Tag Archives: menopause

Shattered Glass

InstagramCapture  snowy sky

Its Monday, and I would usually write a blog post today about Inspiration.

I would like to write you something sparkling.  Something that will give your creative wings a thermal on which to soar.  Something that is glitter and unicorns and rainbows.  Something to make your heart sing and your pen skitter across the page, leaving a trail of light.

But I have nothing to give you.

I have no light to offer you.  No light in my heart.  My soul is drained, empty and echoing.  I am in the middle of a sandstorm of hormones the like of which I have never experienced in my life before.  I now understand why women in the 19th century were incarcerated in insane asylums for the symptoms of severe Premenstrual Syndrome, Perimenopause and Menopause.  I am blind and deaf, walking in the dark, knowing only this:

THIS ISN’T ME.

THIS ISN’T WHO I AM.

THIS ISN’T WHAT I AM FEELING.

I feel like a marionette, a puppet whose strings are being pulled by someone else, a someone who has not told me the rules of the game they are playing with my heart and soul.  Pieces of me are shattering off.  I am a cracked mirror.

People are telling me that I have to let go, that I must allow myself to feel, so that this rage, this hate, this pain, this self-destruction, will pass.

I can’t.

Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?  Just allow yourself to be angry.  Just punch a few pillows and it will all be better.

It won’t.

There will never be enough pillows to punch. The only way to satisfy this rage would be to rip the head off the world.

(And I am too exhausted to do that.  Night after night of racing thoughts, heart palpitations and hot flushes have seen to that.  I can barely lift my hand up to hold a toothbrush, never mind thump a pillow.)

There will never be enough tears, so I cannot cry even one.

And I must go on like this, day after day, night after night, until my hormones reach their pinnacle and my body collapses into blood.  Only then (I hope), will I become myself again.

I hope.  Most vociferously.

The line between who I am, and who my hormones make me, is frightening me very deeply.  I understand how easy it would be for a woman with postpartum depression to kill the baby she loves most in all the world.  For a girl with premenstrual psychosis to knife a beloved parent. I am not a person who would hurt others, but I can see how easy it would be, because I can see how my hormones are making me into someone I am not, right now.  It begs the question:

Who am I, really?

Our hormones make us who we are, but what if they are out of balance?  I don’t know.  When I bleed, I will remember who I am. Until then, I am the human equivalent of a honey badger.

Thats not a nice thing to be.

But let me tell you this.

This distance between sanity and insanity is the width of a pen nib.

When I write, the pain is eased.  Writing heals.  So while I rage, I will write.  While my hormones slice my heart into slinnocks, I will write.  While I writhe with the stampede of fear and despair, I will write.  When I have nothing else to give, I will still write.  It may not be unicorns and rainbows, but it is Truth.

So for today, if I had to offer you a piece of inspiration, it would be this:

WRITE YOUR TRUTH

(Even if it isn’t very pretty.)

Thank you for listening,

EF

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Word of the Year 2015

sussex churchI am quietly resting tonight in the post New Year’s Eve Exhaustion space. You know the one. Everything hurts, you’ve had very little sleep, you’ve eaten far too much rich food, your jeans are cutting you in half (didn’t they fit just right this time last week?), and tomorrow you will fall into that Chasm of the Unknown which is 2nd January when there are no more excuses, the holidays are over, and you have to get back on the bike of normality.

Yeah, you know what I’m saying.

(I wouldn’t mind so much, either, but I don’t even drink! Husband did all the booze last night, and I woke up with his hangover. It’s just unfair, especially when he is all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and bouncing around the house with our god daughter, teaching her how to be Gandalf stopping the balrog in the mines of Moria – at 10am? I mean, puh-leeeeeze!)

This is that annoying time of year when all the bloggers on the interweb seem to trot out their reviews of 2014, with accompanying pictures of their glamorous lives, glamorous friends, glamorous spouses, glamorous homes etc etc.

I can’t remember much about what happened in 2014 because I am still recovering from it.

It was a tough one. Christmas especially. It has been dominated by the stress of caring for two very elderly, very frail parents-in-law, one of whom has stage two dementia, and at a distance. There have been the falls, the hospital visits, the fights over carers, the distressed phone calls. We’ve been learning new nursing skills, dealing with social workers, pharmacists, medical practitioners, and a national health service that seems weirdly incapable of taking account of the needs of those with dementia, even though the elderly are their primary client group. All this, trying to keep our own lives running, expanding the Husband’s business, and managing my own ill health.

The last two years have been periods of extreme growth. My word for 2013 was REVOLUTIONARY. My word for 2014 was DARE. Both pretty heavy-duty action words. I felt like I needed to step up to the plate, to make big changes. But after all those revolutions and fear-facings, I am just utterly exhausted and drained. I need something gentle this year.

So my word for 2015 is EASE.

I want to be at EASE with myself. I want to get to know myself better, to feel authentically me, to feel more settled and confident in myself instead of constantly pushing at the edges, as I have been.

I want to be at EASE in my creativity, not to be forcing it, but rejoicing in the work I make, whether it is a new story or novel, or a piece of needlepoint, or a favourite recipe. I want my work to be rich, jewelled with the unusual, and deeply infused with peace and contentment.

I want to EASE into my life more, to spend more time nurturing myself, working out what I need to get through what will undoubtedly be another tough year. I need to be gentle and compassionate with myself.

I want to have more EASE in my life – less pain, more comfort, and a more comfortable environment. There will be nesting, creating, new healthy eating recipes, yoga and pilates (gently) and lots of mindfulness. And, hopefully, a holiday.

Most of all, I want to be at EASE with and in the present. I want to accept where I am right now, at this turning-point.

This year, Husband will turn 50, I will continue my journey towards menopause, and we will likely be saying goodbye to those we care for in some form, whether it is completely through death, or mentally, as a beloved parent passes into the mist where she will no longer recognise us in any meaningful way. I want to be able to support Husband as he midwifes his mother through this endtime. I want to help us move into this second half of our lives with optimism, health and peace of mind. I want us to EASE into this new phase with hope and positivity. I want us to have something beautiful and vibrant left after this time of caring is over, not simply wreckage and exhaustion.

I can’t say I relish the prospect of 2015, as elder care eats more and more into our lives. But I intend to do what I can to see that it is as much an enriching process as it can be in the circumstances. I look forward to exploring myself, my spirituality and my creativity in the face of these ongoing demands. I don’t know what will come out of it, but I know that it will be something deep and wise.

I wish you a happy, creative and fulfilling 2015,

EF