Well, here I am in year, uhm three? Of perimenopause. I think, hope, whatever, that the end is in sight.
These symptoms have come and gone:
Formication (that sounds pleasantly like a leisure activity but is actually the annoying sensation of bugs crawling under one’s skin)
Hot flashes (ok, not a lot of them)
Eyebrows falling out
I am still between 25 and thirty pounds over what used to be my freak out weight, the highest I had ever been in my life apart from where I was about to give birth.
Here’s my little lesson in compassion. I could never figure out why people would wear clothes that were too tight. But my weight gain was so rapid, and so unbelievable after over two decades of weighing the same, I couldn’t believe I wouldn’t be down to my “normal” weight next week—so why buy clothing I wouldn’t use?
Even if I had believed in it, I could not have afforded to replace everything so quickly.
The disbelief extends so many places. I am used to being the size of a large child, and smaller than most High School students. I can play on the playground. I was somewhere with my daughter and the attendant gave me a dirty look, saying, “There’s a 150 pound weight limit.”
And I thought, “What a JERK! I don’t weigh that much.” Except I do. I weigh more than that. But I spent from High School graduation to late 40s many pounds below that, and being over for proportionately a short time is simply not something I can remember easily.
I did go to my doctor for help with my unexplained and rapid weight gain, and went home with a piece of paper telling me I needed to eat more fruits and vegetables and exercise more. Just assuming–even though the point was that my weight gain was RAPID and UNEXPLAINED– I suddenly embraced a lifestyle of carbs and lethargy, I suppose, and that at age 50 I needed to be told about the benefits of greens.
But whatever. I found the two most agonizing things about menopause apart from weight have been the insomnia and the eyebrow loss.
I look at myself with delight in the mirror now. At least at my face, which HAS EYEBROWS.
And I no longer wake up at 2, 3, and 4 after having been up until midnight.
I KNOW I don’t have a choice. Menopause gives me what it gives me.
But if I did have a choice, I’d take the weight gain over insomnia any day.
If life hands me extra pounds but I can sleep again, I’ll take it.
Another lesson in compassion, this one in how people who have undergone tragedy are more cheerful than YOU.
We are so glad that situation is over. We are so glad that disaster X is at an end, we’ll tolerate inconvenience Y. I am so glad to sleep again, that fine, FINE, I’ll have a new, heftier identity and be forced to clothes shop, which I hated even when I was small. Fine, FINE, just let me sleep. And wake up with eyebrows.
So that old saying, “If even one person reads this and benefits from it . . .” If even one person reads about my perimenopause and feels less alone or less crazy, or is able to give more support to a partner or friend, it will be worth the misery of putting my heart on my sleeve.