50 Thoughts: Perimenopause in the Age of Trump

Originally published August 21, 2018

If I could lobby the Nobel Peace Prize committee, I’d nominate myself and all my sisters currently in the throes of perimenopause.


It’s hard enough – between hot flashes that feel like you’ve swaddled yourself in a thermal electric blanket, the inability to sleep for more than 90 minutes at a stretch, weight you can’t lose and focus you can’t attain, the emotional rollercoaster and MY GOD, THE ITCHY SPOT ON MY BACK THAT WON’T STOP, any woman who manages to hold down a full-time job, feed her kids and walk the dog without committing a serious felony deserves a gold medal.

I tried reading “The Silent Passage.” And I’ve scoured the internet looking for advice and support, of which in the blogosphere there’s plenty of sympathetic ears. This isn’t the first post about how much perimenopause blows, and it won’t be the last. I’m sure I’m not the only woman who’d like to track down and choke one of the “experts” that recommend avoiding alcohol, caffeine, stress and spicy foods if you want to lessen symptoms. Please. Red wine is the only thing that is getting me through this.

Perimenopause is the worst for so many reasons, not the least of which is the fact the timing is such that it’s impossible to really determine what is causing you to want to eat ice cream and cry all day. Is it stress? Because any woman in their 40s likely has a thousand reasons to be stressed. After all, we’re the sandwich generation. We’re starting to juggle care for our parents while we are still caring for our own kids. A lot of us are working full time, trying to impress the boss while keeping the household running. Then there’s anxiety. Raising kids is an exercise in maintaining composure in the face of countless nervous breakdown-inducing moments. And what’s that skin tag on my arm? Was that there yesterday? And good lord, the dog has the runs again. What did he eat?

Or is it something different all together, like a bonafide fear for the future?

Because in this day and age, honest to goodness, how we haven’t marched on the White House and dragged that Cheetohead out by his hair is beyond me. Thanks to that bloviating dunderhead, I am ragey almost every damn day.

So I am making perimenopause my scapegoat. If only that would fly in court. We’d beat Mueller to the punch and have Henry Cavill or Kyle Chandler or Michelle Obama installed in the Oval Office post haste.

I don’t like the emotional space I seem to occupy 24/7. Mostly, because I pride myself on being smarter than that. I know how to separate the emotional from the intellectual. But these last 18 – 20 months have been the most trying of my life. Watching my oldest struggle with his social emotional development, my middle try to find his path into adulthood and my baby prepare to leave the nest is stressful enough. But watching my president systematically dismantle the country I love is a bridge too far. And perimenopause — the hormones, the bloat, the tears, the rage, the weight, the cravings, the acne, the sleepless nights, the wondering when and if my period is going to return for one last encore — seems to be a cruel joke on top of everything else.

So if my 50s is a decade that I can embrace because it’s a promise all of this will come to its natural end, then please, by all means, make me 50 tomorrow. I’m writing this tonight with my first glimmer of hope that the rule of law and common sense decency has a chance. That we really will survive the Age of Trump. But I have a feeling I’ll still be eating a lot of ice cream.

Hang in there, sisters. We’ve got this.

Today’s recommendation: Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Because we all would like to escape from time to time.

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