Blame it on my vagina.
If you want to, you can pretend that the past few months have been extraordinarily busy for me. If you're more comfortable with it, we can pretend that I've been hard at work on a novel, or that I spent the summer in an ashram developing my spiritual side.
But the truth is, I've spent my time playing Candy Crush and drawing on canvas with Sharpies and planning tables manners class and pressure washing the patio over and over again; pretty much anything I could do to not write. Because writing would mean writing about the fact that I was completely losing my mind.
(This is the part where my vagina comes in.)
My body has decided, at the ripe old age of forty-one, that it is time to shut this shit down. My ovaries are spitting out eggs at an alarming pace, my periods are now affectionately known as CSI: My Panties, and I sweat every time I eat.
Actually, I sweat all the time.
But I knew all that. You probably know all that. We laugh about hot flashes and bloat and vaginal dryness. It's sitcom fodder, with Grandma sticking her head in the freezer and Grandpa winking at the camera, because we all know that Grandma and her crazy men-o-pause are at it again! What I didn't know, what you might not know, what your husbands and partners almost certainly don't know (and God love the man who kept reading past the word 'vagina'), is that there is a decent chance that perimenopause will make you completely fucking insane.
I have anxiety and OCD. I have been through multiple miscarriages and the death of a parent, as well as your run of the mill life crises. I have never, until now, experienced depression in such a profoundly painful way. In a lock myself in the bathroom so my children won't see me crying way. In a looking for a rock to crawl under because I am just so damned sad, and I don't know why way.
"I know! I seriously feel like driving off a cliff one day, and then the next day I'm totally fine." My friend has just finished telling me she's become a bathroom cryer, too. "I guess it's just normal."
That can't be normal. Common, maybe - but it can't be normal.
"My doctor suggested exercise, and frozen peas."
That remains the best advice I've gotten. I'm simultaneously dealing with my own insanity, and that of a hormonal near-teen daughter. There are days when I'm afraid we're going to engage in hand to hand combat in the front yard, followed by hugging and sobbing and professions of undying love. My husband is working a lot.
I am trying to exercise more, and read more, and write more. Like a Phoenix rising from the flames (totally a hot flash metaphor), I am making my way back. You can read a little something of mine over at Triad Moms on Main on October 1 - something not about vaginas or depression! And more here, soon.
And if I disappear again, check the bathroom.