getting my shit together right now is like herding kittens (only less cute). Fuck.

…I’m okay, though. Truly. For most values of “okay” I’m not only okay, I’m living a good life in a good place surrounded by love and all is well. The only messy bit is this fucking emotional construction zone in my head and I’m getting fed up with the constant fucking remodeling (to stretch the analogy way too far). I know I need to begin again, I’m just too annoyed to do that – at least for the moment.

I’ll get there soon enough, I just need to practice some practices and stay on the path. Sometimes there are stairs to climb. Sometimes it rains.

It’s a journey with a lot of stairs to climb…